Educators in Royal Oak are addressing math learning across all grades with new math programs matched to student learning targets. With steeper expectations from the state, teachers and administrators in the Royal Oak Schools have spent the past year reviewing data and researching best practices in math to retool math classrooms across the district.
At the elementary level, teachers and administrators have identified the math workshop model as the most effective way to improve math achievement and address expectations outlined in the Common Core Standards. In math workshop, students and teachers will approach math learning using problem- solving strategies and engaging in math tasks that are student-centered. When students went home for the summer this past June, over thirty elementary teachers from Royal Oak volunteered to attend a week-long workshop on effective teaching practices using the workshop model. As these teachers welcome students back to their classrooms this fall, workshop strategies will begin to be a part of the daily math lesson. As always, students will continue to practice their skills in basic math facts for addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division.
Last year at , math teachers researched and began implementing Connected Math, a curriculum based on using math in practical situations to find solutions. Students move from practical applications and problem-solving to using procedures and algorithms to represent mathematical solutions. Sixth and seventh grade middle school teachers have been engaged in a year-long series of professional workshops and conversations to build the program. By June 2013, eighth grade math teachers will have completed the same teaching series. Connected Math is closely aligned to the math practices in the Common Core Standards.
Beginning this fall at Royal Oak High School, Algebra teachers will be implementing strategies in the math classroom that promote student dialogue and discourse in a problem-solving setting. Research has shown that math achievement increases in classrooms that encourage student-led questioning.
Algebra teachers will engage in professional learning this year at Oakland Schools in a series of workshops titled "Supporting Engagement and Mathematical Reasoning through Classroom Discourse". Teachers will bring these promising math practices back to their classrooms and colleagues.
“I am excited about these initiatives and the problem solving process utilized to arrive at them,” said Shawn Lewis-Lakin, Superintendent of Schools. “We are using student achievement data to identify areas in which to focus our improvement efforts, and then working to identify and implement research-based strategies for improving student learning.”
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