I taught Kindergarten for the last five years and now this is my first year teaching 5th grade Math. I am really struggling with my daily Math routine. When I planned this summer, I thought that I'd do a 10 minute warmup, followed by a 20 minute lesson, followed by independent practice so that I could work with small groups. Well...it doesn't seem to be working that way. I feel like my best days are with dry erase boards so that we all stay in the same place at the same time, but then I'm not getting small groups in. I feel that when I give independent work, they don't finish it, and they don't all seem to complete it for homework. Any input is appreciated!

We do ADD (15-20 min), a lesson together (either myself showing, then students trying it out on the board or with white boards) for 20-30 min, then independent practice (sometimes buddy practice if some are still confused and some understand) Anything they don't finish during class time is homework. Also on Wednesdays, we do timed multiplication tests and Fridays (since it's a short math class), we do some review from the week and Math Olympiad (I teach 5th grade gifted, but any problem solving would probably be beneficial once a week or so) As far as turning work in, they have study hall on Friday if they have missing assignments, and I write missing work in the planners on Friday for parents to sign as well...some still have lots of missing work, but I figure if the parents know, then my job is done.

I have an hour and 20 minutes for math. We check yesterday's homework and I answer any questions, do problems on the board, etc... We then go right into the new lesson. It can take anywhere from 30-50 minutes, depending on how well they get it. (Today was a 50 minute day). They then have the rest of the period to do their lesson, and it is homework if it isn't finished. During this time, they may ask me questions or ask me to check the first 5 so I know if they are on the right track. They do have math partners, but can only use them when the lesson is ALL word problems. I also do a math center day every other Friday. My grades are not terrific. I am a 1st year teacher and over 1/3 of my did not pass the state standardized math test last year. I have a low group. I keep my sanity with the 3 who have high (96% or higher) A's. I have 5 get an F in the first marking period (which is 69% and lower at my school, I only had two lower than 60%). I try not to dwell on that because those 5 all had missing assignments. I have 2 that failed every subject (and are already failing them all in the 2nd MP). The parents don't care and are impossible to reach. I write notes, leave messages, send letters. Nothing matters. I hoped it would be better after the parent-teacher conferences. It was. For 1 day.

We also do math for 120 minutes. The first 10-20 minutes we spend doing warmups; originally i did a mixed-bag of skills and now I use our district's math dailies, so it's more like short word problems. We do 1-2 dailies Tues-Thurs and then do an assessment every Friday; Monday we review Friday's quiz. Then we spend about 5-10 minutes going over homework and then I start my lesson. We do a lot of guided practice then students start their independent work and typically have to finish it at home. I used to do less guided time but my low kids have very different needs so it's easier to just address various strategies and solutions whole-group and then work with students individually. I do centers and games periodically so that my high kids have a more fun way to practice and i can work with my strugglers on simpler problems. I also provided a packet of math challenges to my high kids so they have something to work on while the other students need more time to finish warmups and other activities. That was one of the BEST ways I found this year to manage the differences in ability.

noreenk--What kind of things did you put in the challenger packet? Did you get them from somewhere specific?

I found a Math Challenges book in our resource room; it's mostly math logic puzzles, things that can't be solved with mere operations. Some things you may want to use in the meantime are brain binders (www.brainbinders.com) or the It All Adds Up or calculator lessons on www.educationworld.com

It depends. It is a bit of a struggle sometimes. One time I had all measurement centers. They had things with weight, liquid, distance. Things like a metric scavenger hunt (had to find something 30 cm, etc...). One day we had a graphing day with each center doing a different type of graph. My math series does have a "Math Centers" book. I get some from there. This is a new thing for me, so I have only done it a few times....