Saturday, September 19, 2015

Developmental Progressions and Teaching Math

To teach math well, it's important to follow developmental progressions. Due to grade level structure in most schools, sometimes children may be pushed along without solidifying a strong foundation in early math skills. This lack of a foundation makes deeper math learning difficult to learn and master.

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.