How does anyone else do the math boxes that are in the Everyday Math journal? It is my understanding that they are supposed to be done independently, but so many of my students struggle with them I often end up pulling small groups or doing it whole group. I think they're great practice and like to keep up with them, but I want them to do it on their own!!!!! Any suggestions?

A few things I do: 1. I have my students look over the math boxes and tell a partner what they think they might do in each box (1-2 minutes) 2. They read the directions to their partner for the first box. Then, we read them together. 3. Another teacher gave me an AWESOME idea for color-coding the boxes for kids who are having a hard time. I always tell the kids to skip what you don't know, do the ones you DO know and then go back. For some kids, they need something a little more concrete. This other teacher just told me to have the kids color-code each box with a green (I think I can do this), red (Wow! This looks hard!) and yellow (I might need to think a little bit, but I should probably be able to get it). Then, they do the greens first, then yellows, then at least attempt the reds. My only rule is they MUST have at least one green. 4. Certain boxes are a problem year after year. I note these in my teacher's manual and we do these together.

I love the color coding idea! I can see it introduced in an red light/green light sort of way. I usually do one of the difficult math boxes with the class and have them do the rest at their tables but I do struggle because two of my students just copy off the child next to them and never take initiative. However, that's why I go over the entire math box sheet with the whole class, right then and there, making sure to call on the couple kids that copy and never work on their own or even collaborate. It usually takes 10 minutes at the most, sometimes way quicker.

I love the idea of having them talk with their neighbor and discussing how they think they're supposed to do the boxes. I also love the idea of color coding the boxes, but I would have kids spending the whole time coloring the boxes.... I think I'll use the "fist to 5" quick check 1 = don't understand 5 = I understand and I can explain it to someone

My cooperating teachers (during student teaching) would say they have no time to do math boxes. But having raised two children who did Everyday Math all through grade school and then teaching it in pre-teacher training and student teaching ...MY belief is that math boxes are the heart of the Everyday math series...it IS what keeps math spiraling. (Without the spiraling effect, the students lost the concept the moment we moved to a new unit and we wasted SO much time RE-teaching!) I asked my teachers if i could take over the math boxes- and if I could fit them into the day...would they hand them over to me. They said yes. I played them like a challenge game and gave points for attempts and right answers which turned into earning math licenses of differing levels. (Actually... I gave the challenge as we walked out the door for lunch. The kids could choose to do it or not-but most liked the challenge and they ended up discussing MATH over LUNCH. The lunch mom was astonished! This ALSO set the kids up to be ready-to-go after lunch when we started into math lesson.) The kids LOVED it. They were disappointed if I didn't have time to make up the challenge sheets each day-and INSISTED that the teachers continue the game after I left my student teaching assignment. The best things about this system were that their math grades on the end of the year MAP tests SHOT up (we had start the game in February after the January MAP tests...which I watched them take and cringed at all the wrong answers)! And I even had kids writing about Math in their free-writing journals and saying how much they loved doing math our way. I saw that as a great accomplishment! ____I should add that I did this with a 2nd Grade... but i think it would work with 1st grade as well!