concepts as they teach, then return to their own classes to share their knowledge.
“Initially we needed the extra hands,” Mrs. Anderson said, “but now our students are teaching themselves and others, leaving us free to roam from student to student to check out what they are doing and to give further instruction as needed.”Kindergarten and first grade students under Mrs. Anderson and Mrs. Fielder now are learning essential elements that are normally taught in the third grade. “We’re between the last of the second grade and the first of third grade because we’re doing multiplication and division that we know as ‘skip counting,’” Mrs. Anderson said.
University of Houston–Victoria again will offer “Multi-Modality Math” [aka MOVE IT Math™] as a three credit hour graduate-level course in Port Lavaca July 10-28. Dr. Shoecraft will introduce the course and Mrs. Anderson and Mrs. Schmaltz will co-teach what they refer to as a “continuum rather than as a curriculum.”
For “Multi-Modality Math” to be successful, it must be taught at all grade levels and teachers must reduce their reliance on textbooks which research is showing are inadequate, Mrs. Anderson said.
Random testing of the students has confirmed results and Port O’Connor principal Marilyn Bratcher expects that the TEAMS scores of students who have taken classes employing Math Modality techniques will show a dramatic increase.
“It’s a little frightening because these kids are so advanced, but it’s also exciting because it’s a challenge,” Mrs. Bratcher said, adding that she and all of her teachers were planning to take the Multi-Modality Math course this summer.
Mrs. Bratcher’s enthusiasm is also shared by CCISD Assistant School Superintendent, T.R. Turk who summed up his support with the comment: “Because it works.”
From there, students progress to “Tug of War” to learn positive and negative integers as they move a marker on a linear gameboard with holes drilled for numbers from -10 to +10. At the toss of a die, the students move their marker in turn, forward and backwards across the “zero” line at the middle.
Fraction cakes [pie-sized circles cut into halves, thirds, fourths, ..., sixteenths] soon have the children understanding that 3/8+2/8=5/8, Mrs. Anderson said, adding that the students move to using pencil and paper as soon as they understand the underlying math concept.
“Geoboards” — pegboards marked into square units — teach students to determine the area of a shape bounded by an elastic band as they count whole and fractional units. From this the students soon learn to use algebraic formulas to determine area, she said.
Students also learn to graph coordinates, linear equations and vertical and horizontal bar graphs as they reject the teaching aids to leap to a higher level of understanding: from the concrete to the abstract, Mrs. Anderson said.
“The most exciting thing is that we’re giving these students ‘math eyes,’” Mrs. Anderson said. “That is, they’re learning to look at and to solve problems mathematically. They’re becoming independent thinkers, not memorizers.”
In November, Mrs. Anderson introduced her techniques to Port O’Connor first grade teacher Linda Fielder and they began combining their classes on Tuesdays and Thursdays.
Peer tutors from the classes of Port O’Connor fifth-grade teacher Elizabeth Bell and sixth-grade teacher Sue Schmaltz soon joined them. Peer tutors were students who needed a boost to their self-esteem and the opportunity to review material learned in an earlier grade but also possibly forgotten.
Teamed with the younger students as “math buddies,” the peer tutors quickly learn new math xxx
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