We made it through the school year! I'm pretty sure it was the longest school year ever! We added days to our calendar and lost some precious vacation time. Either way, summer vacation has arrived for us Zones Math ladies and we are truly grateful for it! I don't know about you but I really need these summer weeks to do the 3 R's, relax, revive and refresh! It makes me a better teacher, mother and wife when August hits and it's time to get back to business.
If you are just starting your summer vacation or it is so close you can almost taste it, you might be doing some reflecting on your school year. Did you implement Zones Math? How did it go? I hope you loved it like we do. If you are not in the reflecting state of mind try reading Olivia's blog post that might help you connect with how awesome of a teacher you truly are!
Maybe you thought about doing Zones Math and you just weren't sure if it was for you. Read Meghan's blog post! It will help you make that decision!
Or did you just stumble upon us and now you are wondering what in the world Zones Math even is? Read this for a great explanation!
Whatever state of mind you are in this summer I hope you have time to enjoy the 3 R's (relax, revive, refresh)! Stop back to see us at anytime! We are always here to help you along your math journey!
Until next time,
It's Meghan, back this week with another (hopefully) awesome idea. If you don't remember, or are new to our blog, I teach 1st grade. I love math and technology.
One of the questions we often get is how we create math groups during the guided math portion of ZONES. Math groups for me are fluid, based on the standard we are working on and each student's proficiency. I use technology, specifically Seesaw, to streamline my data collection. This is something you can do with a little or a lot of tech in your classroom. It works on any device or computer.
So today . . . Seesaw and exit tickets! Whatever the exit ticket is that I am using to gauge understanding, I have my students take a picture or screen shot of it and turn it in to our exit ticket folder on Seesaw. I can then see how my students are doing (without sifting through a pile of papers) and easily give feedback that my students can see, and that parents have access to as well.
Here are a couple examples . . .
Exit Ticket in Pieces Basic
Pieces Basic is a free app on our iPads. The students had to build the number 45, screen shot it and turn it in on Seesaw. I saw how each student was doing and gave them immediate feedback, either affirming their work or correcting their mistakes. You can see in the comment below the picture, I told the student what needed to be changed. On the picture, I edited their work using the drawing tool to show the student the correct way to build the number. From this exit ticket, I was able to create a group of students that needed to be pulled for additional instruction.
Paper Exit Ticket
Here is an example of an exit ticket from our math curriculum (Engage NY). The student completed the exit ticket and took a picture in Seesaw. To give feedback on this exit ticket, the draw, label and text features we all used. Again, the student has immediate access to this, as do parents.
In the paid version of Seesaw, you have access to 'skills'. These are areas you are working on that you want to assess the students on. Think standards, but less formal. The goal of this feature is to give you a quick view of how students are doing with a concept. When a student turns an item in, you quickly mark their understanding on a 4 point scale. Then in the 'skills' view, you have a visual of how the students are doing. You can pull a red (does not understand), yellow, light green group, or green group (ready for extensions). So easy! No lists of student, no piling paper together. All of this is hidden from students and parents. It is only for you and your instructional purposes.
While Seesaw Plus/For Schools is paid, it is not that expensive. If it looks interesting to you, you should look into it.
In summation, use exit tickets/quick checks to build small groups. And then, use technology to streamline that process so you have more time to spend with your students during the guided math portion of ZONES.
Today I want to tell you about a web based app that would be great to use during On Your Own or Memorize. It is called Front Row. If you haven't heard of it, it's a (mostly) free app that has a lot of possibility. If you have heard of it, but haven't had a chance to check it out, I'll lay it out for you.
Front Row is a web based app that is easy to use for teachers and is very kid friendly. It actually offers other subjects besides math, but today we will focus on math . . . because you know, math.
What you need to know:
From the Student Perspective
When students login, they see their home screen. For On Your Own, students would choose Math. For Memorize, students would choose Fact Practice.
How cute is that pig??
From there, the students choose the domain they are working in. Each domain has them take a pre-test which decides where they start working in each standard. The questions are kid friendly and have a read aloud option. For ZONES, I would assign the students to the domain we are currently working in. This screen is very cutsey, which is great for early el. Other domains that are more applicable to the higher grades are less cute.
....back to that cute pig. As students work, they earn coins which they use to buy clothes for their piggy. (My pig only has shorts.) They can only enter the store after they have worked for so long and the store is timed - they cannot spend forever dressing their pig!
There is also an easily accessed assignment page where students can go to for any assignments you've given them.
From the Teacher Perspective
In the free version, you can assign one standard at a time. As you teach each standard, you could use Front Row to gauge their understanding. Once that assignment has been completed, you can assign others.
Front Row seems pretty great, right? I definitely encourage you to check it out. It has a lot of potential to make your ZONES time engaging for students and it would allow you to work smarter, not harder.
-Meghan, 1st Grade
Guided Math seems like the one of the largest buzz words in mathematics instruction as of late. Just do a Google Search or a Twitter hashtag search, and you can find numerous resources, examples, and professional conversations regarding the Framework.
We (the creators of ZONES Math) have researched the text Guided Math by Laney Sammons and agree with many of the strategies and structures Ms. Sammons suggests. We also encountered the same struggles in our math instruction as Ms. Sammons. The reflection that our whole group math instruction was not reaching all students was also the reason that we created our Framework. However, ZONES Math does go a few steps further than the typical Guided Math classroom. Here is a chart that compares the components of both ZONES Math Framework and a Guided Math Framework.
ZONES Math includes all of the components of a Guided Math Framework. However, there are several areas where ZONES Math exceeds the basic Guided Math Framework outlined in the book.
We have gotten such positive feedback from all of the teachers who have implemented ZONES Math. Real teachers understand what really works in a classroom. They understand the essential components that are necessary in math instruction and appreciate the detailed instructions ZONES Math includes. We have received such excitement over the ZONES Math Framework and how it includes all of the best practices in a model that is realistic to implement.
Do you need any more reasons to start ZONES Math right now? You should try it, you will love it too!
As you are thinking ahead and planning your ZONES activities, don't get overwhelmed. Depending on the rotational schedule that works for you, many options can stay the same for weeks at a time. In my classroom, the only thing I change weekly is one of the on your Own activities and my two Notebook options. I am planning to have more, and more differentiated, activities this year. To make sure that my students understand exactly what they need to do (and so that they don't need to ask me while I am working with students), I am going to use Seesaw.
Seesaw is an online learning portfolio for students that is capable of so much more. Here is a previous post with a little more about it.
Along with everything that Seesaw allows students to accomplish, it allows you (teacher) to do lots of things. One is to create videos that you can share with your students. These are easily opened and shared in Seesaw. Since Seesaw is web and app based, it works with personal computers and iPads. You could do this with a class set of devices or just a few shared.
Now I am going to take you through exactly how you do it!
How to Do It!
In the main Seesaw screen (if you aren't there, click the green plus sign), choose how you want to share the directions. Is it a picture that you speak over? Is it a video that you actually show how to complete the task? I am going to choose video for mine.
(You could also upload a video you completed elsewhere or upload a link to a video you created. This would be great if you know you want to use the video again.)
Assuming you are creating a video, record exactly what you want done. This should not take very long. It is just a quick reminder of instructions they have already had. (If you choose to use a different format, the next instructions will be exactly the same.)
Once you are finished recording, click the green check mark once (to compress and preview the video) and then again to submit it to your class.
Now you are at the list of students in your class. Do not share it with them!! They do not need it in their feed to access at all times, only when they need it to learn about an activity. (Tip - create a fake student to share things with.)
Now you are going to print the QR code for the video you created. Students will then scan it in Seesaw if they need to hear the instructions.
Hit print . . . and that's it! I PROMISE, after you do this once, you will see how easy it is and how little time it takes. If it was exhaustive, it wouldn't be worth doing each week.
Give it a try! I promise you'll be excited about the possibilities.
Bye for now and good luck!
-Meghan (1st Grade)
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