Customized Consulting and Technical Assistance: Math

Number Talks: Incorporating this powerful teaching approach as an ongoing daily routine provides students with meaningful practice with computation and mental math skills. When students use mental math, they build stronger understanding of number relationships and build their number sense. Number Talks should be structured as short learning sessions alongside (but not necessarily directly related to) an ongoing math curriculum.

Visualizing Math - building conceptual understanding with different visual models and modalities: Good mathematics teachers typically use visuals, manipulatives and motion to enhance students’ understanding of mathematical concepts, and the US national organizations for mathematics, such as the (NCTM) and the (MAA) have long advocated for the use of multiple representations in students’ learning of mathematics.” Dr. Jo Boeler. Teachers will add to their instructional tool box and strengthen their teaching, incorporating visual models in their lessons and student activities. Math manipulatives can be further explored to be adequately implemented during instruction.

Low Floor, High Ceiling Tasks - multiple entry points and multiple correct answers: Incorporating varied tasks, teachers can create mathematical excitement in their classrooms and have built in differentiation with solution paths that range from simple to complex. By asking students how they solve tasks and by encouraging discourse of their different strategies and different ways to see solutions, learners are engaged. Students feel empowered by their ideas and contributions to their classroom’s learning community.

Supplementing Instruction in Areas of Need and Focus: Teachers will tailor instruction of content areas that need more depth based on data analysis. Whether students’ needs are in the areas of fractions, place value or division, deepening understanding of learning progressions and providing supplementing instruction can further support students’ understanding and success in mathematics.

Student Discourse: Honing teacher's facilitation of student discourse- MP#3 Students construct viable arguments and critique the reasoning of others. Productive talk moves that support math thinking, format discussions to organize conversations to create a classroom of respect and equal participation.

Math Journals - formative for both teachers and students: Student math journals serve as effective documents and formative assessments that help make progress toward achieving instructional and learning goals and provides opportunities for students to represent math with models and written math vocabulary. Students will organize, record and refine their mathematical learning that can be shared and reflected upon by teachers, parents and students themselves.

Math Vocabulary: To become competent mathematical thinkers, students must understand and use math vocab and symbols, such as perimeter, factors, = and denominator. Math Vocabulary Cards( both in English and Spanish) can be used to provide visual aids, opportunities for students to create their own “kid-friendly” definitions and drawings, and a model of definitions for a classroom’s Math Word Wall and anchor charts. Multiple exposures can add to students’ knowledge through suggested activities, games, writing and discussions using the grade level vocabulary terms. Teachers can implement strategies to help students develop concepts, visualize meaning and encourage articulating math terminology with precision (MP #6).

Curriculum Academy-MATH: Teams of educators will align curriculum to the CCSS-M with the support of LEARN coaches and grade level teams. Curriculum Academy sessions will incorporate understanding the big ideas, the essential questions, resources, tasks, assessments and the learning objectives. Teams can develop assessments that align to standards and help drive instruction.

Focus, Coherence and Rigor: Coherence is one of the least understood concepts related to Common Core math. Further developing teachers understanding will strengthen classroom rigor. When we capitalize on the learning progressions found in the standards and the coherent nature of math, teachers can collectively build students’ understanding as they progress within and beyond to the next grade. Focusing on the major work of the grade and implementing rigor with equal intensity, teachers will promote conceptual understanding and students will apply their mathematical learning.

Family and School Math Connections: Increase communication and connection to students’ lives and their caregivers with ideas and resources to organize Family Math Nights, provide “Math Goodie Baggies” for home that include Parent Pamphlets with a grade level overview of the CCSS-M. Encourage and inform parents that students learn through mistakes and encouraging a growth mindset. Strengthening Home Support For Math Learning: Create and provide Homework Pouches that have a shared math journal for both students and parents, listed resources, helpful videos, on-line games, apps, hands-on games, tasks, children’s books, and activities. Promote summer math learning with various activities and resources.

Literature + Math = 2 x Learning: Children’s literature will promote critical reading, listening, and problem solving skills through integrating content areas. Seeing math through another lens can allow students to be both creative and connect math to real world application. Detailed Grade level children’s’ literature lists with aligned standards and math concepts can be provided. Modeled Read-Alouds and corresponding lessons can provide a different perspective for teachers and students to see math in another way. Reading books that weave mathematical ideas into engaging stories can generate interest in math and also provide contexts that help bring meaning to abstract concepts.

Developing Fluency: fluency means accuracy, efficiency and flexible thinking to achieve automaticity: Activities and games that that are aligned to standards and promote student talking about math are powerful. “Say it to play it”- When students verbalize with purpose their mathematical thinking, they build their number sense. Number sense is the foundation for all higher-level mathematics. “But when students are stressed, such as when they are taking math questions under time pressure, the working memory becomes blocked and students cannot access math facts they know” (Beilock, 2011; Ramirez, et al, 2013). We want fluency without fear. Teachers will be provided activities that encourage an understanding of operations as well as rehearsal of math facts. As students work on meaningful number activities they will commit math facts to heart at the same time as understanding numbers and number relationships. They will enjoy and learn important mathematics rather than memorize, dread and fear mathematics.

Productive Struggle with Word Problems: Numberless Word Problems: To help students understand math problems, teachers can use the approach of taking away the numbers and the question from the problem. This scaffolded approach to presenting numberless word problems can gets students thinking before they ever have numbers or a question to act on. This differentiated instructional strategy starts off in a nonthreatening way - with no numbers - and lets students slow down, notice and wonder, grapple with the relationships in problems, and plan a solution path before they ever have to solve anything. Then students can add their own numbers that personalize learning with different levels of complexity and allow students to reason abstractly and quantitatively. (MP#2)

Math Practice Standards: Teachers can strengthen their understanding about the rationale behind the eight practice standards. Teaching the mathematical practices are just as important as teaching the math content. We want students to learn math and solve problems, but we also want students to learn how to approach problems. We want students to make sense of problems, critique the reasoning of others, analyze errors and solutions, contextualize and decontextualize problems — the list goes on. Teachers can explicitly see the practical ways to engage students in the behaviors of the mathematical practices, making them concrete for students with student friendly language and application that have value beyond math.

Math Assessments: Provide teachers with assessment resources and opportunities to analyze materials that can be both formative and summative and help monitor students’ progress and drive instruction. Student Interviews, various performance tasks and the SBAC Interim Assessment blocks can be explored to provide data regarding student’s mathematical conceptual understanding and misconceptions.

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