Thursday, December 5, 2013

Seeing change already

Yesterday afternoon the MSAD #6 Math Vertical Team met.  This team is made up of teachers from all levels (K-12) and represent all eight of our school buildings.  We took some time to share around the table the positives and the struggles so far in working to implement the Common Core math standards this year.

Certainly, there were struggles and challenges shared, such as the need to create common assessments, figuring out which standards (of the many!) carry the most leverage for our students, and how to help students that aren't finding success in mastering a certain standard.  More importantly, though, were the things our teachers shared that clearly exhibited we are off to a FANTASTIC start.

  • Teachers said that by unpacking standards (talking through and clarifying) with the students, the kids were learning and using math vocabulary more successfully.  
  • Kids clearly know what they need to learn and why they need to learn it, and what's most powerful is that they can verbalize it.
  • Teachers are seeing that they can tailor their instruction more deliberately.
  • Kindergarten kids are physically tracking their progress toward mastering standards---they can see where they are and where they need to go.  
  • For students that need interventions to catch up, those teachers are able to pinpoint exactly what the specific need is and focus right in.  
  • Teachers know their kids, academically, even better.  Doing progress reports was actually LESS time consuming for one teacher since she had so much clear evidence from her kids right in front of her.
  • Students who meet standards have a more specific path for more challenge---a teacher can move a student within the same topic area but at a higher, deeper level.

This team is more than ready to roll up their sleeves and tackle some of the issues and challenges.  Our next meeting is Wednesday, January 22, 2014.