Although it’s been several years since I’ve had my own classroom, I often think about teaching and what it means to be a successful teacher. Successful teaching is most often defined as the ability to motivate students to learn and successfully acquire the knowledge and skills necessary to be able to function as educated citizens. Which by the way, is very similar to the purpose and intent of the Common Core State Standards in providing a set of expectations that include the skills and knowledge necessary to succeed in college, career, and life upon graduation from high school, no matter where a student lives.
As you and I both know, there is no one single way to achieve this goal because of the diverse backgrounds, skill levels, and knowledge levels of the students in any class. It takes skill and expertise in managing a classroom and planning instruction to meet the needs of a diverse group of students. In fact, research has shown that managing a classroom and planning instruction are two of three biggest challenges new teachers face.
Denice Warden, a Missouri math teacher, has the sole responsibility for teaching about sixty fifth through eighth grade students in her rural school district in the midwest. She knows firsthand how difficult it can be to engage all students within a class of students with varying knowledge and skill levels. But she’s learning how interactive technology can be a great classroom management tool and provide maximum opportunities for all students to learn important math skills and concepts.
So let’s take a look at how Denice used interactive technology with her students last year. She began by first presenting a lesson about a specific concept or skill, followed by an independent practice assignment. Then she would schedule the school’s mobile computer lab in her classroom and assign all students specific online problems aligned to the lesson and independent practice as formative assessments.
Denice found the data reports based upon students’ formative assessments to be a real time saver and very beneficial in identifying individual student’s specific knowledge gaps. The reports helped her quickly determine which students were ready to move on and which students could benefit from additional instruction and interventions.
During the next school year, Denice plans to make some adjustments in how she uses the technology that she feels will enhance instruction and provide more opportunities for her students to learn and understand mathematics. Her plans include using LearnBop as a primary instructional method, similar to that outlined in my whole class instruction blog post, for select objectives such as at the beginning of the year when reviewing fundamental number sense skills and concepts.
In addition, she’ll continue to utilize LearnBop data reports based upon formative assessments as she did this year. She can quickly identify prerequisite concepts and skills that students have yet to master and use the recommended resources and interventions to help students learn these concepts and skills.
She’s found that students really enjoy using LearnBop to help them learn and understand mathematics. So she intends to provide them more opportunities for using it by assigning selected interactive tutorials for them to complete at home so they can spend some of their “free time” reviewing math concepts.
No matter how big or small your school or what part of the world you live and teach in, just like Denice you can use LearnBop to help support you in providing opportunities for all students to learn important mathematics. In addition to the uses previously described, there are a number of different ways you can use LearnBop during summer school or the regular school year as outlined in my flipping instruction and interventions blog posts.
We value your feedback so we invite you to share your questions, comments, and suggestions about LearnBop or ways you’re using LearnBop to support students in learning mathematics. Thanks!