I first identify what is not working. I find these problems fall into 2 categories - the framework isn't functioning in your room, the students aren't working to their potential. First, I run a couple days of ZONES or ZONES rotations and just observe the students instead of conferencing or pulling small groups. A question I ask as I reflect is does my whole classroom feel chaotic? Are the students confused? Is the majority of student work poor? If yes, then you might have a framework issue. If no, then I move to the second round of questions. Are a few students causing problems/distractions? Are a few students off task? Are a few students not completing work? If yes, then I will focus on a solution for these students.
Keep in mind the reasons WHY you have chosen ZONES and all of the benefits your students receive by implementing this framework. But you should not continue with the fully implemented model if it is not working. Your first priority is to make sure all students are in a successful learning environment. Make the necessary shifts to make the framework successful for your classroom, your teaching style, your curriculum and your students. Also remember that students also LOVE ZONES math. They are excited and engaged with this form of math instruction. Students will want to continue this format and will be cooperative with getting ZONES back up and running again.
If you run into any tough situations with ZONES please reach out to us! We will be happy to brainstorm solutions so you can be successful with this framework!
5th grade - we finally started ZONES rotations today! Hooray! Here is a photo of our *beautiful* choice board. All of the circles start on the space on the right-hand side before math workshop begins. Students move their circle to their choice on the left. We were VERY surprised with how many students chose memoriZe. Of course, no one chose Notebook (we were not surprised by this), but they will have to at some point this week!
Our students did AWESOME working in their very first ZONE choice!
This student checked his multiplication work with a calculator. The calculator showed a different answer than the one he got. He is carefully checking his work again, using resources from his math notebook.
This is a little over 15 minutes after we started. Look! They are all still on task and engaged. Yesssss!
For just a moment, time stood still. We enjoyed the quiet of the classroom, the minds hard at work, and the feeling of peace in the room. Blogger Glennon Melton terms this as a "Kairos moment" - Then there's Kairos time. It's time outside of time. It's metaphysical time. It's those magical moments in which time stands still. I have a few of those moments each day. And I cherish them.
I am so thankful for our ZONES time, and how it has enabled us to have a few Kairos moments each day.
Training days, training days!
In 3rd grade, we started by brainstorming a list of workshop expectations. These are things the students are expected to do in every zone, every time. We review these expectations by echo reading, and then the students vote how they did with each expectation after we practice a zone.
Time to play!
After reviewing the expectations for the Play with Someone zone, students worked on building stamina in that zone. Here, students are playing number war.
Building stamina takes a LOT of work!
The first time we played number war, we only made it to 2 minutes and 35 seconds.
Yesterday, we made it 5 minutes and 15 seconds.
Today we made it 9 minutes and 25 seconds. Yay!
Building stamina is SO critical to the success of the Math ZONES program. It may feel frustrating at times, and it may feel like you are "wasting" your math time. But stick to it! You will reap the benefits of this training all year long.
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