Rose, Bud, Thorn
Today marked the thirteenth day of school, and I thought it was time for a little reflection. I am teaching first through third grade students with disabilities who only experience inclusion through specials. I began the year focusing on procedures and we are still practicing and reviewing them like crazy. I am fortunate to teach in a Great Expectations Model School and procedures and expectations are consistent throughout our school community. To provide ownership of these ideals our classroom also practices the Bucket Filler philosophy. I also started with the determination to include inquiry based discourse rich learning in my math lessons and across the board.
Here are my observations so far:
I have incorporated Notice and Wonder in our conversations, and the kiddos are picking that up nicely.
My students love it when I tell them their mathematical thinking gives me goose bumps! I tell them mathematicians make me happy. They are starting to call each other mathematicians – Wooooop!
I am using Grayson Wheatley’s Quick Draws/Quick Looks and my students are using more accurate math vocabulary and are learning to share their noticings while listening and responding to the observations of others. Words like diagonal, horizontal, hexagon, vertices and rhombus are being utilized regularly! Remember, these are 1st, 2nd, and 3rd grade students with moderate to severe disabilities! When they talk nerdy to me like this I really do get goose bumps!
I have used an estimation station a few times and we have shared some really great strategies. I need to work on finding bigger items to put in my estimation jar so that my students can see without counting all. The developmental level of my students causes me not to want to use an amount more than 20, but small objects are easily counted in the jar with amounts less than 20.
I have a handful of students who also have behavioral disabilities. Creating an atmosphere of mutual respect rich with discourse is quite difficult when a child is having a meltdown. Conversations and ideas are lost in the midst of these. I am working with a behavior specialist and have para support, but when a meltdown ensues all learning seems to stop in the class.
All in all, I believe we are off to a great start. My students have never been in a classroom where talking is the norm. They are learning that just because we are sharing and having educational conversations, it is not a time to talk about anything under the sun! They have so much that they want to say and so many things they want to discuss that I wish we could take a whole day each week and just talk about life!
I am looking forward to an awesome year with my amazing mathematicians!