Math Engagement and Support Beyond the Classroom

Taking small group instruction outside the classroom, together with Khan Academy's MAP Recommended Practice to support mastery at HS level.

Photo of Kristine Lloyd
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Thrive Public Schools is a blended learning & project based learning school. This is the second year for our high school and we are working to empower students Learn to Learn, Learn to Do, and Learn to Be. At the high school level, we use the Summit Learning Platform for our blended learning and this incorporates conceptual math learning & application, and procedural math learning. Within the math classrooms, we work on inquiry based questions that allow for building a conceptual understanding of a new math topic, and we also work on real world projects that allow students apply their learning in new ways. The procedural learning for math is expected to be completed during a Studio class that allows students to self-pace through focus area topics, showing mastery through a content assessment.

Last year I noticed that many students were struggling to independently show mastery in these focus areas. Part of this is due to below grade level math skills (based on MAP test results), and part of this is due to not understanding how to use the resources available to drive their own learning. This year, I have started working with students to support these two areas of need using small group instruction during our studio time and using Khan Academy's MAP recommended practice for homework.

For the Small Group Instruction (sample lesson plan here), I pull groups of students once a week to review the resources available for the focus area. The intention is to show students how to utilize the resources to understand the procedural math while also ensuring they are learning the objectives they will be assessed on. The small groups are determined based on students' Math MAP scores, so students with similar scores are grouped together. (During class students are grouped strategically so that there are different math levels in each group.) By reviewing the focus areas and learning how to utilize the resources, students will be able to independently show mastery in the grade level content and will be more likely to drive their own math learning in the future.

In addition, as many students have lower MAP scores, I also want to provide time for them to build their foundational math skills. I am using Khan Academy's MAP Recommended Practice that provides students recommended topics to practice based on their MAP scores. I ask students to work on this for 30 minutes 3-4 times a week outside of school, and also provide time during the small group instruction to work on topics. This practice allows students to drive their learning and show mastery on the foundational skills while also building towards mastery of grade level content.

The hope is that these two strategies, using small group instruction and MAP recommended practice, will allow students to begin to drive their own learning in Math on the Summit Platform, independently show mastery of the main grade level math concepts, and build their foundational math skills. 

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Photo of Gaynor Brown

I love this blended approach. I have recommended Khan Academy for extra help for students in Elementary School. I suspect that it also works well with students on the Autism Spectrum where students can find it difficult to interact with a teacher but are happy to interact with the computer and move at their own pace. It is also helpful to have just another method of explaining something - we never know what is going to be the spark that makes them understand something.