Shift Happens

Instructional Shifts that Raise Student Achievement

Steve Leinwand at CMC-North Ignite

Incorporate ongoing cummulative review into every day's lesson

- A deliberate and carefully planned reliance on ongoing, cumulative review of key skills.
- Use cumulative review to keep skills and understanding fresh and to make connections.
- Classes should not waste time and start with substantive math to clarify understanding.
- Brief review give an opportunity to re-teach when necessary.

Adapt what we know works in our reading programs and apply it to math instruction

- All numeric and 1 word answers are greeted with a request for clarification.
- Only reasonable homework is given and then checked for understanding & explanation, not just for right answers.
- Probing for ways that answers are found.

Use multiple representations of mathematical entities

- Frequent use of pictorial representations to help students visualize the math.
- Frequent use of the number line and bar models to represent numbers & word problems.
- Frequent opportunities for students to draw or show and then describe what is drawn.

Create Language-Rich classroom routines

- Ongoing emphasis on the use and meaning of mathematical terms along with their connections to the real-world.
- Student and teacher explanations that use precise mathematical terms and notation.
- World walls!!!!

Take every opportunity to build NUMBER SENSE!!!

- An unrelenting focus on estimation and justifying estimates to computations & solutions.
- An unrelenting focus on a mature sense of place value.
- Frequent discussion on how to "out smart" the problem using number sense.
- Put the calculator aside and estimate or compute mentally when appropriate.

Build from graphs, charts, and tables

- An abundance of problems drawn from the data presented in tables, charts, and graphs.
- Opportunities for students to make conjectures and drawn conclusions from data presented in tables, charts, and graphs.
- Frequent conversion, with and without technology, of data in tables and charts into various types of graphs with discussions of their advantages, disadvantages, and appropriateness.

Tie math to such questions as How big? How much? How to increase the natural use of measurement throughout the curriculum

- Ask students explicitly, How big? How much? How far? How many?
- Measurement is an ongoing part of daily instruction and the entry point for Rich Tasks.
- Students are frequently asked to find and estimate measures.
- Students are encouraged to use referents, such as comparing sizes of different objects.

Embed the mathematics in realistic problems and real-world context

- Embed of mathematical skills and concepts in real-world situations & contexts.
- Use "So, what questions arise from these data or this situation."
- Problems that emerge from teacher asking, "When and where do normal human beings encounter the mathematics I need to teach?"

Make "Why?" "How do you know?" and "Can you explain?" classroom mantras.

- Every student answer is responded to with a request for justification.
- Both teacher and students consistently and frequently use "Why?" "Can you explain that?" "How do you know?"
- Dismissive responses such as "No," "Wrong," "Not quite," and their equivalents should be absent from the classroom.