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Wednesday, December 07, 2016

Teach Math Well: Climbing the Computation Ladder

Students are climbing the "computation ladder" to meet standards expectations this month. As it stands now we have students on the following rungs:
  • Counting: solidifying counting from 1-100 and 1-1000 to gain a foundation of number sense.
  • Facts: Using tiles and numbers to show the addition and multiplication facts and studying the inverse operations and the facts related to division and subtraction.
  • Large number whole number computation with large numbers.
  • Divisibility Rules.
  • Large number decimal number computation. 
  • Decimal number lines.
  • Vocabulary, measurement facts, and more concepts.
  • Problem solving.
Students are on this variety of rungs for multiple reasons. Some students came to our school late and missed the foundation skills. Some students didn't grasp some of the foundation skills in the early grades for a number of reasons. For example if a child was a very active first or second grader, he/she may not have been attentive enough to grasp the paper/pencil skills. Some students attend Russian math and other math classes and are therefore advanced, and others practice at home a lot with family members. Hence, there's a great range of math skills, concept, and knowledge. 

There will always be a range in study no matter what the subject. Last night as I watched a good movie about dancing, I thought about how I'd be at the lowest rung in that genre and others I know would be quite advanced in that regard. The goal is to give students the confidence, coaching, and resources to move ahead.

Today I'll coach them forward again and help as many as I can with the support of incredible, dedicated colleagues and family members. The truth is everyone is capable of learning and that learning depends on good time, attitude, and support--the very same attributes we'll bring to our students today.