Archive for November, 2010

The Bang for your Buck Philosophy

We’ve got some catching up to do.

Some teachers do this by stubbornly sticking to below grade level material before moving on. They say things like, “Students have to know the basics.” This is true. But there are different levels of understanding the basics. Teaching fifth graders how to add is different than teaching third graders how to add. Fifth graders can understand deeper concepts, and they can connect the concepts to other topics that are on grade level. This is not only a developmentally appropriate way to teach, but it is a way to get the most “bang for your buck” out of every lesson.

Which brings me to the Bang for your Buck philosophy: do justice to mathematics as a rich, complex subject that students can make sense of AND cover many years of math in a single year by…

Drum roll, please.

…making mathematically significant connections between different concepts. Then you get two topics for the price of one!

Here are some lesson pairings that give you a lot of bang for your buck:

– multi-digit addition and perimeter
– multi-digit multiplication and area
– addition/subtraction fact families and finding missing angles on a line, triangle, quadrilateral, etc.
– division and mean
– fractions and area of a triangle
– fractions, decimals, percents and probability
properties of 3D figures and functions
– positive and negative integers on a number line and coordinates
– odd and even numbers and division

My long term plan is purposely designed to group concepts that are mutually reinforcing. I wrote it in collaboration with another teacher, and I am so happy to share it.

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November 5, 2010 at 2:21 am 1 comment


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