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.
Skills View
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.
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 vs Guided Math by Olivia on Scribd 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! Olivia Are you only reaching the average students when teaching math? Do you find it difficult to fit in all the pieces to good math instruction effectively? Have you enjoyed the success of a workshop or balanced approach for literacy? If you answered YES to any of those questions, let us introduce you to ZONES Math!
Show of hands  how many of you think teaching fractions is a BEAST?!?
Yep, so did we!! Especially in 5th grade, where everything comes together and students need a VERY strong understanding of fractions in order to meet the standards. In our 5th grade cotaught math class, we were struggling with the best way to go about teaching fractions, especially for many students who still did not have the basics. Enter: The Fraction Progression. This 1st  5th grade progression of what students need to know does not cover every Common Core standard for fractions. However, it shows the major understandings students need to have before moving on to the next concept. {You can grab it for FREE from our TpT store!} We are using this progression as a checklist for our students. We start at the top of the list  if they show mastery of one concept, then they move to the next. We gave students a pretest on the concepts. We found that a majority of our students needed work on equivalent fractions, so that is where we focused our wholegroup instruction and ZONES rotations. While students were working in the ZONES, we worked with students in small groups to cover any gaps. We use the ReThink Mathematics checkpoints to assess student mastery. These are short (usually 34 questions) assessments, targeted at a specific standard. Students must get all questions completely correct in order to demonstrate mastery. Remember, students to not need to complete a 20question test to show they understand a concept! At the end of the week, we gave a checkpoint for equivalent fractions. This checkpoint, combined with their independent ZONES work, gave us a good gauge of where students were at. We saw that a majority of the students showed mastery of equivalent fractions, so we are moving on to comparing fractions. Some students still needed support with basic fractions and equivalent fractions. So, we are using our small group form to guide our small group instruction for this week. {Grab your copy from our TpT store!}
It was very interesting working with these students oneonone and in small groups. They were able to show a much stronger mastery in this setting than they showed on the checkpoint! Most students are ready for a followup checkpoint. That score, combined with our informal observations in small groups, will determine if that student has mastered the standards for equivalent fractions.
And, since we love spreadsheets so much, I also created a colorcoded spreadsheet to keep track of where students are at in the progression.
The next step is to give students their own copy of the progression. Each student will check off what he/she has mastered, and focus on the standard she/is is currently working on.
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! Olivia 
#ZONESpartyof5We're glad you're here! Rescue your math class with ZONES:
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