Thursday, June 13, 2013

Singapore Math at The Blake School, Hopkins MN

This week I visit The Blake School which was established in 1900.

History of Singapore Math slides are available here.

Grade 3 Lesson was on subtraction with multiple regrouping. That was a basic skill lesson. Grade 4 Lesson was on looking for a pattern while calculating areas of polygons. That was a drill-and-practice lesson. Both are taught in a problem-solving approach.

- Lesson Structure, Three-Part Lesson Format, Anchor Task
- Planning Lesson - identifying essential understanding for lessons and learning to assess (runway-taking off-cruising analogy)
- Problem-Solving Approach
- Constructivism and other theories CPA Approach
- Visualization, Number Sense and Patterns

Photographs are available on my Facebook.

In the three-part lesson format, the lesson begins with the presentation of an anchor task (in Math in Focus it is the task in the Learn box; in Primary Mathematics, it is the un-numbered task; in My Pals Are Here! Maths, it is the one solved completely).

Features of Anchor Task
(1) Less is More - students are not solving a lot of problems. They are focused on only one (or a small number of related tasks). Student engagement with one task for an extended period of time allows ample learning opportunities for all (struggling learners get the time they need while advanced learners are made to go deeper and presented from going faster).
(2) Multiple Strategies - hopefully the book you use suggest multiple strategies. In any case, an essential step in planning lesson is to anticipate students' responses. Try to provide strategies that can support struggling students (more literal methods) and also challenge able students (more abstract, elegant(?) methods).
(3) Key Question - anchor task allows students to go back to key question again and again ... in the Grade 2 fraction lesson the key question is Are the parts equal? How can you tell?. In the Earlybird lesson, it was Are the things the same? Why do you say so?. In the Grade 4 open lesson, it was What's the area? Are you sure? Do you see a pattern?

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