Saturday, April 16, 2011

March Math Olympics: Super Student Teacher Trains Fourth Grade Mathletes for the Gold on the Math State Test

Students worked together to solve graphing word problem at station 4.
For the Olympics teams train together weekly with the guidance of their coaches to push themselves hard to the get to the next level with the ultimate goal of placing first and receiving the Gold Medal! For the Olympics everyone works hard together…

I was lucky enough to have had the opportunity to sit in on a faculty meeting one morning in January. The faculty discussed ways that the teachers might reteach the material students scored poorly on the recent State Math Pre-Test. As I sat and listened my math wheels started turning inside my head!
The following day I wrote up a proposal for a March Math Olympics and presented it to the principal eager to hear her thoughts. She loved it! She encouraged me to introduce my grand idea to the fourth grade teachers as soon as possible. Many teachers loved my idea, but declined to embrace the idea for their own classroom explaining they didn't have the extra time. However, my cooperating teacher agreed to find the time and implement this innovative unit plan within our own classroom.
So after the break this enthusiastic Super Student Teacher three times a week became a specialty math coach for her fourth grade primary mathletes. The class was broken into teams (blue, red, yellow, green) and three times a week covered 3 of the 15 math topics the students struggled with on the math pre-test.

The math material was introduced or re-introduced using “hands on” activities to teach the material at each math station. Teams rotated between 4 work stations.The work stations actively engaged the students. It allowed each team to collaborate with their peers positively and  the chance to get up out of their seats and move around  the classroom.

At the end of each week the team took a collaborative mini test (9 questions; 3 from each topic). The tests were scored and their math coach proudly announced the Math Olympic team with the highest score for that week! (Recorded on a Math Olympic score board in the back of the room).The winning team of the week received extra snack time.

At the end of the month the teams' scores were tallied together and 1st, 2nd, 3rd  and 4th place teams were announced. The gold medal was awarded to the 1st place team. (A chocolate coin on a string and received a special privilege for the following week).

The ultimate goal was to bring up the math testing scores from the math state pre-test. Students’ working together as Math Olympians is a fun way to prepare for the state test. More importantly the students worked together as a collaborative team which promoted positive peer interaction and a sense of solidarity in the classroom!



Students really loved the math workstations! Math was no longer dark and dreary. Students weren't being asked to" Sit still!" and "Pay attention to the overhead!"... Math Olympic workshop allowed math to become a time to interact, move around the room and enjoy solving math fraction problems as a team.

This math workshop changed the students view on math! It literally changed their learning environment. Students would come in to class every morning excited to learn. The most gratifying feeling was when I was surrounded by a group of smiling faces all wanting to know," Are we going to do math workshop today?"

Created by Super Student Teacher

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