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Implementing Think Math! - Support for Teachers

First year of implementation, teachers

Getting used to Think Math! -- For teachers who have not previously taught Think Math!

Relax! Think Math! does not ask you to be anybody but yourself! The program is designed to be easy to use (see keeping it simple), to give you effective and enjoyable new teaching ideas (see, for example fact of the day), and to help you gain new understanding of the math you already know, just by doing the lessons and teaching your students. It works! For more, see role of teachers.Think Math! is a K-5 program and it takes advantage of students' prior experiences with the program. However, it was designed to also work for children who have not used the program before. For more detailed information and suggestions, see students new to Think Math!.

  • Read all of the chapter letters while looking at the table of contents to get a complete overview of the year. For more, see first step for new teachers.
  • Establish a daily class schedule. There are three main parts to each lesson -- Headline Story, Skills Practice and Review, and "Teach and Practice." If possible, it is best to do these three parts at separate times during the day. For more, see Think Math! class schedule.
  • For K, see kindergarten.Suggestions for getting started

Preparing lessons

  • Read the background: Read the About the Chapter, About the Lesson, and About the Math whenever they appear. For more, see mathematical background for lessons.
  • Plan the lesson: Read the Headline Story (see Headline Stories for more about how to teach this component), the Mental Math Skills Practice and Review, and the one-hour Teach and Practice session (parts A, B, and C). Make a 3x5 card for each part, if you like, to remind you of critical pieces, or the order of things, or extra ideas you want to add (materials, a reference to a recent experience your children had, a connection with some upcoming event...).
  • Think concretely about this lesson in your class: Picture it, how it will flow, what you'll need. For more, see concrete lesson preparations.
  • Use students' performance on practice pages as important information about how to cover material in the current lesson. For more, see using practice pages.
  • Be playful: Not only for the kids' sake, but for yours, let yourself "play" with the ideas and even the lesson. Routines are calming, and help a classroom a lot—children know what to expect—but variety also helps keep things interesting and keep the children (and you!) mentally lively. See being educationally playful to learn more.
  • Give yourself space: It takes your children a year to "get" this whole program. You will find a "rhythm" to it much sooner than that, but it will take you most of the first year to get through enough of the program to see how all the parts fit together.