I’ve given much thought to how to teach math at Jubilee Academy. This is a unique situation because I’m only teaching two days per week, and because I’m dealing with multiple grade levels. It’s difficult to use a traditional curriculum or scope and sequence under these circumstances. Therefore, I had to think extra creatively about math.
This is what I came up with:
All students will complete a daily math review sheet on their level. Then I, or one of my assistants, will check it and go over anything they got wrong.
Students also will have a daily mini-lesson with me. I will tailor instruction toward their individual levels, rather than their grade levels. For example, if we’re studying fractions, there may be three groups: One works on identifying fractions. Another studies equivalent fractions. The last group adds fractions. Students will learn this in a mini-lesson with me, and then they’ll have some practice work to complete.
They also will have concept reinforcement stations, where they may work individually or in groups. The stations will have games and tasks related to concepts they have learned previously. They’ll have some choice in which stations they complete, but will be accountable to work on a variety of tasks and to work for the entire math workshop.
I also will have a whole group number talk, during which we’ll investigate ways to solve problems. Students will articulate what strategies they think should be used to solve the problem and will talk me through their thinking. I’ll reflect on their thinking and ask questions to stimulate further dialog to encourage critical thinking.
My young students and those who need extra time with a teacher also will work individually or in small groups with my instructional assistant. I want to ensure that each student receives adequate instruction with each concept, because math concepts generally build on each other.
In everything we do at Jubilee Academy, we want students to understand that it’s OK to mistakes. Students who don’t make mistakes generally aren’t trying new things. Great learning can take place when students try different approaches. However, we will ensure that we clear up misconceptions before releasing students to work on their own.
My goal for math instruction is to help students understand the how and the why of math concepts. Since they will receive small group and individual instruction, work at stations on new and review material, and have opportunities to share their thinking, I believe they will be well-rounded, confident mathematicians.