“It’s About My Students Improving Every Day”

April 28, 2017

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In honor of Teacher Appreciation Week we interviewed, Taylor Way, middle grades math teacher, at Bonaire Middle School. 

Taylor began using our digital math problem-solving activities in her classroom in the fall of 2015. We caught up with Taylor during Milestones testing. 

It’s been six months since you started using Applied Math. What changes have you seen in your classroom over that time? 

I’ve seen huge growth in their math communication skills – verbal and written. 

What has contributed to that growth? 

We use an Applied Math activity to warm up in class several times a week. They are now accustomed to having a variety of options with the canvas to show their work. I’ve seen so much improvement in their written responses. 

I still have some students that aren’t confident writers but are able to draw a model or record their responses. It’s great! I have so many more students eager to display their work on the whiteboard or answer one of the questions in the activity in front of their peers. 

How did your instructional practices change once you were introduced to Applied Math? 

My students worked on their Classworks Individualized Learning Paths in the lab, but I wasn’t using it in my classroom. Once I was trained on Applied Math, I started incorporating it into my lesson plans. The Standards Grid resource helps me choose the right activities for my lesson. 

I have my students work in groups or as a class on Applied Math problems to introduce new concepts. And, I use it as a check to make sure they understand the concept before I move on. I also customize the individualized Classworks activities they work on in the lab. They get practice on skills that translate to a better understanding of what they’re learning in class. 

How do you use Applied Math to support your students with a difficult concept? 

Recently, I had a class struggling with Area of Composite Figures. I was able to find Applied Math activities aligned to a third grade standard to give them additional foundational knowledge. I had my students work through the Expanding and the Investigative (Critique and Precision) problems in class. Then we worked on the grade level problem again. I re-tested them and 15 out of 17 students’ scores improved! 

You will be wrapping up GA Milestones testing soon, congratulations! How did you use Applied Math to help your students prepare for their high stakes test? 

I pulled several Applied Math problems to use as practice. The format of the problems are very similar to GA Milestones. The Depth of Knowledge of the questions and activities that require explaining and defending their answers helped them prepare for what they would encounter with GA Milestones. 

Overall, how do you feel about your first school year using Classworks Applied Math? 

I’m thrilled with the difference it’s made in my classroom. I have one student, let’s just say she wasn’t a fan of math. I assigned her extra skill-based practice in the lab on Classworks individualized activities and then worked with her using Applied Math problems in class. She’s done a 180! It’s exciting to see her confidence grow as her math ability has improved. She raises her hand constantly and loves to share. It’s about my students improving every day and this resource helps them achieve that goal. 

 

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