What's a teacher to do in this regard?
Fortunately in my teaching/learning arena, there are substantial tools and support to help out in situations like this. The key is to determine where a child's concept, knowledge, and skills are and to build from there. A child's level of achievement will likely differ amongst the concept strands as well. For example a child may achieve grade level standards or beyond in geometry while struggling with number sense.
As I look ahead to the differentiated, standards-based, and engaging program, we'll follow this path:
- Whole class, introductory activities that create community, build routines, and allow me the ability to assess students' overall efforts and foundation.
- Specific assessments related to the general content, facts, computation, and problem solving.
- Analysis of assessments, both formal and informal, and decisions about each student's program, supports, and direction.
- Program execution, continual review, and revision to best meet every child's math learning needs and interests.
As mentioned before, there's a temptation to want to rush this process, but I believe careful, collaborative attention to each child and the latest research about learning and teaching math well is what matters in this regard. Onward.