Nuts & Bolts: Planning for Math with Intermediate Students

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Planning for Math

by Carmi Scheller

In May of 1997 Carmi Scheller posted on a multiage listserve a description of how the intermediate level classes in her school create the math curriculum. It is a good example of one way to plan for math instruction in a multiage setting. With her permission I have reposted it here.

The way that we approach math instruction at our intermediate level (three-4/5 MA, one 4, and one 5) uses a combination of materials and methods. The first thing we do is look at the scope and sequence for math content and then decide the order of topics based on our integrated "big picture" plan for the year. From this we have an outline of content areas and approximate time of year for the unit.

As we prepare for a unit we pull all the materials that we can find to support instruction of that particular set of concepts. We use Marlyn Burns, Investigations, our district text books, Math A Way of Thinking, and various other materials. We also create a pretest that begins with introductory level questions and progressively moves toward questions that show an understanding of computation and ability to express in writing the processes involved. From the pretest we are able to create groups for the unit. Sometimes we each teach a different group sometimes we each keep our various groups and use centers and other methods to work with each group at different times. The groups change each time we start a new unit. In some units there is no need for grouping, so ideas are presented to the class as a whole then breakouts in small groups to work on projects. We also move children as the instruction develops based on their needs.

We are still working on this process and bring in new materials and methods as we find them. Our basic premise is to take from any program that which works to explain the world of math to children and helps them to develop a love (or at least a like) for math.

Carmi Scheller

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