September 11, 2017
Hello Mariposa families.
Last Thursday, five of our seven Marposa@TL teachers were out learning to improve their teaching of mathematics.
As I shared at Back to School Night, part of our strategic plan includes aligning instructional goals and materials with the Common Core Standards. Last year, our district selected a new K-5 mathematics curriculum based on Singapore’s renown math instruction, called Math in Focus. In our Mariposa program, all of our 4th and 5th grade teachers will be using these materials this year. As part of implementation, they will be attending trainings and collaborating about instructional practices.
Why Math in Focus?
Math in Focus was selected for its mastery-based approach to supporting learning. During the selection process, we used criteriareflecting the key shifts of the Common Core Standards:
Focus: Deep work in grade level learning goals to build a strong foundation. In K-2, instruction focuses on concepts, skills, and problem solving using addition and subtraction. In Grades 3-5, students develop concepts, skills, and problem solving using multiplication, division and fractions.
Rigor: Challenging and engaging work to help students become powerful mathematical thinkers who can use numbers flexibly and accurately as they apply mathematical ideas to show understanding. Students learn to prove paths of thinking, justifying their solutions verbally and in writing.
Coherence: Topics and ideas are linked across grades, building understanding to support mastery. At each step, lessons progress from concrete-pictorial-abstract. Hands-on experiences and modeling are emphasized to build rich understanding.
Beyond the Book
One of the most important aspects of our SCSD culture is the trust we place in our teachers as professionals. Just as we’ve always done, we’re considering Math in Focus one powerful tool in a broad toolbox of instructional materials and strategies that our teachers use to support student progress and engagement. Math is present throughout the learning day, as direct lessons and also in integrated ways during project-based science and social studies units. Daily, teachers assess progress formally and informally as students wrestle with mathematical ideas and take new steps as curious, capable problem solvers. No one curriculum can meet the wonderful range of interests, skills, and opportunities that our students bring to the classroom. Our teachers draw from their own experience and a wide set of tools to personalize instruction to meet students’ needs. We encourage and celebrate these decision-making moments as an essential part of our commitment to a child-centered education.
Math homework will vary according to students’ abilities, needs, and interests. Homework may be assigned when students require additional practice to support mastery as determined by teacher observations of student progress, as well as when assignments deepen student-driven learning and/or project-based learning.
Teachers will communicate with parents about student progress along the way by sharing classroom assessments as they they move through units and lessons, providing parents information about how their child has mastered the concepts. Home School Connections from the program will be sent home giving parents a look at the teaching and learning in the classroom, along with strategies for home practice.
We’re excited about where we’re headed with mathematics, and the new learning goals that comprise the Common Core Standards. Please reach out to your child’s teacher if you have questions about classroom learning or your child’s progress. Take a look at these Math In Focus videos to learn more about your students’ math learning this year. Check out this video to learn about the Common Core shifts in mathematics, review this summary of Grade-Specific Guide to Learning, or view the full set of K-12 mathematics standards here.
John Triska, Principal