Tch DIY: Learning Together Through Math Routines

Math Routines with Kristin Gray

I couldn’t be more excited about the launch of this Teaching Channel project — it’s so near and dear to my heart. Over the past five years, much of my work in the classroom and with teachers has centered around math routines that generate student discourse and help us learn more about our students’ understandings. All of this work has been inspired by books I’ve read, conversations with colleagues in person and on Twitter, and the amazing student mathematical discussions I’ve heard, sparked by these routines. With this project, I have the opportunity to share all of the hard work of my colleagues, showcase the safe culture they have established in their classrooms, and highlight all of the wonderful mathematical ideas of their students.

Each month, Teaching Channel will release a set of grade level math routine videos, filmed by yours truly and put together by the amazing team at Tch. There will be videos of routines such as:

Each video will be the entire, uncut routine accompanied by the planning sheet, my reflection, resources, and student journal samples based on the routine in the video.

Since I want the focus of the video to be the mathematical ideas and teacher moves, there are a few things I’d like you to know about the filming that might otherwise be distractions:

  • In order for students to be filmed, parents must sign a release form. If a classroom did not have all of their release forms, we pulled in students from other classrooms to have a full class. You may see some faces twice in different classroom videos.
  • Filming with an iPad can be a challenge because of what can be captured at a decent range. In our classrooms, students normally sit on the carpet for a math routine; but in some of the classrooms, because of the space and angle of the camera, we had students sit in chairs so you’d be able to see them.
  • A typical routine, when done every day, would be about 10–15 minutes. Since we wanted to capture a lot of student thinking for you, we went a bit longer for these videos.
  • After a number routine, we don’t always do a journal prompt. Since we wanted to give you an idea of how to extend or learn more about what each student knows, we did end each of the filmed routines with a journal entry prompt.
  • Filming during a school day can be filled with interruptions, so you may hear some intercom announcements and other background noise in some of the videos.
  • Being filmed and putting your teaching out there for everyone to see is a scary thing. Teachers had the option of either teaching the routine themselves or having me facilitate the routine with their class, so you’ll see a mix of teachers in the videos.
  • We don’t claim that any of these videos are perfect examples of what the routine should be, but simply the way they can play out in a classroom.

With much excitement and some nervousness about putting our teaching practice out there, we’re launching this series with a set of third grade videos. As a whole, these videos capture a variety of mathematical ideas through purposefully chosen problems and student discourse. The teachers and I are so excited to hear about what you learn, questions you may have, and examples of how these routines have worked for you!

Kristin Gray is a National Board Certified fifth grade math teacher at Richard A. Shields Elementary School in the Cape Henlopen School District in Lewes, Delaware and a Teaching Channel Laureate. During her 19 years in education, she has taught 5th-8th grade math, and spent two years as a K-5 Math Specialist. She feels fortunate to be involved with Illustrative Mathematics and Teaching Channel on projects developing math tasks, facilitating professional development, and blogging about these experiences. She is always excited to share her love of teaching at conferences such as NCTM, NCSM, ISTE, as well as on her blog. Follow Kristen on Twitter: @MathMinds.

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