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Tuesday, June 16, 2015

CGI Math Must Haves

If you've been following me for a bit, then you should know by now that I'm an all in, 100%, cheerleader for, and passionate CGI teacher.  {And in case you haven't had that vibe yet, read all about my CGI math teaching philosophy HERE!}  And if you just want the shortened, refresher course on CGI math, then here it is:

Teaching math in a CGI classroom means I look past the cute math worksheet or lesson, and look at the child first...what he knows, what she can already do, and how he learns best.

8 years and tons and TONS of training later and that's what it boils down to for me.  Sure, it takes a lot more to effectively teach math in the CGI classroom, but that's the one-liner philosophy that I work off in my CGI classroom.

So, when my little one was about 18 months or so and started becoming obsessed with puzzles I was interested immediately.  And I don't mean just liked puzzles...I mean, head over heels in love with them, put them together 24/7 obsessed!  Before we knew it, he was 2 and a half and begging to put together a 100 piece puzzle...which he did successfully in an hour and 20 minutes {yes...I timed him...#crazymomma}.

And, yes, I'm proud of my sweetheart, but, no, I'm not using this as an excuse to blog my boasts about my boy!

Because the thing that caught my eye the most was how stubborn he was about putting the puzzles together.  You see, I grew up putting puzzles together in the "best way" ever: corners, edges, middle.  I worked from the outside in.  Anybody else do that???

Not my toddler...Well, he would if you made him.  But he got very frustrated with me if I tried to tell him how to put together a puzzle.

"No, mama!  Let me do it!"

And so I did.  And my math junkie brain kicked in and I decided to take a "hands-off," CGIish approach and see what he did.  And I was amazed.

You see, my two and and a half year old put together his 100 piece puzzle by animal...

He would tell me which animal he would put together first and then find the pieces, put them together and move on to the next animal.  If left alone, he basically works puzzles by putting together all of the little pictures first--from the inside out.

Here's the same strategy with the "My Little Pony" puzzle from my Sunday School class...yes, I know...but there are not any "big boy" puzzles that are boy themed at church and he really does love that one!

So what does this have to do with CGI math??

Looking at my child first and how he thinks about a puzzle, helped me understand him better and it helped me help him become a better puzzler. {Is that a word?}  I quit worrying about forcing how I solved a puzzle onto him and just let him solve it how it best made sense to him.  And he flourished!

And at that moment, my CGI philosophy was solidified all over again inside of me.  Because that's what I did for my firsties.  Where's your thinking at? And how can I help you become better at solving problems in the way you think about them?

It's probably just me...but it was a pretty cool, math junkie moment for me!

Maybe you're an ol' CGI pro!  Maybe you're being forced to learn about CGI math and you're dreading it.  Maybe you're starting out your first year teaching in a CGI classroom and you've got jitters and butterflies all over again...  Wherever you are in your journey, here are my go-to's, must have's, whatever you wanna call 'em goodies for my CGI classroom that work well in for K-2.

Customizable Math Mysteries ~ This is my year long combo pack...bundle and save!  But you can also purchase an individual month.  Each month has every CGI problem type written based on the month's seasonal themes!  You just add names and number sets and copy away!  I've also included my daily routines (what a typical CGI lesson looks like), an explanation on the problem types, plus anchor charts.

Number Talks ~ Need materials for subitizing, building base 10 understanding and helping kids talk intelligently about how to solve a problem?  This packet is the perfect companion to the book Number Talks and made a major difference in my first graders' thinking this year.

Print & Play Math Games ~ 10 games, each with at least one way to differentiate...task cards, K-2 Common Core aligned, and all the materials and handouts you need.  Just print and play.  Perfect for reinforcing base 10 understanding which is so crucial in the CGI classroom!  These are my 10 go-to games because they are higher level games that make kids think!

Counting Collections ~ Read about this weekly routine in my CGI classroom HERE.  An absolute must have packet to build foundational counting and grouping skills needed to solve math problems efficiently.

Fact Fluency ~ Read about this weekly routine in my CGI classroom HERE.  Another must have packet to make "math facts" more aligned with the Standards for Math Practices.  This routine makes for fluent thinkers and communicators in math!

Math Wall ~ And where traditional CGI drops off in skill reinforcement, Math Wall picks up!  This is the perfect daily or weekly routine for practicing skills that may or may not get worked on during problem solving time!  Six versions sold separately or bundled together to save!