An approach to math where students learn to become independent and support each other in learning and solving math problems.
Introduction to Math Daily 3
Math Daily 3 is an exciting program that has been developed by Gail Boushey and Joan Moser. One of the chapters in their Daily 5 book is dedicated to Math Daily 3. I would really recommend purchasing the book for those thinking about setting up stations around reading; however, the math chapter is also a good fit, but I found it less comprehensive as their language arts information.
Nonetheless, I really love Math Daily 3 and how well students adapt to it. It is a beautiful way to engage students while also differentiating math for all students. In fact, in my third year of teaching I implemented one additional station: Math with Teacher. You can read a detailed account about the implementation of Math Daily 3 in my class using A Guide to Math Daily 3. This is a helpful guide for an intervention classroom where students are struggling with the overall math curriculum. It also provides a step-by-step approach to planning for and executing Math Daily 3 for teachers trying it out for the first time, although I have tweaked it a bit to fit the needs of my students.
I first launched the Math Daily 3 in June 2015. At that time, the students I was teaching had just come back after one year together in first and second grades respectively. They were moving up to the second and third grades, so I wanted to make math captivating and engaging. Fortunately, I had read about the Math Daily 3 program on School Is A Happy Place and felt encouraged to plan for it. Incredibly, the students fell in love with Math Daily 3 after just one week of trying it out, and it became another part of the schedule that students looked forward to experiencing.
In my initial years of teaching, I used the Math Daily 3 stations as a form of review stations that occurred once a week. However, the traditional way to incorporate the Math Daily 3 program, going back and forth from a mini lesson to a rotation. Nonetheless, the approach that is taken should be based on the needs of our classrooms and students, and, in the consideration of that, I have outlined how I used Math Daily 3 in my initial years of teaching in the next part.
How the Stations Work
There are three stations in Math Daily 3: Math by Myself, Math with Someone, and Math Writing. There is also Math Daily 5, which includes two more stations -- Math with Teacher and Math Technology. Considering the limited resources that I had and the needs of the students, I decided to start off with the first three stations. So, what exactly happens at each station?
Math by Myself is a simple station to envision, but one of the more time consuming ones to plan. At this station, students work independently on their math task. For my classroom, I have laminated worksheets prepared for the students, but teachers can also just print worksheets instead. Generally, I have about 15-20 bags with four different laminated worksheets in each bag. Each bag represents a specific strand/topic of the curriculum (e.g. addition). In the addition bag, for example, students can select a worksheet according to their level and needs. This includes a worksheet on single digit addition, double digit addition without carryover, double digit addition with carryover, and addition word problems.
While Math Daily 5 traditionally includes Math with Teacher as a station, I use this station to provide teacher facilitation. I work with two to three students and I record annotated notes as a form of assessment on their individual Math by Myself Tracker, so if there are 15 students in the class then the teacher should have 15 copies of the tracker in a folder.
This is the way I set-up the Math by Myself station, but I have seen other ways of doing it as well. As always, it really depends on what works best for you and your students.
Math with Someoneis my absolute favourite station. Some teachers use this time for students to work on an assignment with a partner. I use activities and games for them to work on instead. I find that there are a lot of assessment opportunities at the other stations, so Math with Someone is a space for activities and games in our classroom. In fact, not all learning has to be assessed, in my opinion anyway.
At this station, students have access to several games such as multiplication wheels, division wheels, addition flashcards/puzzles, tangrams, 3D shapes, and so on. While it does take time to gather the activities and games, teachers can also use cost effective resources (e.g. a snakes and ladder printout that can be related to a math topic). In pairs, students select one math game to play, selecting a different game the next time around, as a way to practice different concepts and topics. Typically, I have about 8-10 different games in the bin, which students already know how to play, so this makes planning Math with Someone comparatively less extensive. As a way to mix it up from time to time, I introduce new activities and games when it becomes relevant.
Math Writing sounds the most interesting, but initially I thought, "How will my students be able to write about math of all things?" However, the station is simpler than it sounds. Each student should be provided with their very own math journal. I used to get the students to solve a few problems as a form of revision to the previous day's material or on an important topic. I do from time to time see that some students finish in less time than their group. In this case, I get those students to go around and help others in their group to solve the answer. It is important, however, to teach those students how to support other students without simply giving away the answer.