One of the most common questions we get is: "What can I use in the Notebook zone?"
Have no fear - your answer is here!
The Notebook zone is my personal favorite, because it forces students to use the language of math in a meaningful way.
The most common activity in the Notebook zone is for students to solve a problem, and then explain how they solved it.
What does this look like in a classroom? In first grade, Meghan has the awesome privilege of having iPads in her classroom. Students "grab the story problem (there are 2 each week) and scan the QR code. It then reads the story problem to them." If you don't have iPads, there are these buttons where you can record your voice, students press the button, and it plays your voice. Or, you can always go old school and use a tape recorder :)
After students get the story problem, they use a template to "draw the sketch, number bond and number sentence for the story problem." Then they verbally record their thinking -- an explanation of the problem and how they solved it -- using the SeeSaw iPad app.
In third grade, we use journal prompts from K-5 Math Teaching Resources. (On a side note, this website happens to be one one of my all-time favorites for Notebook ideas and Play with Someone games, with tons of free activities organized by standard).
Students glue the prompt to the top of their Notebook page. They leave some work space in the middle, and then they glue a "What I did / Why I did it" t-chart to the bottom. This is where their writing happens.
In fifth grade we get a little more in-depth with the writing we expect. In this example, students have to justify their answer in our place value unit.
Sentence frames and sentence starters are a great support for all students, especially at the beginning of the year when they are just getting used to writing in math.
Other ideas for the Notebook zone?
Last but not least, I leave you with a video done with the students in Kristin's room. Here, we introduce and model a notebook entry. Students copy the example into their Resource Journal to refer to when they do a notebook entry on their own.
Don't forget to check out our Resources section for more Notebook zone help!
You did what we told you to....you collected data on your students....tons of it, right? Even if you do not have data coming out of your ears you will hopefully have a few data points to glean from. If not, go to this blog post about data collection to find out how to gather valuable information on your students.
For those of you that have collected data it's time to discuss WHAT to do with all of it. Form small groups! In my classroom I typically have 3-4 small groups.
I have a group of students that are above grade level expectations (these are the ones I like to push to go above and beyond....maybe giving them some challenging problems to work out or even advancing them to higher level content). These students tend to be pretty independent. You most likely only need to meet with them about 2 times per week.
My next group would be the students that are able to quickly grasp the content. You present new information and they pick it up quickly. With these students I do a "check-in" type of small group where I give them problems to work on from our current content. I observe their process and look for any clues that they may be struggling. If I find this to be the case I am able to quickly give them the support they need. You will meet with this group about 3 times per week.
A third group of students would be for those that are struggling with the current content. You will meet with these kiddos 4-5 times per week. This is the time for remediation and lots of support! I will use current content with these students and walk them through the process at a slower more deliberate rate. I sometimes find that with this group we may need to go back a bit to build on previous knowledge.
My fourth group is my basic number sense group. This is for the students that are really struggling. We spend our time together going over the basics. We often talk about if an answer is reasonable or not and why. I like to meet with these students on a daily basis if possible. A great motto to live by is "students with the highest needs require daily support!"
Grab this great small group planning guide created by our good friend Kristy Crater. It is super helpful when planning small groups and for taking notes.
Here are a few take-aways for you regarding small groups:
I hope this is helpful for you when you begin small group instruction. Let us know if we can help!
Now that your school year is in full swing, you are probably in full swing of of launching ZONES too. Right? If not - click HERE!
As you work on lesson planning for all of your ZONES and integrating your district curriculum, you may be looking for resources to help. Our Pinterest page can help! All of the amazing co-creators of ZONES math are all collaborators to these boards. These are all "pins" that we use in our classrooms and have found to be great resources as we use ZONES with our students. These will be the answers to all of your planning needs. We have used these resources and know they work!!!
Take a look at some of our boards you will get when you follow us! (keep scrolling -- I'm not done yet!)
Not only do we have a board for each zone, but we also have boards for whole group instruction, small group instruction, conferencing, all of our blog posts. It really is the compilation of our amazing ideas and resources all in one place!!!
Do you need more ideas? Let us know below in the comments or contact us directly and we can research your specific questions! We love to help!
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