When I first started teaching fifth grade math, getting to know the standards was where I spent most of my time. Doing the math myself, learning different models to support students, getting to know where students are going and where they’ve been.
It was an investment of my time that has paid off because it made me a better teacher. So let’s get started…here’s how knowing your standards can help you as a teacher:
I use math tasks in my class on a weekly basis. Since I truly know the standards I’m able to revise and supplement the tasks as needed. This is so important because I know it is a valuable use of our time in the classroom, and I will be able to truly see the learning of my students.
Using models in the classroom is SO IMPORTANT for supporting student learning. You are able to make informed decisions on the models you put in front of students when you know the standards.
Oof, this one is so important. When you know the math and truly understand where students have been and where they need to go you are able to ask them the right questions to get them there! It’s so important as math teachers to ask questions that get students thinking without giving them too much or jumping in to save them. It truly is an art! Knowing your standards help you do just this!
Asking the right questions and facilitating meaningful discussions go hand in hand. When you have a clear understanding of the standards you not only able to ask the right questions but also use student responses strategically! This makes for great discussions and learning!
When you know the math you able to anticipate misconceptions and misunderstandings that students may have! When you are able to anticipate them you can plan for this and address them in a more productive way.
So now what?
- Read books, collaborate, learn from others, ask questions to help you get to know your standards
- Plan for these things! Pick tasks that address the standards, think about what models students will be using, what questions you’ll ask, and anticipate what misconceptions students will have
- Teach and reflect! The more you teach them the better you’ll know them BUT make sure you reflect so you know how to do it better next time!