I just started observing a 6th grade math class at a nearby elementary school. The curriculum is ALL book work. The teacher I am observing showed me everything they have to go by and she said that they really can't steer too far away from their book (which is a work book). Everyday, they come in and review the previous days' problems. Then the teacher uses the smartboard to go over problems that are in the next section of the book. The kids have to work along with the teacher and fill in their book. One day, they did a more hands-on type activity to work their problems, but it was a book activity and they were bored with it. The kids practice a flipped classroom. They watch videos of new concepts at home (maybe 1 a week)- which is why the class is nothing but book work. The teacher said the kids get so tired of it - I believe it. They were SO bored. She said that she will occasionally do an assignment that she has come up with, but ONLY when they finish the book work - which is not very often. Is this becoming the norm in classrooms these days? Or is this a specific issue related to the district/school/teacher?

That seems more district/school related. I do all of my own stuff, and we do fun activities almost daily.

I don't think it's go math because their "e-book" is through McGraw-Hill Connect Ed....But I don't know the name of it specifically, either (I'll ask when I go for my next observation). It was VERY similar, I believe. The workbook was made to be written in and the pages could be easily torn out.

It sounds like My Math. That's what my school has. It really varies based on district and even school. But I will say, it's math. Yes, there are fun things - activities, games, etc, that you can do in math. But there still needs to be time for book work/practice pages, in my opinion. I do try to mix things up a bit in math -whiteboards, station games, cooperative learning structures, etc. - but my kids are still doing practice problems daily. And believe me, I am pretty anti-workbook in all other subjects. Don't blame the teacher. It sounds like she is doing what she can with what she's been given. Also, is it their first year of adoption? It is for us. I know that next year I'll be able to "mix things up" a lot more, but I am still learning the curriculum as I'm teaching it this year. It'll take awhile for us to really get in our groove.

Math doesn't have to be boring!!! My kids practice math daily in a variety of ways. Independent math practice does not mean they have to do a page out of the book every day.

Oh, I definitely don't blame the teacher. Because the school does a flipped classroom, they don't get the book pages for homework, so it's all they can do in class. I do agree that Math does require some grind-it-out book work, but they do it every day! @Yellowdaisies Your post just made me realize that the teacher said that the material that kids must learn is all new, so I'd assume that the books are new, too. They are all still probably trying to adjust to the materials

Sadly if you observed in my grade level over the last few/next few weeks it could seem dry. Too much focus on the PAARC test.

My daughter is in the 6th grade in a district in Texas. Yes there are new standards this year for many grade levels in math so most of us have new materials to teach with. Our kids don't have a math book but there is some sort of materials. I believe it comes from some sort of digital math book. My daughters math teacher is a first year teacher and new to our country. it has been a struggle all year for her and I. Not much help at school and not much help at home.(I teach kinder for a reason) Even next year when she will have seasoned professionals are her teacher i think it will be the same drill and kill stuff. Our math grades are in the tubes as a district so right now we are not allowed to be fun. lol

I have a feeling the school I observe is in a similar boat. The teacher is a second year teacher and now, she's been thrown the new materials. It's a title I school, as well.

Just out of curiosity (and anyone who knows, please answer!!), is it the norm to observe a fairly new teacher, like horned_Frog is doing? Seems odd to me...new teachers (or close to being teachers) observing another new teacher.

When I found out she was 2nd year, I was quite surprised I was allowed to observe her myself. To get into the classroom to observe, I had to request from the ISD - with the subject, grade and campus. Once district HR approved, I just set it up with the campus secretary.

On our campus those things are usually put past the principal. My principal allowed me to be observed when I had only been teaching 3 years. He trusted my teaching enough and that it wouldn't bother me to have someone in my room.

The flipped classroom element adds something I would be totally unfamiliar with. I mean, I've read about it, but never seen it in action, so I'm not sure what that would look like in the classroom. Could be interesting. What other methods do you use for independent practice (besides worksheets)? I'm curious. I've got lots of methods for team/partner/whole class practice that I switch around a lot, but independent practice has pretty much been book work or supplemental worksheets. It's hard for me to say that because of how much I hate worksheets. I never use them in any other subject. (Oh, and we use individual whiteboards a LOT, but I don't consider that independent because we do one problem at a time and then discuss.)

Other options: QR codes on iPods, online math game (mrnussbaum is awesome), student created problems (next week they are writing story problems for multiplying and dividing decimals). I am required to have 2 grades a week, so I try to limit worksheets to those 2. I do a lot of informal assessment so I always know where they are at skill level wise. I do not have a textbook, and have limited copies, so I have to get creative.

I think it probably varies from school to school. I observed at three schools while in teachers' college and each time I was allowed and encouraged to observe anybody and everybody. They really didn't care as long as I asked the teachers. In fact, a few times my host teacher would point out a classroom and whisper, "Observe that classroom and see if you can identify how not to manage a classroom." Awkward!

Thanks! I really like the student created problems idea. Out of curiosity, how long is your math block? A lot of this sounds time consuming. We only have an hour (at best, sometimes slightly less) which has made creativity difficult. Sorry if this is a hijack.

Btw, this doesn't really sound like a flipped classroom to me. Doing workbook pages is really just the teacher having the students practice the skill so that she can have data that they understand the concepts. In a flipped classroom, they are supposed to go beyond that with doing some kind of activity that applies what they have learned. I like this resource about a flipped math class- https://flippingmath.wordpress.com/

The thing I miss most about elementary school is teaching math. I miss getting out the little whiteboards to practice problems, I miss the performance assessments, the manipulatives, the games. I sometimes even miss the cheesy "multiplication raps" CDs that were a necessary evil in teaching my students their math facts. We would use the problems from the book, but we hardly ever just sat and did problems from the book. We would race to do them on the board, or use them in a Kagan structure or something!

I am a 6th grade math teacher in Texas. We hardly ever just sit and do problems together from the book. I pull in games, task cards, and manipulatives. My kids have a lot of time to work with a partner or with their group. We use the rule of "3 before me" when they get stuck. This is my first year teaching math and yes, the TEKS have changed a ton!

I love this and I do use Kagan structures, etc (I've been through the 5 day CL training), but I feel like the kids still need some time for independent work. I have a few who will just stealthily copy from partners or groups when the work is not TRULY independent, because they lack confidence and tend to feel lost. I also have an incredible range of working speeds - a problem that takes some kids 30 seconds takes others 5 minutes or more, which leads to the high kids feeling super impatient, bored, and frustrated, and the low kids feeling rushed and frustrated (so, a lose lose!) I want them to be individually accountable for work at some point. I don't want them to be able to copy or piggyback or steal answers from other kids. I have done LOTS of numbered heads together, quiz quiz trade, and yesterday we did rally coach...but I still see some of the same few kids coasting by a bit. Actually, my high kids are the ones who enjoy book work the most. They LOVE being able to work at their own speed, not having to wait for everyone else. For example, they enjoy numbered heads together to a point, but they get tired of waiting so long for the slower kids to finish problems. I would love to move away from so much book work. Any suggestions for this?

You might try some sort of rotations 1. technology -- if you have access to technology this group can play games that reenforce concepts that have already been taught 2. Games --- this station they play some sort of game/task cards that reenforce skills. 3. Teacher -- gives you a chance to work with a small group of students to teach mini-lesson of new concepts or reteach. 4. This could be a station where they can work on concepts from the book