A few years ago, I was sent this book to review for the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics journal, Teaching Mathematics in the Middle School. After reading and reviewing the book, I decided to try it as a read aloud to my advanced 6th grade math class. I made math activities to go along with each chapter. After rediscovering the book on Pinterest, I visited the author's website. There is an implementation guide that you can download! There is even one for math teachers and one for Language Arts teachers. Cross-curricular unit for math and language arts?! Exciting!
If you are an elementary teacher, the tool Desmos Activity Builder might be new to you. While I see most current activities for middle and high school, don't let this deter you from giving it a try! There are some interesting and powerful ways to leverage this digital activity builder for you classroom. I've started making a few activities myself!
I had an opportunity to teach on a 45-minute traditional class period schedule and a 90-minute block. Both models have their pros and cons. I think my own preference is block schedules because you have so much more time to dive into content. There are fewer transitions and it just seems calmer and more conducive to learning.
However, one major challenge is finding purposeful ways to fill that block. If you notice that you are doing one activity for a long period of time, it might be important to think about chunking. What I mean by chunking is thinking of you period in 15-20 minute chunks of time and planning activities within those chunks. I find it's difficult to keep students attention if something lasts longer than 20 minutes, so that was my maximum for any activity (except an assessment).
I developed the following sample block plans based on 85 minutes. So, if you have 60 minutes you can think about cutting out one of these pieces. If you teach 90 minutes, add 5 minutes to o…
I came up with 5 ideas for ways to structure 60-minutes of time with 1st-5th grade students. Think of these as recipes. A starting point. Something you can try as is, and then, as you get more comfortable, move around and adapt to your needs and the needs of your students. I don't know if you like to cook, but it is one of my favorite hobbies.
I love trying new recipes. For me, I try the recipe as suggested for the first few times. Once I get comfortable, I might substitute in some herbs. Maybe I change out other ingredients or move things around. It's the same idea for these structures!
Option 1: This first idea is based on the 5 E's model: Engage, Explore, Explain, Elaborate, Evaluate. I love this model for encouraging exploration and being true to the constructivist philosophy that I love.