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Saturday, March 12, 2016

Choice versus Tracking: Teaching Math Well

What if students were "choiced" rather than tracked.

I thought of this idea as I thought of Jo Boaler's challenges to tracking with regard to equitable math teaching in her book, Mathematical Mindsets.

Instead of tracking, what if there were a number of choices available to you and your child, and then you chose one or perhaps more than one.

Here is a list of possible choices rather than tracking levels:

Personalized Math Tech
A grow-at-your-own-pace online menu of math activities that leads you through the math curriculum and beyond with the help of a teacher leader/coach.

Math Coach
Work with a small team of students and a math coach to shore up your math foundation and learn more with multiple multimodal activities and learning experiences.

Maker Math
Taught in the STEAM lab this is a hands-on way to learn and apply math concept and strategy.

Math Code
This is a math class taught in conjunction with coding. All math concepts are coded.

Math Traditional
This is your "mom and pop" math class.

Fast Math
This is a speed course in math concept, knowledge, and skill. Through a series of highly competitive games, tests, online venues, and traditional teaching, you speed through math content.

Math Team
This is a math class focused on collaboration and team. You work with similar teams throughout the year and together you learn, apply, and present math concepts, knowledge, and skill.

Math Movies
You and your classmates learn math through making movies.

Math Teachers
You shore up your math skills by planning and executing lessons for younger students daily. The best way to learn math is to teach it.

What other math learning choices would you add to this mix.

I believe the focused attention on different learning/teaching paths would streamline a teacher's focus too thus giving all students greater attention in a math class type they self selected.

One way to begin this effort would be to offer one or a few options in place of levels, and see which students and families would like to try "choiced" rather than "tracked."

What do you think--would you rather be "choiced" or tracked?