The last two components of my math block are the math lesson and lesson assessment. I use the 5-E lesson model to teach new math content. I like the 5-E model because it allows the students to explore and discover the content on their own before I provide additional information and strategies. The 5-E model also allows me to facilitate the lesson through questioning and assess the students' understanding throughout the lesson through my observations. While I regularly plan my lessons using this format, I have found it necessary to adapt the format to fit the needs of my students. With that in mind, I will add that this lesson format may take me more than one day to complete and I sometimes complete several explore and explain cycles before getting to the Elaboration stage. It all depends on the students! I have included the lesson format below along with a description of each of the five Es and activity ideas that can be used to address each component.

As for the last component of my math block, the lesson assessment, I use a variety of tools. The most effective tool I have used over the years is the math journal. Math journals are a great assessment tool for evaluating your students’ understanding of a specific skill or concept. They also strengthen your students’ writing and communication skills within the context of a mathematical situation or problem. Want to know more? I wrote about using journals in the classroom in my "Engaging Mathematics" series last fall. Click here to read the post.

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