If you have read my blog for any length of time, you have no doubt heard me talk about how much I love Calendar Math. I mean, I have written about it more than any other single subject on my blog. It is something I feel so strongly about that I preach it to anyone who will listen (especially you, my faithful blog readers :))
But, a second math component that I talk about occasionally, but really has just as much impact on my math teaching is my spiral math homework. I literally could not live without it.
Let me tell you why I love these two pieces of my math block puzzle. You see, these both take care of those rote standards that I need my kids to know, yet they just don't seem to grasp from that one lesson I teach that one day of the school year. Things like place value (have you ever tried to get the kids to remember to write expanded form in March????), plotting on number lines, or general multiplication and division. These are skills the kids MUST know, yet don't get nearly enough practice in the traditional way of doing things.
Because nothing is being forgotten, the kids are always practicing those basic skills they need, nothing is ever lost. I can honestly say that because of this homework and Calendar if I don't get to a lesson in math that day...I STILL FEEL OK! I know all of the standards are covered and I simply DO NOT EVER stress about math. Ever.
However, doing the work isn't enough. The key to this is that every.single.day, without fail, we go over the homework AND Calendar. I have it worked into my math block (just 10 minutes each) to go over the problems. I don't teach during this time, I just show the students how to do the work, with their help at times, on the ELMO and then they take it home to study for later. This review of the problems is what makes this homework and Calendar better than anything I have done before. If the kids didn't get it at home the night before, they get it when we go over it. Then, when they see a similar problem on a homework that week (or the next or the next) they *do* get it.
Really, this is the MOST meaningful time of my day. It makes math a stressfree zone in my room. The kids like it, they benefit from the repeated practice, and I am a happy teacher because of it.
Do you do any sort of spiral math or daily calendar math? Tell us about it!