7 Must-Haves in Your Math Block - Tech About Math

7 Must-Haves in Your Math Block

There is no shame in saying this year isn’t what we thought it would be. Between going from hybrid to in-person, to fully virtual and then back again, it’s struggling central. If you’re like me and you teach until June, then you need to update your math block, and here are seven things you should include in it.

Previously, I wrote about my hybrid math block and you can check out that post here. In this post, I share an update to keep up with the ever-changing classroom of 2021. 

I am still teaching with the flipped model. Prior to class, my students see a math story problem that has to do with the topic I am going to teach. The goal is for them to productively struggle with solving it and think of the prior skills that could help them to solve it. 

I am lucky enough where I don’t have to teach both in-person and remotely at the same time. I do, however, teach remote students for half the day and in-person students for the other half of the day. In this post, I will share what I do for each group and how I differentiate for the sake of time. My remote students I have for a 45-minute math block, but my in-person students I see for 90 minutes. 

MATH BLOCK MUST-HAVES

1: Soft-Start Warm-Up

As students are entering the room or joining Google Meet, they know the beginning of the Math routine. If they are in person that day, they are grabbing a computer and heading to IXL or Prodigy. If they are remote, they are logging onto ClassKick and completing the number of the day. 

This gives students who are stragglers coming in late a chance to get settled without wasting the time of the students who are in there and ready to work. After about 15-20 minutes in person or 3-5 minutes remotely, we start with a class discussion review. 

2: Class Discussion

Prior to the lesson, I go through the Nearpod activity I have the students complete the day before. I choose one or two students whose work I want the class to discuss. Usually, I look for the common misconception of the skill I want to address and have students discuss. As long as you have a community with a growth mindset, students will embrace their mistakes and not feel bad when their incorrect work is shared. I also make sure it is anonymous, so students don’t know whose work it is. 

3: Connection & Model

After the Problem of the Day discussion, I make a connection to the skill I am going to model for them. Through the computer, it is a challenge to teach with an inquiry model since they don’t have manipulatives. Sometimes, I’ll model the problem of the day if I notice a big gap in learning, but other times I model a different example and relate it to the problem of the day. This only lasts about 10-12 minutes for my in-person students or 7-10 minutes for my remote students. 

4: Guided Practice

The guided practice is similar to the model, but I solicit answers from the students. I ask guiding questions to bridge the gaps and activate their prior knowledge. As I 

If I can incorporate some inquiry into the lesson, here is where I do that.

5: Spot Check

After I model and we work through a problem together, I give the students a quick problem to answer independently. From here, I can see quickly who needs more support and who is able to continue independently. 

I use the sticker feature on ClasKick to tell students which slide to go to after the quick check. I pre-plan three different slides depending on their level of understanding of the skill. Each slide has the same questions but is scaffolded differently depending on the misconceptions. 

6: Skill Practice & Group Work

As the students finish the spot check, I put them in breakout rooms with students going to the same slide as them. This gives them a chance to ask questions to their group if they have any. I pop in and out of each breakout room answering questions. 

For the in person kids, I give certain scaffolds depending on how they did with the Spot Check. This is also where I pull small groups and address misconceptions.

7: Math Journal

At the end of th math block, I have a thought-provoking math journal for them to write. I try to incorporate writing and reading into math whenever possible. Students in-person are usually able to complete it in class, whereas the students who are remote have to do this after the meet. 

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Basically, if you are teaching in person and remotely, this structure lends itself to saving you time because you won’t have to double plan! What I do is create a slide deck with each of these elements and then download it as a PDF. From there, I upload the PDF to ClassKick and assign it to my remote students. One slide deck – two types of deliveries!

I hope you found this post helpful and I will continue to update it as the school years change! 

Enjoy!

Alexandra

P.S: Have you snagged the CRA freebie? I use this guide to help me plan lessons to make sure that I am teaching conceptually and effectively for all my students! Click here to grab the guide!

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Hi, I'm Alexandra!

I am a fourth-grade math teacher with a love of technology. I help upper elementary math teachers like YOU get organized digitally and engage students with digital tools. When I’m not teaching, you can find me taking long walks with my dog, Frannie!