November 20, 2015 Dear Parents/Guardians, I thought I would share with you our school goals for 2015-2016. With various committees and at different meetings, our faculty and staff have reviewed different areas of data. In these meetings, we have brainstormed, discussed, debated, and sometimes even argued, so that all ideas and voices could be heard. We narrowed down our list and decided on two areas of focus. Those areas are math facts and school attendance. Next, I brought our draft goals over to get approval from Superintendent Buckley. After some additional discussion and rework, she has approved the following school goal around math facts. In order to gain some additional knowledge in how to help my staff and students achieve this goal, I attended a conference yesterday called, “Improving Mathematics Instruction for All: How to Teach Arithmetic Facts Effectively.” The presenter was Professor Mahesh C. Sharma from Mathematics for All, Center for Teaching/Learning of Mathematics. The conference was inspiring, informative, and practical. I liked how Professor Sharma intertwined good teaching strategies into his presentation. He made parallel references to learning how to read and learning number concept, number sense, place value, and numeracy. He provided us with “blueprints” of how and when to introduce facts. He spoke about how we need to first teach with visuals, such as Visual Cluster Cards and Cuisenaire Rods. Next, move into having students use pictorial drawings and “empty number lines.” Finally, moving into the abstract and standard method of showing one’s knowledge. Some other areas I thought were interested included: Students will have more reversals in their writing and letter naming, if they don’t know their right and left (spacial orientation). The need for immediate recognition and understanding of letters and numbers. Students as young as kindergarten need to be able to rote count to 100 and be able to count by 1’s, 2's and 10's. He stressed the importance of not always starting at zero when rote counting and when counting start at challenging parts (ex. Count by 2’s start at 27; Count by 5’s start at 37; Count by 10’s start at 12). He shared if we have a student struggling with math, we need to assess their skill and performance with sequencing, spatial orientation, pattern recognition, visualization, estimation, deductive reasoning and inductive reasoning. As educators, we know the importance of being fluent in reading our sight words; so too in math our students need to be fluent in the 45 sight math facts. The need for collaboration with families in order for students to obtain the oral automaticity of math facts. I will continue to share this new knowledge with my colleagues. Have a great weekend-- |