Friday, June 8, 2012

Calendar Math Madness

   Well, hello there friends! I don't know about you...but it's been a hectic end of the year for me! Between ending the year and packing up, it has been nonstop.  The classroom is packed and the kids are off for summer break. I think I have finally found a moment to breathe!

    Onto some exciting news, well, for me at least! I have finally finished my Math Madness, a Common Core calendar companion unit. I have had many questions over the years as to how I do calendar math. So now I am FINALLY read to share! 
     I used to do the typical program. I quickly realized, this just wasn't enough. While calendar math has some great components, there was just not enough spiraling in it or in the many math programs I have used. End of the year testing comes, and the students no longer remember how to do many skills. 

     I have gradually added skills to the morning math routine. (I used to just quickly draw or type out the new skill. Not cute at all! I would love to show you pictures of what it used to look like, but I have none, and besides it would now be embarrassing!)
 Over the course of this year, I have cute-sified my Math Madness and aligned it to Common Core for first and second grade. (I teach a split class.)
When I began this year, I would introduce and teach the skill, after a few modelings, I would have a student come up and complete each skill every morning.

  But...I believed it could be even better for the students. There was still a component missing. Then one day earlier this year, it hit me. They were not recording or mentally participating in the actions of mathematical thinking. They were just responding to a series of questions and patterns. The entire structure of calendar math was based on patterns. 
 I took it a step further and had the students record with me, and eventually independently. So Math Madness was born and quickly grew. I have seen phenomenal gains in math, and my students are working independently and loving Math Madness. Both my first and second graders showed proficiency in most, if not all the skills.
          Here is my plan for next year, based on how I implemented it this year.
Beginning the first day of school, we begin with calendar math time. On day one, I will model the date, days in school with place value, money, and a pattern on the calendar. After I will model, the students record on their response sheets. By the second week, students usually have a pretty good idea of how this goes, and they begin to work independently on the Math Madness. As they complete it, I then have students present their thinking and answers to the class.
  The third or fourth week, I add a new skill. This can be either a review from the previous grade OR a mini-lesson on a skill coming up.  As a mini-lesson, it gives me a good picture of who already has some foundation for the new skill. It also gives me good insight as to who needs remediation in certain skills.
   In the beginning, the numbers will tie into the days we have been in school. This won’t last more than a few weeks, as the kids begin to figure that out, and then they just go on automatic with the patterns. NOT what I want happening. =) Then I will just start changing up the numbers I use. I try to tie it into what ever math skill I really want to hit that day or week.  For example, when I  taught even/odd; besides just that skill card- I would do a day where ALL the numbers were even on the Math Madness cards.  The next day, I would make all the numbers odd.
  Once I have established a routine the first few weeks of school, I can start adding skills. As the year progresses, I will move from 4 skills to 6 skills and finally 8 skills. By February this year, both my first and second graders were completing the Math Madness as they arrived. I would check their work, and send them back to make corrections. **Corrections are huge for me during Math Madness.  It really gets them to think about and rework the math.** After most are done, we go about the normal calendar math routine and include the Math Madness skills.
I have to say this is by far one of my students favorite times of the day. Please check out my sample and let me know what you think. I love feedback! 

You can find a sample of Math Madness in the preview file at TPT.



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