Big gaps in math ability

Discussion in 'First Grade' started by LovetoteachPREK, Oct 12, 2016.

  1. LovetoteachPREK

    LovetoteachPREK Companion

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    Oct 12, 2016

    Hello all,

    I could use some friendly tips. I have a class of 22 this year. Six of them REALLY struggle in almost everything we do. An additional 4-6 of them often require extra help. I do not have a para during math, only during reading.

    We do Saxon Math, which if you are unfamiliar with it - it teaches a new concept every day and constantly spirals to review concepts learned. If a do a lesson each day, I still barely cover the whole curriculum by the end of the year.

    My problem is, this year I have several kids who just aren't getting it. There is no time built into the program to review and I have a good 10 kids who think it is easy and who are ready to move on. I am feeling frustrated as we do the daily practice sheet, because the kids who get it are done and talking and the other half are crying. I've tried pulling small groups during recess, but I really hate doing that. This is my third year teaching this curriculum and I've never had a gap like this.

    So, any ideas? Anyone else using Saxon Math and found ways to overcome this? Right now, I feel this curriculum is meeting the needs of no one. It's too easy for half of them and much too difficult for the other half. Help!
     
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  3. OUOhYeah

    OUOhYeah Comrade

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    Oct 12, 2016

    Have you tried specific strategies? For example, guided math?
     
    Last edited: Oct 12, 2016
  4. Luv2TeachInTX

    Luv2TeachInTX Comrade

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    Oct 13, 2016

    Can you teach in it small groups and have your students doing math stations over the spiraling concepts?
     
  5. Backroads

    Backroads Aficionado

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    Oct 13, 2016

    I taught Saxon math one year, but I also had the benefit of an aid. What I don't like about these "rigorous" math programs is that they don't consider any need for intervention.

    Do you have a small group/Daily 5/etc. time that you could use for some math groups?
     
  6. LovetoteachPREK

    LovetoteachPREK Companion

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    Oct 13, 2016

    Thanks everyone. I had considered doing some guided math, but I fear it will take so long I will teach nothing but math and reading all day. I hesitate to do any math during guided reading because many of the same kids struggle greatly with reading. But I may look into figuring something out. Thanks and keep the suggestions coming!
     
  7. OUOhYeah

    OUOhYeah Comrade

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    Oct 16, 2016

    You have to get them to think about what they are doing. First teach a skill, then do centers around that specific skill.
     
  8. yellowdaisies

    yellowdaisies Fanatic

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    Feb 12, 2017

    I used Saxon when I taught 1st grade, too. I wasn't a fan.

    I've got big gaps in math ability in 5th grade. I gave up on doing everything whole group long ago. I have 31 students, so it's a little tricky, but I've done total math workshop with no whole group instruction and 5 groups with these stations: teacher, math by myself (practice page), tech, games, and math tiles (Marcy Cook). It worked last year, but with my current class, it was kind of a disaster because they are pretty immature. I also couldn't fit it into my schedule because it's extremely time consuming.

    So now, I have 3 groups - 12, 12, and 7 (that's the highest group) based on the makeup of my class. The stations are tech, practice page, and teacher. It's working extremely well. We are taking about 70 minutes for math, but I can do it in 60 if necessary. If a concept is particularly tricky, I sometimes expand it an extra 20 min or so. I'm self-contained, so I have that freedom.

    Since you're doing Saxon, you could do the lesson whole class and then do math workshop stations involving either remediation or enrichment.

    This is a blog post by a first grade teacher about guided math that might provide better information for you at your own grade level: http://brownbagteacher.com/guided-math-in-1st-grade/

    As an upper elementary teacher who has also taught 1st, let me just say this - please take the extra time to really help your kids understand math concepts. I get what you're saying about not wanting to teach math and reading all day, but they need a good math foundation to be successful in later grades. In 5th grade I get kids who lack basic number sense, and by the time they get to me, I just do not have time to teach it! I have kids adding and subtracting on their fingers. This presents a problem when we need to get into much more advanced concepts. I know it can be tough, but I believe you can take the time needed for math and still fit in other subjects if you're creative.

    EDIT: I just noticed this post is really old - ARGH! I usually notice that sooner. Oh well, I'm leaving my answer in case any lurkers are interested in the info. ;)
     

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