Google+ Badge

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Navigating the New Math Standards

The year of navigating new standards at a new grade level overall has gone quite well.

We've been building skill all year beginning with a review of number sense and then moving to algebraic thinking and measurement. After that we continued with a focus on place value, decimals, and math operations.

There's been a lot of new learning for the students.

Yesterday presented a quagmire however.

I had received mixed messages about the expectations for math operation understanding, and I reached for a too-high goal too quickly. The students, eager to please, struggled through it, but some became very frustrated, and in turn I was frustrated too.

We simply can't move students too many steps ahead without giving them the time to establish strong concept and the knowledge skills they need to grasp new learning with success.

What is a teacher to do?

First, I'll say to students today that yesterday's reach was too steep for many, and I apologize for the steep climb. I'll acknowledge that teaching is a give-and-take, and sometimes a lesson planned isn't just right.

Then I'll say that we'll review the operations material in the next two days and after that I'll give students an assessment. Everyone should do their best and after vacation we'll pick up where they left off. Support will be provided for those who don't reach mastery through our RTI program.

As I searched online last night for greater clarity with regard to the operations standards, I realized that I'm not alone when it comes to finding the best ways to teach the new standards. The key is to keep moving forward making the learning as engaging and empowering as possible for each student. Onward.