Thursday, July 24, 2014

Simple Instructional Strategies Guaranteed Success in Mathematics

With new educational research coming out all the time, I have found 5 staples of math instruction that applies to any math curriculum as well as any grade level!

 Make sure the students are doing the thinking!!! 
  • DO NOT think for your students!
  • DO NOT tell your students too much!
  • Whenever you feel like telling your students something during a lesson, ask a question instead.

Listen to what your students are saying, not just what you hope to hear!!
  • Ask questions to determine what they are really understanding.  Have your students "defend" their answers.  If you work hard at this at the beginning of the school year, then this will quickly become a wonderful habit!

Partner Talk or Math Talk is a MUST!

Slow down your math activities and give each child a chance to share.  I know that in the lower primary grades I have found success in partner shares.  This way all students have a chance to talk.  Once students have a chance to share with their partners, then I will discuss the strategies whole group. 
  • This method works in many ways.  Shy or anxious students may just get enough confidence they need to volunteer in front of the class and  students get a chance to talk through their strategies before sharing to catch any mistakes.  Students can also share out what their partner said to them.  This is another great way to dig deeper into the problem.

Be patient with your students!
  • We all mean well when we jump in to save students, but this hurts students in the long run.  They will learn quickly that teachers will do the thinking for them and that they do not even need to try.  Review the first tip I gave you about ask a question instead of telling.


Always Assess!!
  • Assessment should not be something that is only conducted at the end of a topic.  Assessment should be ongoing, quick, easy, and specific.  Exit slips, whiteboards, or math journals are just a few simple ways to assess the progress of your students.  This data should be the driving force of your future instruction.
Here is an quick and easy way to use exit slips.  Make a form like this one, or use this one if you wish by clicking HERE!!   Clip art border provided by Dots of Fun and the font provided by KG Fonts. 

If my students are struggling with using the making 10 concept then I would create a problem for them that enables them to practice using that strategy.  I may need to tell them to use that strategy OR I can just give them the problem to see if they use that strategy. 

Have a great day!

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