“Over and over, researchers have failed to find any substantive evidence for the notion of learning styles, to the point where it’s been designated a “neuromyth” by some education and psychology experts” (Singal, 2015).
Differentiation is beneficial for all learners – no need to box students in according to “Learning Style.”
Do you have students who did not pass their 5th or 8th grade STAAR Math assessment and will be attending summer school? What researched-based interventions will you be employing with these students to help fill in the gaps in their mathematical understanding while at the same time challenging them to reach new levels?
In the IES Practice Guide, Assisting Students Struggling with Mathematics: Response to Intervention (RtI) for Elementary and Middle Schools recommendation number six states, “Intervention at all grade levels should devote about 10 minutes in each session to building fluent retrieval of basic arithmetic facts” (April 2009). So how do we address this important component of math intervention? The answer is through strategy-based instruction for basic math facts.
Teaching strategies to recall basic facts builds flexible thinking in students. Students with flexible thinking are able to see a number in several forms and use the knowledge and skills they already possess to find a solution. Strategies encourage a deeper understanding of numbers and their relationships.
Factastic Math Strategy System is designed to help students who struggle with mathematics build fact fluency. The system follows the model of explicit and systematic instruction to help students master the basic math facts.
Educators may be interested in the recent report from the National Center for Learning Disabilities: 2014 State of Learning Disabilities. The report highlights trends and information about Learning Disabilities from a national perspective.
We all use strategies throughout our day to remember the variety of facts and ideas we need to retain. Strategy use forms a critical part of our learning experience. Strategies help us organize information into patterns and encourage purposeful learning. Our brains are selective. Brains tend to remember information that forms a memorable pattern.
It is valuable for us, as teachers, therapists, and parents, to have a basic understanding of how we remember information so we better appreciate the need for strategies. As we understand the purpose, we become better equipped to help our students understand and use strategies.
In the field of education we are in a constant debate and struggle on how to best educate the children in our schools. Terms and teaching philosophies like differentiation, brain-based instruction, response to intervention, constructivism, direct teaching, active learning, the Socratic method, and many, many, many more are used on campuses every single day in the effort to help students learn the content. I have found the video below to be a truly inspirational one, because the lessons learned by the children in the video are devoid of a standard curriculum or program. The kids have been entrusted to use power tools, nails, 2 x 4s and other unimaginable materials that would never be allowed into our schools.
What grabbed my attention about the Tinkering School is that the kids begin with an idea, a vision, a concept which will develop to fruition through hard work, trial and error, practice and constant revision. Not to be overlooked, in my opinion, one of the most important skills we can teach students, is what to do when something fails. The goal of every classroom is to have successful students, but we tend to forget that the process of failure is a critical component of success. The best thought out plans don’t tend to work the way we envisioned them. Which causes us to either revise our ideas or even abandon an idea and to start from the beginning. In the real world, where innovation is constantly being pushed to the edge, failure and innovation work together hand in hand. Thomas A. Edison realized failure was something we couldn’t live without, “Many of life’s failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up.”
The Tinkering School forces students to think, revise, create, test, and sometimes start all over again. Many classrooms use Bloom’s Taxonomy to stress the importance of varying the level of questioning to push students to another level of thinking. If you haven’t checked out Bloom’s lately, the newly revised version of Bloom’s no longer ends with Evaluation. Evaluation and Synthesis have switched places at the top of the pyramid, the nouns are now verbs, and Creating sits at the top. From visiting the Tinkering School’s website and viewing Tulley’s presentation I have a pretty good feeling that the students are exposed to the full level of Bloom’s without the overt explicitness as we see, in good faith, sometimes posted in our classrooms. How often will your students get the chance to tinker today?