I have tried all kinds of things for morning work over the years. Each has had its own pros and cons, but nothing ever seemed to be the right fit for my teaching, curriculum alignment, or student needs. So what does a teacher do in this case? She creates something that will work.
My colleagues and I use a Daily Math Review (we call it DMR for short). It is similar in concept to what you might find in a teacher resource book, but it has been created and tailored to fit our students. Yes, that means it’s a lot more work for us, but it is incredible how much growth and progress our students make.
When we started, we knew we wanted to focus on five skills. Second graders always need practice with time and money. We start by reviewing time to the hour and half hour. For money, we keep the totals less than 75 cents and the coins are in order from largest to smallest. After that we decided number grids (hundreds), number patterns (counting by 1s), and tally marks would be a great place to start. We knew we wanted two problems for each skill (10 problems is not overwhelming and super easy for grading purposes). Here is what my very first DMR page looked like:
(sorry about the red lines under the coins – this was a screen grab)
On Fridays, the students have a quiz. The quiz actually has the exact same problems the students have seen throughout the week (a few problems taken from each day’s paper). The quiz is 100% independent and they do not get any help from me.
During quizzes and tests, my students have offices up on their desks. When students finish, they go directly to an independent choice (read to self, independent math game, work on writing, or incomplete work). I start grading as the students are finishing. Each box is worth 1 point, or 10% of the final grade:
As I’m grading, I’m making some mental notes about common errors. I will target these during corrections the following week.
The next thing I do is calculate classroom scores for each box. I get *super fancy* and make boxes and tallies on the back of a blank quiz. Each tally mark represents one student that answered the problem correctly. I also calculate what percentage of the class answered each problem correctly. The final thing I do is calculate the percentage of the class on each skill, since they are actually being tested twice (that part isn’t shown, but it’s basically taking the average of the top and bottom box):
We also use our DMR scores to form intervention groups for math. Here is a page of data I brought to one of our collaboration meetings (no, I don’t usually take the time to type up the data):
At this point of the year my students were doing quite well on the skills being assessed and I only put one or two students into intervention groups. However, one of my colleagues had a handful of students who were struggling. We identified the skills that needed the most work, the students who needed the most intervention, and divided them up. We then ran intervention groups and reassessed the progress made (our intervention groups are usually 2-3 weeks on a skill, 4 days a week, 30 min. a day).
When our classrooms are scoring 85% or 90% on a skill, we move to the next level or if we feel we have reached the end of one skill, we swap it out for a new math skill. Let me share a few examples of how the DMRs progressed through the school year:
As I mentioned, this is tailored to fit the needs of an individual class (or grade level, as we compared all second graders). Here’s a glimpse of the previous year’s class at the end of the year: