Welcome Back! Here we go – Year Two of our blog. (You can read more about us here.)
We’ve had a great summer, and approach our second year of blogging with the hope that we can improve on what we’re doing. Of course, that’s the thing about teaching — you never feel like you’ve ‘solved the puzzle’, like you get it completely right. There are way too many moving pieces: needs, circumstances, learning styles, personalities. But we all keep trying, improving, tweaking. There is plenty of data documenting the difficulty of our jobs: here, here, and here.
So we’ve promised ourselves that we’d keep teacher morale in mind:
- Math should be fun. If the learning is interesting, it sticks. AND classroom management becomes easier for us teachers if students are engaged and positive. Let us know if our activities help achieve that goal of “flow”.
- Math can be messy. Let’s turn over more of the learning to the students. A few well-chosen problems suffice for one of our 55-minute classes. We pretend we don’t know the answer either, and let the students experience the feelings of struggle – and hopefully of success. Let us know if this approach helps with your lesson planning.
- Let’s aim for depth, not speed. Let’s teach students to think. Not only will test scores improve, but learning will become internalized, meaningful. We’ve slowed our curriculum down to a few units a year (see below) without any loss in test scores. This takes a lot of the stress out of math; both for students and teachers. Let us know how this goes, too!
We plan to start the year with the same lesson plans as last year:
And here are our planned units for the 5th grade year:
- Patterns in Math
- Whole Number Operations (multiplication, division)
- Fraction operations
- Decimal operations
- Angles (types, triangles, pairs)
Of these, the most important is fractions, so we’ll spend a LOT of time there. More about this soon!