When I first started teaching, I wish somebody would have laid out how to schedule a daily math block for me. I wasted a lot of time not knowing what I was doing!
Through a lot of trial and error, I increased my class’s test scores by 21 points! I’m happy to show you how I scheduled my math block so that I was able to apply 7 effective strategies in my classroom!
I love reading about math! This is a great way to get students thinking about solving problems and connects them to the real world. I also pre-teach vocabulary. This helps students understand the language of math, so it doesn’t sound like Greek.
After this, practice our math facts for about 6 minutes. While fluency is important, I don’t take up a lot of time with math facts. This is because I want to focus on other methods and practices for my students.
Next, we work on the problem of the day. This is typically a word problem. Students are given manipulatives that they keep near their desks and a whiteboard. We do a think-pair-share.
They have two minutes of think time. Then, they speak with a math partner about how they solved the problem. They also share why they agree or disagree with their partner. Afterward, I have them share how they solved the problem with the class.
After our problem of the day, I teach the lesson. It’s usually one strategy that I show them, but depending on the difficulty and their understanding, I may show them another way. These lessons are typically short and sweet! We use anchor charts like the one pictured below to record our strategies.
After the mini-lesson, I give students a short formative assessment. These typically contain 2 – 3 problems. I walk around the classroom, and I take notes of mastery. This includes: above grade level, on grade level, progressing, and at risk.
Finally, I pull my at-risk students to work with me at my desk. I try to pull these students 2 – 3 times per week. I also try to work with the progressing students 1 – 2 times per week and with the above grade level students once per week.
The rest of the students work in math centers. I’ll have more information about that coming up on how you can schedule that into your daily math block in a new blog post!
Tuesday & Wednesday
These two days are structured the same! We review our morning work, but this is a great time also to review homework if you assign that. Afterward, we write about math. Typically, this writing about math is a reflection piece. We reflect on our homework/morning work, our understanding of a strategy, etc. You can read more about Math Writing in a new blog post I have coming soon!
Much like Monday, we practice our math facts, the problem of the day (think-pair-share), mini-lesson, formative assessment, and again math centers.
Once you get the structure down, students know what to expect and fly through the routine!
Thursday is a little bit different compared to the rest of the week. We begin like we normally do (review, writing, math facts, and the day’s problem), but instead of doing a think-pair-share, we partner reviews.
I got this idea when I was in college. We had to have a lab for math class. I had never heard of it, and up until that point, I considered myself not to have an aptitude for math. Doing a lab with a small group gave me the confidence I needed to succeed! I want to give my students the same opportunities.
They have several problems they must work to solve together. They may need to show it one way or two ways. Each group shares with the class after they have each solved it.
If you don’t have math problems already in place, you can use the game cards I have from my math games. You only need to print the questions on one side (don’t print out the answers on the back).
After we do this, I do one more formative assessment. Then, we go into our math centers. Again, you could use a card as a formative assessment.
Friday varies just a little bit. It starts like Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday, but students complete independent work after completing the day’s problem. It usually has about five problems.
Once they’ve completed this work, I always go over the answers immediately following to help clean up any misconceptions and/or problems. Then, we take our weekly quiz. I also review this with them afterward. I do this because it’s fresh in their minds, and it gives them immediate feedback.
After all of the hard work we accomplished for the week, I like to give them a fun challenge! I try to give my students STEM challenges that match with skill and integrate with a science unit we’re learning about, like the one on the form below.
Please let me know in the comments below if you plan on using this structure or some of it in your classroom! I’d love to know how it has helped!