Saturday, October 29, 2016

Math Teaching Patterns

As I sit today correcting a mound of math assessments, I'm thinking about ideal math teaching/learning patterns.

I don't think it's the best use of teachers' time to correct paper/pencil assessments for hours on their weekend especially when if these tests were on the computer, it would take a fraction of the time. It's frustrating and probably another reason why the teaching shortage has started. It's difficult to work a job that expects so much weekend work.

Anyways as I correct these tests, I'm thinking about the math teaching/learning patterns I want to follow.

Homework
I'm going to continue to offer a number of varying homework patterns dependent on family and student. I will work with families to reach a good balance that fits their philosophy, time, and need. I know this will vary somewhat from family to family, thus a homework menu and greater personalization. I am also cognizant of recent research related to the questionable benefits of homework and will continue to think about that and work with families sensitively in that regard.

Lessons
There needs to be a good deal of explicit teaching and practice in the lessons. As I correct tests today I recognize that this worked for most students.

Creativity and A Constructivist Approach
The more students can create their own examples of math concepts by writing problems, creating models, and creatively presenting the information, the deeper they learn. I am noticing this today as I read problems students wrote, solved, and interpreted via graphing.

Assessments
Though tedious to correct, assessments do give you an inside view of student performance. If we put these assessments online, we will be able to sort and sift data in ways that give us a better view and more time to really cull important details from the data--details that will help us to teach children well.