February 23, 2013
Math has been challenging for me this year. I go into one class and pull out two other groups to teach/reteach math. Last year the comment that I got from evaluations was, "How is what you're doing helping students access core in a timely manner?" Meaning, stop spending all your time filling in the holes and do it as your helping students understand core. Well-easier said than done. But I had a light bulb moment early in the week, when I was talking with my coach about my math instruction.
I have to say it has been easier to do than I thought. My district has done most of the work for teachers. They have broken down each unit using Understand By Design: Backwards Planning. I can then take the unit and figure out what skills students must have to make through the unit and that is where I put my time when I'm working in small groups. I must admit this thinking gives me the time that I need to reteach skills that students should have mastered years ago. Using the Gradual Release framework, I have been able to at least help student's do better in math if not out-right master the content being taught.
My building coach, has also been pushing back on my thinking to increase the rigor of my instruction by helping to redesign my learning targets to increase students depth of knowledge. I usually start my targets with an essential question--it tells them what I want them to walk away with at the end of lesson. In many cases for the last few weeks they have started with "Can I." She asked my if I thought my question got at the depth I was wanting and if it matched my lesson. The day she visited, students had to create two different graphs and find the measures of center, so they could interpret the graph but the posted essential question was Can I create the graphs. See the disconnect.
As we talked, she showed me a Common Core Resource that was a summary of math standards and questions I could use to develop math thinking. Between this resource and spending time making sure that lesson matches with the depth I'm wanting, should help me increase my rigor and help students get more out of what I teaching. I have shared this resource below. How do you increase and maintain the rigor for your students with exceptional needs?
Welcome to my all thing special education blog. I'm Ms. Whiteley. I teach in the beautiful Mile High state--Colorado. This is my 13th year teaching in an rural K-6 Elementary school as a Exceptional Needs Teachers. As Exceptional Needs National Board Certified Teacher, I believe that ALL students can learn and be successful. When I'm not in school, I love to take my two Italian Greyhounds hiking 14ers and reaching for the stars. Thanks for Hopping By.
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