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November 22, 2016

Division Bootcamp

WOW! I have been so MIA lately! But I know you understand, grade changes are crazy right! 

Well if you have read my previous posts you know that I love to engage and excite my students. As Hope King calls it, set the stage to engage!

As a part of my teaching philosophy I fully believe that students need to be up and moving and working hands on in the classroom. This year in 5th grade I wanted to find a way to make content heavy activities that excite my students. 

I teach math (and social studies and language) and it can be such had subject for many kids, myself included! I kicked on the school year with Whole Brain Teaching and excitement. Not only did it get my kids to say "I love math!" but it also made me feel more comfortable. Now don't get me wrong, it is easier to sing and dance in front of 5 year olds than it is 5th graders. BUT you have to just let your hair down and let go of your own personal worries.

I HATED math growing up, there were plenty of tears and lots of tutoring in my school years. HA, the irony that I am teaching it now, right?! But I take that "weakness" and turn it into my greatest tool. 

Can I just share with you - my students call me M.O.M. - Master of Math - I could have cried tears of joy!

So fast forward to today. Today we kicked off Division Boot camp. Why? 
1. It's fun. 
2. Why not? 
and 3. They need the review.
(**pictures to come)

What We Are Doing 

I purchased this awesome resource from Amy at That Teaching Spark, and my one regret is that I did not find it sooner!! Next year I will absolutely be using the multiplication part of this resource (I already laminated and cut!)

Multiplication and Division Boot Camp

The Content
So obviously we are working on division. Right before Thanksgiving was the perfect time for this because we are just about to begin our division chapter. And it helped control the craziness excitement. 

We started last week by completing their PT (pretest) on division facts. I purchased these dog tags from Oriental Trading for $3 for a dozen!! I loved Amy's idea of having the students earn beads for each drill they passed. 

So today when my students came in I passed out their PT and recording sheet. I was really surprised and excited to not have any kids upset that they "only had so many beads". I think they were just excited to be doing something different that they did not put themselves down, and now they have a goal to work towards!

What happens if they didn't pass a drill? I am giving them the options of testing on 1 drill a day. If they pass, then they can earn their bead. They already want to retest!
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The Engagement 
So yes, I did it! I dressed up and got into character. No longer their teacher, I am now their Drill Sergeant. Oh yes recruit - drop and give me your math facts! ;)

So I start off each day with getting them up and marching in place and doing a cadence with me. I have to give props to these educators that are spitting out lyrics for content. It's so hard! This is what we will be doing:
I don't know but I've been told!
Math facts are a need to know.
Add, subtract and multiply.
Break apart to divide. 

As we are going through this we are using hand gestures for the different operations. There is so much research for putting movement and song to help with memory. These had gestures are used with WBT to activate all parts of the brain.

The Centers
Since this is boot camp, we are working hard on our facts and fluency. Each day my students are working in groups on a different task. They are all division tasks, simply structured in a different way and on their level. 

This is how I keep my centers organized.

The Homework
All my students have been doing this week for math homework is practicing their drills. If they have already mastered them, then it means they will be done quickly. Once again, no complaints. 

I think it is also important to note that fact fluency is defined as being able to complete a set in 30 seconds. While I believe it is useful to memorize our facts, and that is the way its always been, our students need to have  strong understanding of the concepts. If a student can't spit out their facts in a certain amount of time, does that mean they do not know them? Absolutely not! It is so important to remember that our learners come in a wide variety. 

Do I think math drills have a purpose? Sure. Do I think they cause test anxiety. Heck yes! These are reasons why so many of our students do not have a joy for math. Math gets a bad rap - time to dispute that!

The Feedback

The day began even before math class. One of my students peaked inside a box I had sitting on my desk. Of course she wanted to know what all of it was for. When I replied it was for math, she got this huge smile on her face, "Math just keeps getting better. Who knew it would be my favorite class." BOOYAH! And THAT right there people, is why we do what we do! Never forget that you are impacting some wonderful future minds right now in your classroom. 

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