I have been busy busy busy trying to get my math journals posted to share with you all, and they are finally done and posted in my TpT store!  Here is a little overview of how math instruction looks in my classroom.

1. Everyday we start math with our calendar routine to review basic skills. This takes us about 10-15 minutes a day. I use the fabulous Calendar Books by Growing Kinders, along with several songs from You Tube and CDs to reinforce math concepts. You can find the calendar book here. 

2. Next we take out our math journals and students work independently and sometimes collaboratively to solve open ended problems.  I try to emphasize that there doesnt always have to be one "right" answer.  As long as students are able to explain their thinking there is generally a lot more that one way students can respond.  For example " At Grandma’s house there were 10 legs.  Who might they belong to??" 

 I just posted the journals in my TpT store if you'd like to check them out for yourself.  The preview has 7 FREE journals for you to try before you buy the whole product.  the full product has enough journals for about 6-8 weeks of instruction depending on how many days a week you get to them. (I usually do about 4 days a week.)

3. Last students rotate through math stations or meet with me in a small group.  I usually fit in about 3 - 15 minute rotations a day so students generally choose two math stations and then meet with me once.  Students can also choose computers or iPads as one of their stations.  

All together this makes up about 90 minutes a day of math instruction.  I'd love to hear how you structure your math block and how long you spend on math each day.

Thanks for stopping by, happy Friday!!
I get so many questions about how I set individual goals with 5 year olds (when they are not so independent yet).  So I thought I'd show a quick little tutorial on the process I use that works well for me. I just started goal setting today with some of my writers that need the most support, and here is what it looks like.

1. Assess students' independent writing.
The first and second week of school we took independent writing samples from our kindergartners in each genre (narrative, information, and opinion) based on the common core.  These writing samples were taken with very little direction; simply "write a narrative piece with beginning middle and end." There was absolutely no help from the teacher.

2. Score writing on a rubric with grade level team.
We use the rubrics in Lucy Calkins New Units of Study. I love that these are grade level specific expectations along a continuum so we can really see where kids fall. Also a big reality check for how much most of our students need to learn as a majority were scoring minimal and basic with a small handful scoring close to proficient. I'm not too worried though because we have plenty of time to get there!

3. Look at goals from VOICES menu that may be appropriate for groups of students.
I use the goal cards from the writing menu that I created based on the rubrics to choose the goals that might work for at least a handful of kids based on the assessments/rubrics. You can find it here.

4. Pull students individually to look at writing and choose from 2 or more goals.
I pull out the writing sample I took and read it back to the student then give them a choice of 2 or more goals.  For now I chose 2 that would work for about half of my kids, and 2 that would work for some of my more capable writers. Here is an example of one of my students needing a lot of support.
(sorry its upside down, this is from my view as I show the cards to the student, as you can see both choices would be good goals for this child)

5. Students complete their goal sheet while I pull the next student.
The student selects which one they would like to work on and then writes it on their goal sheet by copying for now.
 I then begin to confer with the next student while they finish writing their goal.

The goal setting sheets that we use in our district also have a spot for the students to add how they will show their evidence of learning and their learning plan.  I will post more about those parts soon.  but this is about all they can handle in their first goal setting conference so we stop here for now.  

After setting goals with all my students I have my writing strategy groups and I know my focus each time I confer with a child.  I am always amazed at how good students are at picking a good goal for themselves.  Of course it is guided so that I don't have 22 different goals at the same time, but still I rarely have to point out why a particular goal might be a better choice for them.  

These personalized goals really make learning more meaningful to students because they feel ownership in what they are working towards and it is specific to their needs.  making even the youngest student a part of goal setting has been a powerful tool in accelerating learning and increasing motivation/engagement in my classroom! I cant wait to post pictures of our first reading and math goal setting conferences soon :)
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