Everyday Math Centers

Updated Post! 2/28/2013

Google Forms:  As I dove deeper into my understanding of Google forms, I decided to make them a part of my math centers.  Based on the data I collect from RSA’s, Progress Checks, exit slips, etc,  I create a quick 10 question google form.  I send the Google form to the students via Edmodo, and it provides me with valuable data to drive my instruction even further. What’s great about Google forms it that it presents the data in a variety of ways.  Below are just two types of examples of how data is organized.  Of course, there is more ways to visually present the data.

Google Form Data Pie Chart

Google Form Spreadsheet Data

For about a year I’ve begun the practice of implementing math centers in the daily routine of my classroom.  Our district uses the Everyday Math program for our mathematical instruction.  We are in our fifth/sixth year of implementation, so many students are familiar with the structure of this program.

Why Math Centers?

Upon first hearing about the idea, I was quite dismissive.  Why change my approach? My students, for the most part, were successful during daily RSA’s (Recognize Student Achievement) ,preformed well on unit ending progress checks, as well as state standarized testing.  For the students who did not meet the required standard, I used the abundance of data to help meet their needs and improve their skills.

For those unfamiliar with the Everyday Math model, there are three parts to each lesson. Part I focuses on the learning objective for the day, Part II can either be a game/math box/journal page, and part III focuses on a readiness/enrichment piece.  In the interest of honesty, I always had a difficult time reaching part III, due to time limitations of our math block.

Reflecting on what I could make better, I felt like I could improve when challenging many students who need additional enrichment, as well as  students who need basic computational review .  Enter math centers.

What do Math Centers Look Like?I begin every lesson the carpet.  Student objectives are written on the board, so they are clear about what their learning that specific day. Essentially, the first 15 minutes of the lesson is teacher modeling, student participation through usage of their whiteboard for slate math/math reflexes and/or use of Activ-Expression devices.  Conducting quick “formative check-ins” allows me to see what students grasp the day’s concept and help drive my instruction.  After this 15 minute block, students are assigned to centers.  I usually have 5 centers per day.  They may vary between the choices below.

Math Box Center/Journal Page Center

Game Center

Ten Marks/Xtra Math Center

Teacher Center

Promethean Board 

Scootpad – iPad App that tracks data and is aligned with CCSS.

Google Form Center

Students usually spend 8-10 minutes at each center.  The powerful piece to conducting centers is the ability to differentiate on such a deep level.  If a student has mastered a skill, I can push them forward like never before during small groups.  Additionally, students work in collaborative groups, so they are building the foundation of working in teams. The groups are very flexible and data is always used to justify changes to groups. Furthermore, student’s work is differentiated in the form of Tenmarks and Xtramath.  Let me be frank, Tenmarks is amazing! It keeps student data, provides parent codes, provides video lesson and tips, which act as a “second teacher” if I am with other students.  There is much more to the platform, so check it out for yourself! Xtramath is also fantastic because it provides students with an opportunity to have automaticity with basic facts, all while keeping data. Both programs challenge students and enable me to hold them accountable for their work to track progress and show growth.

After the 50 minute work period, we reconvene on the carpet and review the learning objective and I answer any additional questions students have.  At this time, I can also have students revisit using their Activ- Expression as a quick “exit-slip,” which can be used to drive the groups the next day.

Feel free to comment and/or ask questions. and give me your thoughts.  I am always looking to improve, so ideas are very much welcomed.

Everyday Math Center Video Tour:

Everyday Math Center Video from James Sapia on Vimeo.