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  • Josie Pierson

    July 1, 2022 at 10:59 am

    The students who are “good” at math usually enter class with strong number sense, and they are comfortable with computation, both facts and algorithms. They are able to focus and pay attention to examples and usually follow and understand the process being modeled so they can use those examples as a starting point when solving problems independently. They are willing to try problems on their own and take more risks and to apply their own logic and strategies, too.

    The students who are “poor”at math usually enter class lacking number sense, and they struggle with fact fluency and computation. They struggle to see and understand the logical processes in examples through teacher modeling, so they are not able to apply it independently later. They often lose focus because they don’t understand why this matters, and they can’t follow what the teacher is saying, and they assume they will get it wrong anyway, so they give up easily or do not try at all.

    Both groups of students have a lot in common. They all want to feel successful, and they all want to understand both the how and the why of the math we are teaching. They want to feel seen and heard and like they are a respected member of the classroom community. They enjoy working in groups and collaborating with peers on work that they feel is interesting and important. They like to have fun, play games, and put their own creative spin on things. And they are all worried about getting it wrong — not just answers, but everything. They all feel pressure to do well, and that pressure can get in the way of learning at times.