Math with Jeannie Wenndorf

6th grade mathematicians are beginning our 4th chapter in the new Upper School math program, College Preparatory Mathematics. Here are some distinctive features of this curriculum, and why this humble 6th grade math teacher loves it:

During class your child will often be working in a small group, which is designed to encourage students to engage in mathematical conversations. Collaboration allows students to develop new ways of thinking about mathematics, increases students’ abilities to communicate with others about math, and helps strengthen their understanding of concepts and ideas as they explain their thinking to others.

Because students are expected to work together to solve problems, the main role of the teacher is to pose the big problems and be a supporting guide during the solution process. Instead of just showing a process and having students mimic it, the teacher will be introducing the concept of the day and then circulating the classroom, listening to team discussions, asking questions of teams, working with the teams as they solve the problems, and initiating a closure activity at the end of each lesson to ensure the mathematics has been summarized.

The homework is titled “Review and Preview”, and consists of five problems on a variety of topics and skills. Known as interleaving, this mixed spaced practice approach for homework leads to higher learning and better long–term retention.

If you’d like to see math class in action, you are always welcome!

Math with Jeannie Wenndorf

In 5th grade math, we have been digging deep into multiplication, learning many strategies for multiplying factors. Students have been stretched to look for connections between the different strategies, and to multiply any size factors with confidence. Parents, do you know why the standard algorithm for multiplication works?? Ask your child to explain it to you!

Last week, we participated in the Noetic Math Contest, which consists of 20 very challenging problems for students to solve independently. The kids had great attitudes, truly enjoying the challenge of doing hard work! They are growing in their ability to persevere when the solution isn’t apparent, justify their thinking to one another, and make mathematical conjectures of their own to test.