I feel lucky that all I had to worry about, for the most part, was math. There was some time set aside for extra reading and AR testing with my homeroom class, but math was always my main focus. I still cannot believe that I am a math teacher. If someone had told my school age self that I was going to grow up and become a math teacher, I would have probably laughed in their face and encouraged them to seek psychiatric help. I struggled with math all throughout elementary, middle and high school. It wasn't until I reached college that I lucked out with a professor who was able to teach me the way I needed to be taught and I discovered that I actually liked the logic and absolute that is math.
As a kid who struggled with math I think it helps me understand my students who struggle as well. I had many moments this school year where I tried to find different ways to present a concept to reach a student who was struggling. It was a challenge but one I was excited to take on.
We did near pods and kahoots!, we did hands on activities and pencil and paper assignments. we worked in groups, partners and independently, there were scavenger hunts and musical clocks, we played games, worked in our notebooks and made a few crafts.
The one thing I found myself slowly but surely moving away from was the text book. The series used in my district is, from what I have seen, one of the more popular ones and I really hated using the it. I found a whole year of TEKS specific math units on TeacherPayTeacher that I really loved and I found myself turning to these units and using the different activities that were so much more hands on and kid friendly than the textbook.
As a kid I was a huge fan of the Little Miss and Mr book series. When I was looking for fun anchor charts to use for the geometry unit I stumbled onto these fun posters. I was a true nerd in my excitement. Thankfully, I didn't have to be an expert artist in order to create these freehand. My kids used post-its to draw real world items that had the same shape as each poster character.
I think one of the hardest concepts to teach my kids was coins. We did a bunch of hands on type of activities. They struggled not only with identification of coins, specifically the nickel and dime but also trying to add mixed groups of coins. I ended up spending a little extra time than I originally planned trying to help them. We even worked more on skip counting by 5's and 2's which they were also struggling with. I tried the touch points strategy but my kids never really got the hang of it and it seemed to confuse them more than helped. I am holding onto the strategy to try with other classes later but I think I will concentrate on having them skip count and coin identification.
The other concept my kids struggled with more than any other was time. We started by learning time to the hour which. It went so well I thought wow!!! they have this in the bag. However, when we went on to time to the half hour it threw them all off and it even caused them to get time to the hour confused. One of the activities they seemed to have the most fun with was during this unit. I had 22 clocks in sleeves in a circle around the room, each student had their own dry erase marker. I played music on pandora and the kids calmly walked around until the music stopped and then they had to drop down at the clock their were nearest and write down the time the clock showed.
I walked around the room and checked each clock. If the time was incorrect we had a quick talk about where the hour and minute hands were pointing and what the correct time was. I never removed clocks so there were no eliminations which allowed every student the hands on practice.
I think one of the most fun units of the year was graphing. We talked about every type of graph but we concentrated on bar graphs, pictographs and tally charts. Taking a page out of my mentor teacher Mrs. Benson's play book the kids were split into groups of 4 and given a survey question to ask their classmates. Once they had collected the data they then had to create a bar or pictograph. Then they did the same thing in partner groups and finally each student had to write their own survey question, which I had to approve and I sent them to one of my hub teachers classes to survey that class. I allowed the student to decide whether they wanted to show their data as a bar graph or a pictograph. They obviously had key elements that had to be included on each graph (title, labels, key and data) but they loved being able to choose the type of graph they made and went to town creating some really awesome graphs.
You could clearly see my influence when all 3 of my classes where creating their survey questions. I think about 75% of their questions were Star Wars related. I was so proud of my little firsties. 😄
The other fun graph activity my kids loved was the Lucky Charms graph. This activity was so successful with my student teaching class that I couldn't wait to try it out on my own class. The kids followed all the rules and we all had a lot of fun. Their favorite part was when I gave them the okay to eat the cereal after they had recorded their data. They were all so happy snacking, graphing and answering the questions about their data.
I had one observation this year. The principal was in my room for the most nerve-wracking 45 minutes of my life. We were discussing 3-d shapes while I had the kids working on a nearpod with their iPads. The kids were engaged and really well behaved. I scored very well on my observation thank goodness.
I was asked to come back next year (yay!!!!) and will again be teaching math to first graders. I may be adding in science this year if we actually are able to be split into teacher teams of 2 instead of 3 like this year. (fingers crossed)
Finally, I would like to thank Rosemary😘. She kept me sane, well at least as sane as I can get anyways. Without her I would still be trying to figure out my RTI paperwork. 😂