Thursday, July 2, 2015

Changing Up my Math Instruction

Hi friends!! I'm linking up with Schroeder Shenanigans in 2nd and Lucky little Learners for another 2getherwearebetter. I'm sharing about the BIG changes I'll be making in my math instruction next year. Dun dun dun… This summer I had professional development on Cognitively Guided Instruction and read the book Children's Mathematics. It was four days long and covered skills I don’t feel like I see all that much anymore. Algebraic equations, fractions and decimals… huh? I was rusty.  Anyhow, we were able to see this used in real classrooms and some of the teachers in my area came to share some of their experiences and resources with us. They even offered to respond to questions we may have. SUPER NICE.
Click {HERE} to check it on Amazon.
My plan is to jump in with both feet. I’m not quite sure how it’s going to work yet though because 2 new teachers will be joining my team and my veteran teammate will be out on maternity leave for the first couple of months. Oh, and only one of my teammates was at the PD. Soooooo… I’m a little nervous because I want to be able to offer the most support to my team.

So let me go ahead and set aside all of my anxieties, so I can tell you about CGI. For starters, it’s not a program or curriculum. It’s actually research that “provides a framework for children’s thinking in whole numbers.” It also explains the development of children’s understanding of mathematics and shows teachers how to foster it by making math make sense. Why didn’t I think of that? Of course, math should make sense.

What did I learn? 
5+3=___, means nothing to a student who’s just beginning to learn addition. On the other hand, if you said:  “You have 5 stickers. Then your teacher gives you 3 more stickers. How many stickers do you have now?” A child should have a better understanding of the problem and be able to solve using a strategy of his or her choice. For so long, I didn’t understand the significance of providing my students with context. AHA MOMENT!!

Did you know that there are 3 types of addition problems? I didn’t! Side note: Addition is referred to as “join” throughout CGI math.
Cognitively Guided Instruction
Each of these problems indicate an action:
Cognitively Guided Instruction
Click {HERE} to see ALL problem types.
Another important insight was to stop encouraging students to search for key words. OOPS! Worst offender here. Key words don’t always identify a particular operation. I always suggest that “left” means to subtract, but it doesn’t work in the following problem.
Chris left 2 books at home on Wednesday and 4 books on Thursday. How many books were left at home?

Want to see it in action? Check out this Alyssa Naatjes' video:

FREE Join problems
I’m definitely on board with CGI Math and can’t wait to delve in. I’ve started creating problems for my students to work on daily (two problems a day were recommended). You can check them out by clicking HERE. Would you like to see more resources? Click HERE.  I am looking forward to sharing more about CGI Math and the changes I’m making next year. Are you planning on making any changes to your instruction? Leave a comment or link up for 2getherwearebetter.


  1. We studied and implemented CGI in my teacher prep program... I think I need to return to it again and bring it back into my own classroom- when we used it, I found it to be very powerful as well! I'm excited to see how it works in your classroom and to follow your journey with it!
    Tales of a Tenacious Teacher

  2. My husband (a principal) and I enjoyed watching the video! I like to see real students in action. Great post Carol!