Everything I am hearing in PD meetings is student collaboration, discussion, academic target talk and complex critical thinking. This isn’t a bad thing, but I know I have to prepare my students to do this. Because I tell them to work in a group, doesn’t mean they know how. If you have a strong model of building a learning community in your classroom you may want to jump to the next section.
I use Tribes to build a strong learning community in my classroom, and this lesson starts with a modified Tribes lesson called All in the Family and a Tribes strategy called Mingling to Music. When you are getting ready to do a lesson this active make sure you review your classroom rules or procedures.
Start the lesson with slide one (Sibling Statistics Smart Notebook, Sibling Statistics PowerPoint), designate a place in the classroom for each of the four categories – oldest, youngest, middle and only child. Tell your students they are going to meet with other students who are in the same family birth order. They will be going to the place in the classroom you have designated and then you are going to give them questions to discuss. I play music while they are transitioning and they know when the music is off they need to be silent and listening (focused for target talk, at the moment the target talk I am focusing on is appropriate discussion). Right now my favorite song to play is Nothing More by The Alternate Route. My students loved it so much they wanted to make a video of them singing it and explaining what it meant to them.
Once your students are in their groups, turn off the music and signal for quiet to move on to ask the questions on the next slide. Remember to give time in between slides for discussion.
Regroup your students into in-betweens with oldest and only child with youngest. Give your students the next questions. Be sure all students have been able to share – if groups are big this may make take more time than before.
Tell your students to put an X on the board over the number of siblings in their families as the are moving back to their seats. This will create a Line Plot to display the data set of number of siblings each student has.
Give your students some of the reflection questions – not all – to reinforce what they learned during the lesson. Use the appreciation starters to help build a positive classroom environment.
In this section, you are going to have your students make sibling strips to represent their birth order in their family. They will need to make enough for every student in the classroom. I suggest having envelopes ready to put the strips in – I have my students glue the envelopes into their math journals. Follow the steps on the How to Make a Sibling Strips page. I've included a copy of the 1 inch Grid Paper and a student example. After all Sibling Strips have been made make arrangements for your students to get one of their own Sibling Strip to all other students in the classroom. I did this by having my students get up and walk around each seat picking up a Sibling Strip. I did it this way because I know I need to mix up movement with stationary seat time. Get them up and moving because they will be sitting and analyzing the data. It is also an opportunity to reinforce appropriate behavior in your classroom.
Have your students analyze the data by answering the questions on the Sibling Data Analysis sheet and have them record their answers. I do this by putting the Sibling Data Analysis up on my SMARTBoard. I do not give my students copies, but have them copy the information into their math journals. It seems like a small thing, but this is another way I build the level of rigor in my classroom – if the students can do it, don’t do it for them. I also find this builds students' ability to pull information from text and copy it exactly as written reinforcing writing full sentences and not short answers.
There are different ways to answer the questions – you can have students pair up to answer or work on their own to answer a few questions and then report out what they found, or have them work throughout the week and answer all the questions. I partner my students with their shoulder partners. Because this is also a social skills lesson I will have them think about how they work with their partners.
Tell your students to organize their sibling strips so that it helps you answer the questions then create a display of their favorite question.
It is extremely important for students to reflect on what they have learned and how they participated in the learning. I use reflection in every lesson and it can take two minutes or twenty minutes. Because this is one of the first times I have my students do this, and I have to develop the process, I give them more time today.
I ask my students three questions:
1. What did you learn about data gathering and analysis from this lesson?
Some student responses: I learned a lot about my friends using math! It was fun.
2. What did you do that was successful in organizing your data to answer the questions?
Some student responses: I liked being able to move the Sibling Strips around to figure out the answers. I could see the math. (Math Practice 4)
3. What went well working with your partner?
Some student responses: I was able to help show my partner how to move their Sibling Strips around to answer the questions. My partner was very patient with me when I didn’t understand what to do.