I’ve revamped my Professional Growth Plan this year. I will working on instructional leadership in the area of math. Specifically around looking at the data to find the gaps in students’ understanding of mathematical concepts.
Our school has already started on a few processes to help move us forward in this area. We administered the MIPI at the beginning of the year to help us with our understanding of where each student is at in their journey to mathematical competence. We spent time analyizing group and individual results in our grade level PLCs, as well as looking across grade levels and what areas might be better supported as students move up in grades.
We have purchased Nelson’s Leaps and Bounds and are looking forward to the diagnostic and remediation support that it offers. The program is being used in other Alberta schools, and from what I can tell, is a great resource in supporting students who are experiencing gaps in their understanding. We are also trying out Mathletics in our grade 4 classes to allow for ongoing diagnostic assessment of all of those students.
On Monday, I attended a Professional Development session offered through the ERLC entitled “Math Strategies for Struggling Students”. The session offered, not only ideas for math activities, but looked into the gaps in students’ understanding around specific concepts and the kinds of activities that might be necessary to support them in their learning.
And lastly (at this point), I’ve acquired two books by Jon SanGiovanni, entitled Mine the Gap For Mathematical Understanding, which offer strategies for finding and addressing the gaps in understanding for students.
I am really looking forward to working with my staff on this journey to better meet the needs of all students as they move along on their journey of mathematical understanding.
My son in grade 11 is working on Math 10 by correspondence. He writes quizzes online when he completes a unit. Jared doesn’t always have the highest level of motivation, so it’s a bit of a struggle to get him to complete his work or his quizzes to the best of his ability. Because he doesn’t live with me, I can’t sit with him and ‘motivate’ him to keep going and to try his best.
I’ve tried Skype before and found it useful for some things, but didn’t consider it for this application. My younger son let me know that we could share the computer screen on SKYPE – that became a game changer.
I can now monitor what Jared is doing while working on his math online. I can see what he’s doing and give him a virtual kick in the seat of the pants when I see he isn’t putting effort into his work. The great part is, he loves being connected and online, and even though it’s math, he’s not balking at the opportunity.
Using technology properly isn’t just about engagement, or improving instruction. It’s about helping the learning to happen and connecting with the student. For some children, technology is the way, for others it’s music, for some it’s just spending time with them and the opportunities to connect go on and on.
Let’s find what works for each student and make it work.