Creating an Environment of Risk Takers, Problem Solvers, and Critical Thinkers

When revisiting what mathematics looks and feels like in my Grade 1 classroom, I asked myself many questions. Are my students afraid to take risks because there is an urgency to get it right the first time? Are they open to learn more than one way to solve a problem? Do they know how to think outside of the box?  Can they clearly explain how they came up with their solution, so that others can learn from them? Do they show initiative? Do they manage their time well? These skills are not only fundamental when meeting the expectations of a Grade 1 math program, they represent what are seen as key skills by future employers.

How do I create an environment which allows these skills to be developed and strengthened? The Math Daily Three is my new PGP (Personal Growth Plan). I believe that after experiencing the success of implementing the Daily 5 last year as my PGP, this is a logical next step. My ultimate goal for this year is to teach my Grade 1 students to be independently engaged in meaningful math activities, while simultaneously developing the skills described above.

Math Writing

Daily 3 #1:  Math writing,  aims to develop risk taking, perseverance, critical thinking, and communication skills. The above photo captures the first three skills. We completed a round of stations with the students, who then had an opportunity to share their strategies. Each week another problem is introduced.

Math with a Partner 

Daily 3 #2: Here the students practice skills introduced in our focus lesson. The focus lessons involve three rounds, I do, we do and you do. First, the teacher models, thinks out loud, and directly teaches the concept, while students observe and follow along, often using manipulatives and whiteboards. The teacher and students then practice the new concept taught. Finally, students create their own problems and trade with a friend. Once this is completed, students are given time to share how they solved their problems.

     Math by Myself

Daily 3 #3: Here is an example of an independent math activity that reinforces number words by recalling a familiar chant. The students are practicing forming their letters to spell the number words provided. Each week, different math activities are added.

I am excited to see how the Math Daily 3 will change how math is perceived by both my students and parents. Students will work independently, allowing for more time for one-on-one conferencing to support or enrich a concept introduced each week.  With each round of Daily 3 activities and implementation, students will be exposed and have more opportunities to build their critical thinking and problem solving abilities through teamwork and ongoing practice, as well as stick with a problem longer to persevere, through trying various strategies to, “think outside the box.” The ultimate result involves a fostering a love for math and building skills, which will ultimately impress employers.

So now that I have  a better grasp on what the Daily 3 involves, and why is it so important, I now have a more in depth understanding of how I can implement this on a regular basis into my current program.

So where does that leave me? More questions and next steps.

  • Ensure more open-ended questions are highlighted within the Daily 3: Math Writing
  •  Learn, watch, and try the strategies of other math colleagues in my greater PLN, around how they incorporate “I do, We do, You do” in their classes.
  • Technology.  Does this only mean practicing questions online? No. How to create and use technology to not just practice skills, but to also show off, document, learn, navigate problems and manipulatives, search for connecting information, all focused around math skills and concepts (i.e. Flipgrid, navigational internet skills, YouTube videos, online gaming sites, Google Images, Google Form etc. (to collect analytics: not there yet).
  • Data collection (This is a biggie!, but it’s on my mind) How to capture student growth and progress through the Daily 3 in a clear and more automatic manner, so that learning is meaningful.

My students and I are excited to be on this wonderful learning journey together! 










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