Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Number Sense Routines Book Study: Chapter 2

Little Minds at Work

I am linking up again with Little Minds at Work for a book study on Number Sense Routines by Jessica Shumway.

This is my second attempt to post this entry from my phone. I wrote an entire post that was not saved and had to rewrite the entire thing! Ugh! Please forgive any mistakes for that reason.

I also want to apologize for the delay in writing my reflection on the second chapter. I was out of town last week on a road trip around south Florida and only had a day and a half before leaving for my next trip. I am now on my way to visit one of my closest teaching friends from the Philippines in her home state of Minnesota. I'm taking advantage of my downtime at the airport while on my layover to catch up!

Chapter 2 Improving Number Sense 
Routines That Are Not Routinized  

In this chapter, Jessica Shumway says that most teachers already begin their math blocks with some kind of warm-up, and her goal is to help those teachers refine their warm-up to expand students' number sense. She writes, "These number sense routines are not 'auto pilot' activities, but opportunities for meaningful practice." This statement really hit home with me because my current warm-up is what I call my Calendar time, and about half way through the first semester, I am already terribly bored of the monotony. I did switch it up a little throughout the year, but with subtle changes such as singing a different song for the days of the week and using a different counting strategy (count the numbers on the calendar by 1s, 5s, 10s) and so on. For the most part, the day-to-day routine was very much the same. It was my thought that having a predictable routine was what was best for my students which is sort of right. Predictability helps students feel more comfortable and willing to share, but there should be different routines instead of the same activities every day because students need multiple opportunities to develop number sense. The routines need to be fluid and flexible as well so that they are responsive to the students. To be a "responsive" routine, they should be responsive to students' discussions, understandings, and learning needs.

All routines should do the following:

• Provide daily number sense activities. 
• Include discussion about numbers and their relationships.
• Respond to students' current understandings.
• Build on students' existing number sense.
• Encourage students to play with numbers and enrich their mathematical thinking.
• Help students make connections to big ideas in mathematics.

Also, number sense routines should get all of the students actively involved as they review old concepts and practice new ideas. With my current set up, I have a Calendar Helper that runs the daily warm-up/calendar. This person is obviously involved, and I can count on a handful of other students to always participate, but then the rest of the class checks out during portions of the calendar routine. Who can blame them? If they aren't being challenged then they will not pay attention and instead will act out. And this isn't helping anyone! I can only assume they were bored but maybe the reality is that they were not participating because they did not know the answers to the questions being asked. A warm-up consisting of number sense routines is the perfect time to assess students. I definitely knew that the students that regularly participated had a strong grasp of the concepts being reviewed, but what about those that did not respond? I had no way of telling if the students had a clear understanding if they were not always involved. 

It is important to note that number sense routines do not always need to be related to the current math content being taught. What is important is that students build number sense and use their number sense. 

Part II of the book discusses the routines that Shumway has found to be the most effective in helping students build number sense. I look forward to gaining new tools to spice up my warm-up time! 

1 comment:

  1. Hey Marissa!
    I nominated you for the Liebster award! Go check out my blog to see how to participate! :)