September was spent getting to know students and help them learn the expectations of the class. We began the year with looking closely at the Habits of Mind and how we can become better problem solvers. Next, we jumped into ratio tables and the distributive property.
October will be devoted to multiplication and division. The goal will be to continue to build an understanding of multiple strategies with the focus of efficiency and accuracy. Students will explore some history of math and geometry along the way.
Throughout the year, we will focus on problem solving. Students will participate in math olympiad, critical thinking puzzles, and logic problems. Not only is this fun, it will help to develop algebraic thinking necessary throughout middle school.
Parent question answered:
Will I give a study guide? A big focus for 5th graders will be developing study skills. Instead of the traditional teacher created study guide and studying at home, students will co-create a study guide with me in class.
For the last test, we followed this schedule in class:
Monday: We co-created a study guide by going through notes and homework to think about what could be on the test. Then I helped them narrow the list based what was discussed in class often. Students went home and created study questions based on the three main topics. Students were told that all week at home they should also be reviewing any notes (paying close attention to the do nows) and any homework from the unit. Then bringing in any questions that they would like reviewed.
Tuesday: I gave a khan academy assignment that directly related to the test (as a review).
Wednesday: Students were given problems to practice that I created based on the test questions.
Thursday: Students worked on practice problems that other students created and we discussed if any questions seemed like they would be hard or too easy for the test.
Friday: They took the test.
What I found was that most mistakes were minor computation errors, transcription errors (when a student writes the wrong number), and not following the directions. Any larger content errors will be addressed in small groups during class.
In the future, this process will not take as long and the goal is that students will not need so much guidance on how to study.