PreZENtation Design

This year our math curriculum is currently under review. We have been using Everyday Math up until this point. A program I am familiar with, but do not love (Sorry EDM)! The benefits to having used EDM for years is that I know it well enough to follow the teaching points, but put my own, workshop, station-based spin on it. For me, it was the best of both worlds. I used the teaching points to guide my lessons but modified them to be more interactive and hands-on.

NY Engage Live Binders was being explored as a potential resource to guide our instruction next year. Being the eager beavers we are, we decided to try out a unit. What we discovered is that the lessons are much more focused on building conceptual understanding, but that the resources provided have the potential to become a very worksheet oriented approach.

The challenge we were faced with was becoming familiar with the new resources and standards while simultaneously using them with our students.  I found myself overwhelmed and a bit worried so I decided to create a Google Slides presentation that would help me teach the lessons in a way that engaged my students and correctly broke down the instructions and concepts without me having to adopt the Charlie Brown teacher voice, standing in front of the room delivering lessons in lecture form with a follow-up worksheet (ICK!)

  • How can I adopt a workshop-based model when teaching math?
  • Follow the workshop model. Keep mini-lessons to 15 minutes, followed by active engagement, mid-lesson follow-up & a closing activity. Easy!

Turns out this was harder than I thought because the NY Engage lessons are introducing a very new way of thinking for my students and (and their teachers). The lesson delve deeper into building a true conceptual understanding and mini-lessons soon began to look not-so-mini. So I went with this at the beginning, especially when the students were learning about place value and how to document their thinking.

After a few weeks, as they became more familiar with showing their thinking in this way, lessons began to take less time. YIPPY! Enter Number Talks!

Check out Sherry Parrish’s video explaining Number Talks. They are an amazing way to get your students thinking about numbers and explaining their thinking.

Visually speaking, Number Talks are a great way for students to make their thinking visible. Students are given a chance to share their thinking on the board and respond to each other. This routine not only builds their mathematical skills, it builds their logic, reasoning, critical thinking, visual & auditory processing, expressive and receptive language and presentation skills.

Moving forward, I really needed a way to keep myself and my students focused and on track. Enter the Google Slides!

As I prepared for my lessons, I found that using a Slides presentation to house my resources was the way to go. It is still very much a work in progress, but it was a great way for me to get started.

The first thing I would like to do is implement more CRAP into the presentation.

  • CONTRAST: Good, but I could do more with the headers and make sure the font is the same throughout the presentation.
  • REPETITION: Needs improvement! I would like to make the format of the slides more consistent. I plan to do this as part of the revamp for COETAIL’s course 3 final project.
  • ALIGNMENT: Also needs attention. For example, headers are centered on some pages, and on the left on others.
  • PROXIMITY: Needs improvement in general, especially in the beginning.

I’d also like to explore using the Explain Everything Ap to create some of my own videos to model the concepts being taught. This would be a great way to flip the classroom and give the students access to the lessons at home.

Jennifer Byrnes

My name is Jen and this is my 10th year as an educator. I am a fourth-grade teacher at the American School of the Hague. I have lived and worked in the US, Uk, Italy, China and the Netherlands. I have taught grades K-4.

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