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Friday, October 23, 2015

Data Details: Teaching Math Well

Last night I spent a lot of time analyzing student data. I looked clearly at a couple of assessments students took recently and added that data to a host of other data points we've collected since the beginning of the year. As I thought about the data, I had the following questions:
  • Where do we put our available time and energy. Students fall all over the data map from those who are a few grades behind the curriculum program at the grade-level to those who exceed the program by a year or two, so how do we best meet this myriad of learning needs and interests?
  • As we think about the standards expectations and students who fall quite far from those expectations, how do we employ the learning progressions to build foundation strength rather than push students forward without a strong foundation?
  • How do we manage the teaching so we get good scores? I know people probably cringe when they read that, but as teachers we are pushed in many subtle and not so subtle ways to prove our teaching through scores. If we don't get good scores, our work environment becomes a very difficult arena so how do we teach well and get good scores too?
  • How do we best maximize our teaching strengths to meet the students' needs and interests?
  • What teaching strategies, projects, and activities will be the most engaging and potent when it comes to teaching students well?
The year is off to a good start. Students feel like a team of math learners. We have built common language and expectations. Now it's time to move towards greater differentiation to help every individual maximize his/her learning in ways that matter. Onward.