Keep On Moving On

Making Math Count in WHPS

The pacing calendar says its time to move on. What if you feel students just don't have it yet?

Pacing guides indicate in most grade levels, Unit 1 has recently ended or is wrapping up very soon. Often teachers say, "How can I move on if my students don't have it?"

First, step back and ask yourself these questions:

  • How many students don't have it and how do I know?
  • What part of the math is posing a challenge?
  • Is this a fluency standard for the year?

Answering these questions may help you prioritize instruction and move on, following the pacing guide, while you address the needs of students that don't have it yet.

Use formative assessments to determine student understanding. If you find that most of the students have most of the concepts in the unit, it is okay to move on. Students who don't have a concept can meet with you in a small group for reteaching. They can continue to practice the concept during centers, workshop, or independent work times. Keep everyone moving forward, recognizing, as with language arts concepts, math concepts build on one another and there is opportunity to continue learning concepts in future work. You wouldn't hold back the whole class because one student is reading at a different level, so keep the math class moving forward as well.

If you identify there is one part of the math that is posing a problem for most of your class, consider if students are missing an underlying concept that is preventing understanding. Reteach the underlying concept and make way for new learning. Use modeling and patterns as you reteach and help students construct understanding. Then, it is okay to move on. Structure opportunities for students to continue to practice the concept independently. Some skills will be applied, practiced, and revisited as students advance through the curriculum.

Many grade levels begin with numeracy units. These strategies directly feed the fluency standard for the year. If students understand the concepts and strategies, but are not fluent yet, it is okay to move on. Remember, fluency goals are to be reached by the end of the school year. Students can build their fluency through games, Number Talks, and activities all year long.

West Hartford teachers are committed professionals that work very hard for their students. Following the pacing guide and exposing students to all grade level standards is vital to students' future success. Through differentiation and continued practice with the few students that may need more time, you can move on and lead all students to success.