A little about ourselves and mathematics instruction
Glen Ellyn School District 41 is known for high academic achievement, a strong sense of community, and active family involvement. We value what we have in common, learn from our differences, and honor diversity in language, culture, and ability. We serve about 3,600 children from Pre-Kindergarten through eighth grade in four elementary schools and one junior high.
Key Shifts in Mathematics According to the Common Core State Standards for Mathematics, the skills and knowledge students will need to succeed in college, career, and life have been identified and are reflected in the standards. There are three key shifts identied in mathematics:
Greater focus on fewer topics
Rather than attempting to teach many topics in a "mile-wide, inch deep curriculum", the standards narrow and deepen the amount of time and energy spent on specific skills. This focus will help students build a strong foundational understanding of concepts as well as the ability to apply the math they know to solve problems inside and outside the classroom.
Coherence: Linking topics and thinking across grade levels
Mathematics is not a list of disconnected topics, tricks, and mnemonics; it is a coherent body of knowledge made up of interconnected concepts. The standards are designed around the coherent progressions from grade to grade. Learning is carefully connected across grades so that students can build new understanding onto foundations built in previous years.
Rigor: Pursue conceptual understanding, procedural skills and fluency, and application with equal intensity
Rigor refers to deep, authentic command of mathematical concets, not making math harder or introducing topics at earlier grades. Teachers will need to pursue conceptual understanding, procedural skills and fluency, and application to help students meet the standards.
Elements of a Math Workshop Model The math workshop can be structured in a variety of ways, but it is built on the cornerstones of best practices in math instruction:
Meeting the needs of our students with flexible grouping
Formative assessments to help plan for small group instruction
Over the past decade, the workshop model has been shown to be one of the most effective differentiated instructional models. District 41 has used the workshop model in literacy since 2007. Using workshop in all content areas ensures that each student is highly engaged, the learning is differentiated, and students are working on "just right" materials as well as materials that will stretch their thinking. Workshop is a rigorous yet affirming educational model that can be outlined as follows:
Mini-lessons are used to model skills or strategies.
Students practice the skill or strategy together with the teacher.
Students break into groups based on similar needs; the teacher works with each group in guided instruction.
Students work independently or collaboratively to develop the skill or strategy, share their work with the class, and engage in class-wide discussion.
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Visit the district website at www.d41.org for more information.