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Parents: This Week In Math Class

This Week In Math Class

Recently we looked at a typical workday for 7th grade pre-algebra teacher Ms. Stevenson, let’s look at her week from a curriculum standpoint.

Ms. Stevenson has 50 minutes per class period, or 250 minutes per week with each student. At the behest of her district and school, every day Ms. Stevenson gives a skill building mini-lesson that is supposed to last 10 minutes and deliver the normal lesson in the remaining 40 minutes. These mini lessons are valuable, but normally run more like 15 minutes and reduce regular lesson time to a manic sprint.

One day each week she’s directed to take her students to the new grant-funded computer lab. She inquires about the competing requirements of mini-lesson vs. computer lab and is directed to do both. So on computer lab day she delivers the mini lesson and then takes her students to the lab for the remaining 35 minutes of class.¬†One day each week will be dedicated to a review and quiz of recent material to reinforce key concepts and assess mastery.

So, under the best of circumstances with no half days, assembly periods, or field trips, Ms. Stevenson gets 160 minutes out 250 to deliver her lessons with maximum room for three new topics.

A “good” day in the classroom will look like this:

  • 10 minutes: Deliver mini-lesson
  • 10 minutes: Review homework
  • 20 minutes: Deliver real lesson and do guided practice
  • 10 minutes: Begin classwork and assign homework

Is this a bleak picture? Not really, because teachers have been getting the job done under these circumstances for at least the last decade. And three lessons per week is not bad IF they are truly mastered by the learners. The real question is how can math teachers get creative in order to give them more time to work with students one-on-one or in small groups? How can they expand that last 10 minutes so that the students are really working to learn, rather than copying notes and practicing at home?

Well, many teachers are discovering a simple technique that gives them that time. It’s called a “flipped” classroom, and it will be the focus of tomorrow’s blog post.

See you then!

p.s. Don’t forget to visit our sister site Survivalist HQ!


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