Monday, November 12, 2018

Math Program Improvements: November 2018

After proposing a few presentations for NCTM's conference in Boston next fall, I am cognizant of the fact that I need to continue to update my math instruction for the benefit of all students. What does this mean?

Learning Menu Growth and Development
I utilize an online learning menu to support student learning. Recently, thanks to Jenifer Carline's great presentation at ATMIM (a presentation that is included on this presentation), I have a number of ways to work on perfecting this part of the math program. I already changed the headings, and now I want to embed a system of checking in with students about the new menu to gain their thoughts and ideas for bettering the process. I also want to use metrics to see who is completing the expected study and who is not. I want to think about how I can develop positive check-in and response routines to support ALL students development and growth with this venue.

Explicit Teaching
In general, I find that beginning the lessons with a big idea and relevant rationale invites investment and interest. I also find that keeping the explicit teaching targeted and inclusive helps out too. There is room for explicit teaching in the classroom, and choosing when and why this happens is important.

Putting assessments online and providing both a hands-on copy and online copy has been successful. The fact that students receive their grades right away helps too as that spurs greater investment, reflection, and ownership of the activity. Working to better match the assessments to the expected standards and language will improve this practice.

I want to build in more regular time for reflection. I want to make this a greater part of the home study routine as suggested by Jo Boaler. Our showcase portfolio is a great place to host reflections and then use those reflections for family member-teacher-student conversations about learning goals, directions, interests, and needs.

Hands-On Explorations
I want to continue to grow the use of hands-on explorations in the math classroom with more project/problem based learning. This has been difficult given the tight scope and sequence we're asked to follow, but I am going to try out some new ideas for this. This is the greatest area of needed growth for me right now. 

I am not completely unhappy or happy about our RTI efforts. I think our efforts in this regard could be better organized and time better used. I am thinking about this, and while I'm thinking I am trying to deepen the efforts in this regard within the current structure.

Brain-Friendly Learning
I have read a bit about brain-friendly learning and would like to learn more about this to deepen my ability to make a brain-friendly learning environment in math and relay to my students what they need to do to make their own learning brain-friendly. 

Classroom Organization and Material Acquisition
Our classroom mirrors a learning studio now that we have tables and drawers rather than desks. I want to better the organization and access to all learning materials in the weeks ahead to foster greater student independence and choice.

Math Talk
I want to build math talk in more efficient, student-centered ways too. The biggest challenge here is time and structure. I will be thinking more about this.

There are countless ways to grow and develop math teaching and learning. This is a shortlist of where I'll begin. What would you add to this list?