Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Small Math Groups: B is for Building

BLOGC is how it's spelled and this is what it means:
B = building
L = learning
      O= on your own
G = game
               C = computer time

Instead of using my SmartBoard for these 5 rotations (like I do for my small reading groups), I made a chart that shows everything kids need to know about our groups each day.  I sewed the chart and used Velcro dots to attach everything.  I store it in a closet in my classroom and take it out when I need it.

When I starting planning for small math groups, the acronym STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) popped into my head.  Science is something I plan to integrate next quarter as our science kit is "Balancing & Weighing" which lends itself well to completing the activities during our small group math time.  The technology part has been grade level appropriate math games from abcya.com and just last week my students started using extramath.org to work on their math facts.  The engineering part is where I got B for Building.

I started looking all around town to find fun building materials for kids to use independently as one of our small groups.  My collection has grown and will continue to grow as I find more fun stuff!

At first, every time we did our groups, I just had all the materials out and available....which, I learned the hard way, was too much at once.  Now each day I choose 5-6 kids randomly to go pick out a building material.  This year, since this is all so new, they can just build whatever they want with the materials.  But next year I'd like to have more defined activities to complete with each material.  Next week, for example, we're only going to use LEGOs each day and kids can either follow the directions to build a pre-existing object -or- they can choose a card and then build whatever object is on the card (i.e. a robot, an airplane, a helicopter).  

Squishy sand and sand toys are our newest addition!
I'm hearing from parents and students that they LOVE math BLOGC, which is not how I feel my students felt when we did math whole group in front of the SmartBoard.  Doing math BLOGC is more time intensive for me, but it really is great for my students!

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