A Fourth Grade Math Routine

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I’m a fan of routines.  From waking up at a specific time during the week, to my classroom preparation – routines are part of my life.  Like most teachers, routines are a major part of a classroom ecosystem. These routines can happen anytime, but in my case they generally occur during the beginning and end of class.  I teach concepts from first to sixth grade this year and each classroom has their own math routine.

What do I mean by a math routine?  Well … my version of a math routine is the time that’s spent when students first enter the classroom.  That golden first 10 minutes of class is when I have students work on bell ringer work – aka: my version of a math routine.  Without the routines in place, I find that students are more likely to catchup with one another another and/or I get into conversations with students and time flies.  I’m all about creating a collaborative classroom and touching base with students.  Even with that said, sometimes time gets out of hand when I’m telling stories or  having a whole-class conversation. I’m then redirecting and spending time getting the class back on track.  That causes anxiety and then I feel like I’m playing catchup. Educators know how precious class time is and using it more effectively is forefront on a lot of our minds.

My routines look bit different for each grade level.  Some of the processes are standard and others aren’t.  All my classes enter the classroom, pick up their folders, and check out the agenda that’s posted .  Keep in mind that students trickle in the classroom as I take students from multiple classes.  Some students come early,  while others drop in after a band or orchestra lesson. Then, depending on the class, they have different procedures.  The procedures have changed a bit since I last wrote about this back in July.  This year I’ve started a new procedure for my fourth grade class.

Earlier in the year my fourth students worked on a Dynamath magazine and I’d review the solutions with the class.  This year I decided to change up the process since students were finishing up the magazines at such a quick pace.  So, while perusing the always great  solveme mobiles, I noticed an addition to their website.  Specifically, I noticed a new puzzle section that looked useful.

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After exploring around 10 different puzzles, I started to think of how this could fit into a math routine.  I put together a short student sheet template and introduced the students to it on Monday.

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Similar to my third grader’s Estimation 180 routine, my fourth grade students are completing one question per day.  The questions are like puzzles and involve place value and pre-algebra skills.

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I’m looking forward to using this as new daily routine with my fourth grade classes.  I’ve also been exploring the section involving coding and contemplating whether students will create their own puzzle at some point.

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This might be perfect for the Hour of Code next week.

Author: Matt Coaty

I've taught elementary students for the past 14 years. I enjoy reading educational research and learning from my PLN. Words on this blog are my own.

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