Sunday, October 28, 2012

Changing Up a Chapter Review...

Since I teach a supplemental class for Algebra I this year, I have had to find different ways to approach the regular ways of a math class. Last week I decided to have my students work on a Chapter Review for their upcoming test...Inequalities and Compound Inequalities, Unions/Intersections, and Set-Builder Notation. I chose to change things up and create a math activity for it. I call it the Question Run. I created 20 questions that go along with the review that the students work on in their regular Algebra I class. This gives them more practice and a funner way to work.

I hide the 20 questions in different spots around my classroom, visible enough for students to find. I do this before the school day begins or the day before so that it's already done when I arrive for school. I then break students up into groups of three. Each group contains a "Runner", "Reader", and "Writer". The "runner" is the member that moves around the classroom to find the hidden questions. When they find one they take it back to their group. Then the "reader" reads the question aloud to the rest of the group. The "writer" writes down the problem that needs to be solved and the group works on it together to solve the problem. When they have finished, the "writer" writes the answer on the answer sheet that I have provided for them. The "runner" takes the question and returns it to the place in which they found it. They now look for another question. The students repeat this cycle until all questions have been answered. 

I did this for the first time in my class this week and my students really liked it. They stayed engaged and did lots of cooperative learning within their groups. It was good to see the competition among the students. They really took their time on making sure that their answers were correct. I also noticed that when there were a couple groups left at the end of class that students from other groups were helping and explaining how to work the remaining questions that the other groups had left. I really enjoyed seeing the teaching that was going on in my classroom.

I have the Question Run that I created in my TpT store. So if you would like to check it out and see if it may be something that you would like to use in your classroom, feel free to take a look. Click on the picture below to be taken to this product.

Hope you enjoy!!!

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Incorporating Cooperative Learning Groups...

I have really thought "outside the box" this year with my classroom set-up. I incorporated cooperative learning groups into the mix this year. I have students break into 3 different groups...usually each group contains 3-4 students. I have very small classes to work with. I start each group at a different activity. They have 15 minutes at each station to work on the game, activity or computer work. It's great because the students never seem to get bored since they are changing 3 times during the class period. I also like these groups because students are able to help each other and lots of discussion is happening....the good kind!!! My students seem to be able to stay on task a lot better after bringing in the cooperative learning groups. I make sure that students work with different students each day of the week so that they are able to interact with their entire class throughout the span of the week. I've noticed that they don't gripe when they may have to do a little paper/pencil work because they know they get to play the games and work on the activities also. I also love the fact that when my students enter the classroom that they are always asking what they get to do today. It makes me feel like they are enjoying the different atmosphere that I have tried to bring to the class...especially an algebra class. I have my class set up into three different sections.

The first is where we do more guided practice, it is set up by the whiteboard. 

I have six desks in a semi circle close to the whiteboard. This is where we go over new concepts or maybe a concept that they just learned in their Algebra I class. It's great because I have fewer students to attend to and can really help them on the material that they specifically need help with. 

The second section is four groups of two desks. 

I have it where the students are facing each other. I use this section when we are working on partner play or group work since students can just connect their desks together.

The third section is three groups of two desks.

This section is usually set aside for when students are working on their computers in a cooperative learning group. It's closest to the other two outlets I have in my room, that way students can plug in their computers if there batteries are getting low.

I like the spacing of the sections because it is very easy to get through the room and monitor how the students are doing. I also like the sections because I know that each group is working on something different and yet all the students in the group are working on the same activity. Students can help each other before they have to ask me which I love because that means that students are learning in a cooperative environment.

Hope you enjoyed looking at my class set-up!!

Mrs. Math