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Make Math Moments Academy Forums Community Discussion Introduce Yourself Hello From the Golden State!


  • Hello From the Golden State!

    Posted by George Garza on May 7, 2019 at 3:23 pm

    My name is George Garza, and I’m going to start teaching math in the fall, I’ll have a full load of Freshman Integrated Math 1. I’m in Lindsay, CA, which is a small (by California standards) and poor farming town, my school has a little more than 1000 learners. My teaching prep program spent some time talking about problem based learning, but I left the program with a lot of questions about best execution; what the program did do well was sell me on how PrBL could be superior to traditional direct instruction. I have spent hundreds of hours scouring the web for more information, and that’s how I found Jon and Kyle. I’m here to learn more about the actual execution, and what to expect as I integrate the ideas I’ve picked up. I’m also going to be part of a pilot program, where we will basically have one large class of about 75 learners and 3 learning facilitators. I’ll also be looking to determine how to integrate these ideas into this unique setting.

    I’m Looking foreword to learning and contributing!

    Abigail Newcomb replied 3 years, 10 months ago 2 Members · 3 Replies
  • 3 Replies
  • Abigail Newcomb

    May 13, 2019 at 3:50 pm

    Hi George,

    Congrats on finishing your teaching program! For the last several years I have taught in a school in Chicago that has been experimenting with this type of classroom. We have 60 students and 3 learning facilitators. If you have any questions about what its been like I can do my best to share!

  • George Garza

    May 14, 2019 at 1:53 am

    Wow, thanks Abby, I’ve got so many questions, I’m sure a lot of them are going to depend on how my school implements the program, but here goes:

    1)  In your experience, what are the advantages of that sort of team teaching over a traditional classroom of 30ish kids and 1 teacher?

    2) I’m having trouble visualizing how the classroom runs.  Would it be 1 teacher dealing with like 50 kids and the other teachers pulling focus groups, or is it all math stations, or what?  I know our execution will vary, but how is it your classes typically run?

    3) How hard is it to have a good relationship with all the students?  As far as I can tell, that relationship is critical to academic safety and getting the students moving.  I’m really concerned that if I’ve got 350+ students, I’m just not going to be able to form those relationships that they need to succeed.

    There’s more questions, but I’ll stop there for now.


    Thanks Abby

  • Abigail Newcomb

    May 14, 2019 at 5:48 pm

    I am happy to be a thought partner with you as you learn about how your school implements the model.

    1) I think one of the largest benefits of the larger classroom structure is removing tracking and promoting inclusion. Students at any level are able to challenge themselves and receive support as it’s needed. It’s also impossible to tell who has an IEP and who doesn’t because all student are able to receive the support they need regardless of labels.

    2) The way we would run our classroom is in rotations. We had 90 minute block classes and students would rotate through new material, remediation, and independent time. Two teachers would lead two groups of 20 for 45 on new material while the other teacher led remediation for 22 minutes with one group and then switched to another group half way. All students would get 22 minutes of independent work time each day.

    3) It is definitely more challenging to build relationships with students, but it can be done. My biggest recommendation here is to try to switch which teacher is working with each group of students regularly. That way students get use to each teachers personality and feel connected to each. For this reason, teachers also have to be very in sync regarding expectations so that it doesn’t seem like one teacher is a disciplinarian while the other lets things slide.

    I hope this helps! Let me know if there is any other way I can help!