The mathematics program of studies expects students to master their number facts. This allows students to apply their knowledge to different and more complex computations and to be flexible in their thinking.
Recall of number facts is when students commit them to memory and retrieve them when needed. Students who simply recall facts without understanding have not achieved mastery. Similarity, students who understand the facts but are unable to recall them have not reached mastery.
To ensure mastery, Clear Vista will focus on essential learning within the Mathematics Program of Studies. Students will be expected to know their number facts and Teachers will provide multiple opportunities for teaching, re-teaching, intervention and understanding. We will have our students excel at these critical areas.
Teachers from K to Grade 8 have re-looked at the Program of Studies to determine the Essential Outcomes with a focus on the foundational skills of number facts. These foundational skills will be 'interleaved' throughout the school year to increase student learning. An interesting article explaining interleaving can be found here. Essentially, many math classes are taught in an AABBCCDD manner. First we work on Unit AA, then unit BB, etc. This is how the chapters of a math textbook are laid out. Using the idea of interleaving, the classes would be taught ABCDABCD, with multiple concepts being taught, then repeated. This forces students to understand context, increase long-term memory and strengthen retention. In sum, this causes students to learn better. This follows well-established research on the "forgetting curve", an article on this can be found here.
Year plans have been created that focus on the essentials with specific repetition of foundational outcomes from the Program of Studies. Teachers then looked at assessments, learning intentions and guided practice. All of this has been done to ensure student mastery of basic mathematical skills to deepen more complex thinking and allow for the application in further study.
The process was:
- Discuss the Grade Math Focus in grade partners. This is the critical foundation for students to comprehend at the end of the year.
- Develop a Year Plan that is based on the Program of Studies and the identified Essential Outcomes for each grade that incorporates interleaving of the critical foundational knowledge.
- Create Pre- and Post-Assessments for each unit of study on the Year Plan
- In conjunction with the development of assessments, Learning Intentions were created for the students to understand their learning trajectories. These should answer the following student focused questions:
- What will the student be able to do when they finish the lesson?
- What is important for the student to learn to be able to do it?
- How will the student be asked to show that they can do it?
- How will the students know that they know this information?
- Establishment of Guided Practice principles in each classroom that answers the following questions:
- What do I do with those students that ‘get it’?
- What do I do with those students that don’t ‘get it’?