The most important thing to remember is that your students will probably not be able to do all of these steps you are about to read overnight. It takes time. You have to "train" them in order to get them to follow these steps, and as you will read, do them in about 15 minutes flat. Remember to read through my FREE FAQ pack in my store for some tips to get started. Start off slow and introduce one step at a time. I promise you your kids will get it by the next week! Practice makes better! :)
We started our Algebra unit this week and I want to show you how I used the data binders mid-year.
We started the unit by taking our algebra pre-assessments. Students took about 15 minutes to finish and I checked them during their specials (now that I have answer keys, it makes this process go WAY faster). I immediately handed their pre-assessments back to them so they could see how they did and graph their results in their data binders.
Since this is the first year my 5th graders have been exposed to algebraic equations and variables, I expected pre-assessement scores to be low. Not a problem! This just further helps me to see where I need to focus my instruction this unit.
Students typically take about 3-5 minutes to check out their assessments and record their scores in their notebooks.
We then go directly to our "I can" statement posters on the wall to see where we are heading in this unit.
Students then write the "I can" statements and their pre-assessment scores in their data binders (2 minutes max). These posters can also be found HERE.
Since these algebra concepts are so new to my students, and because a lot of the vocabulary is foreign to them, we went a step further (for the first time) and broke the "kid language" statements down even FURTHER in our student math notebooks. I knew my students needed this when I was reading the statements and the looks on their faces were scary. This honestly was the first unit we have experienced this, and I know it's because of the lack of prior knowledge with Algebra. This mini-lesson took about 8 minutes.
Once we delved into this quick mini-lesson on the vocabulary of the unit (algebraic expression, equations, variables, etc.) we then went to our "Rate It/Date It" section. I have our Marzano inspired posters hanging on our data wall for students to refer back to.
I simply call out for students to rate their understanding/learning of the "I can" statement at this point and students hold up their fingers.
Students then go right to their data binders and "Rate It/Date It":
You can see the current concept we are on is the 3rd statement from the top. The top 2 statements went through this same process, and we finished the standard with post assessments at the end of the unit.
The above process of "Rate It/Date It" takes no more than 3 minutes. So, in total from the beginning, about 18 minutes. Not too shabby!
Now that we have set ourselves up for the unit, I have the rest of my math block to TEACH and break my kids up into groups to provide any intervention/guided group instruction!
The first lesson we tackled, focused on writing algebraic expressions using operation words. We had a lesson at the beginning of the year on operation words, but I brought this back out as a refresher. My students need a strong foundation with these operation words in order to write algebraic expressions from sentences like 5 more than twice a number x!
The above operation word sort can be found in THIS freebie:
As our learning activities continue, we will progress through the unit spending a few days on each of the standards. At the end of the unit, my students will take their post-assessments and graph their results, and finally check off the standards they have mastered in their data binders.
This process has been such a blessing with my kids in math. They actually LOVE this process and LOVE being in charge of their learning and data tracking. Many of them tell me for the first time that they actually "get it" and see how all of the learning standards are connected. Their self esteems have gone through the roof because of this!!
Read more about data binders HERE!