Classroom Close Up: Jen Saul Teaches 3rd Grade Math:
Third Grade Math Routines
Jennifer: My name is Jennifer Saul. And, I teach third grade at East Palo Alto Charter School.
Narrator: Our Classroom Close Up cameras joined Jennifer for one afternoon's math lesson.
All: (Singing) I work hard everyday. I learn in many ways. I look at all the clues, and decide what to do. I work hard everyday. I learn in many ways. I look at all the clues, and decide what to do. I work, work, work, work, work hard all day. I think, think, think, think, think of the ways. I work, work, work, work, work hard all day. I think, think, think, think, think of the ways. Let's work!
Narrator: This first video segment provides an overview of her teaching techniques and classroom culture. In the other segments, we zoom in to provide specifics and more details from the same class. Let's take a look.
Jennifer: With my students, I take the approach of "You think hard everyday" and because of how hard you work and think and apply yourself, that's why you have success.
All: (Singing) I think, think, think, think, think of the ways. Let's work!
Jennifer: Daily practice of multiplication facts is one of our instructional guidelines.
Jennifer: So we sing our skip counting songs. Music unites us together as a community in our classroom.
All: (Singing) 7-14-21-28-35-42-49-56...
Jennifer: We sing them together. And, it really is helpful to keep their energy level up, and their engagement.
All: (Singing) Big.... and 63- and the best one of all is 'ole 70!
Jennifer: We would ike everyone to commit their facts to memory and to have recall of three seconds or less, per fact.
So we do Fast Facts daily practice drill. Twenty-five facts and they have a minute and fifteen seconds to complete them. Right after we complete Fast Facts, we do Mental Math.
"Why do you think we do Mental Math? Why even bother? Sara?"
Sara: "We do Mental Math because there's math all over the world."
Jennifer: "There's math all over the world. And, all over the world, is there always a pencil and a paper?"
Jennifer: "But is there always our brain, if we're there?"
Jennifer: I present them with a problem.
"What would be the total number of books?"
We have been teaching them strategies to break apart and put together numbers in their head. Their body is telling me that they're listening. They're nodding their head, and their eyes look alive.
"Carlos. How much?"
Jennifer: After Mental Math, we do Find Three Ways.
"I need your help figuring out for four hungry teachers, is my $20.00 enough to buy four burritos?"
Once the problem's been recorded on the board, they are sent back to their seats and they have four minutes to wrestle with the problem independently.
"Ok. Discuss with your table."
And then, we want their heads together, conferring - a chance for them to practice using the academic language and have discourse over what they're doing. At the end,
Carlos: "I added all the two..."
Jennifer three students are called up, and I use my document camera, and they can show and explain their work.
Our end of the day procedure - I like to incorporate some type of physical touch, whether it's a hand on their shoulder or a squeeze and release hug. I just want to assure them that I've been very aware of their presence in my room all day.
"Cesar, it's so good to have you back. I'm sorry you've been feeling sick."
I am also a parent, and I know what it feels like to turn your child over to someone for six or seven hours a day. And, so I take it very seriously, and I realize that each individual in my class is someone's treasure, and special, amazing child. And, it's very rewarding.