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Tuesday, December 08, 2015

Employing Learning Progressions in Math Class

I've yet to meet a student who doesn't like to learn.

All students I know know and have known enjoy that burst of confidence that comes when you learn something new.

There are few students, however, who enjoy the feeling of being overwhelmed, confused, and lost in the curriculum. These students might check-out, act-up, or get angry. They know the program is not designed for their needs.

The key here when it comes to math teaching is employment of the learning progressions which means starting at a child's level of learning readiness, a place at a just right challenge level.

Yet how is an educator to do that in an effective way that meets the range of student needs and interests in a classroom while also making sure all students are treated with respect acknowledging students' sensitivity to how their classmates perceive them and work with them?

My classes represent a significant range of math skills and abilities this year. While some require lots of hands-on math with manipulatives others are ready for complex equations and problems. This current situation does not foretell students' future because we all know that students' success depends on multiple factors including self confidence, willingness to learn, knowing how to learn, good program design, adequate resources, positive learning routines/schedules, and lots of good coaching.

The more my colleagues and I know the students, work with families, and analyze our efforts, the more able we are to employ the learning progressions with strength. Ideally we'd have more shared time to plan this approach and a better schedule with which to employ this work. I want to think about how we can build in this apt time and programming to utilize the learning progressions in math well when it comes to teaching all students.

To begin with I'll continue to use the resources we have to promote a step-by-step program focused on students' learning to learn attitudes and habits as well as a steady progression of math skill, concept, and knowledge. Onward.