Committee Enthusiastic about New Elementary Math Program
Committee members involved in the selection of a new elementary math program for Manchester Elementary Schools were clearly enthusiastic about their choice of 'Ready Classroom Mathematics' when they presented to the Board of Education at the May 2, 2019 special meeting.
Elementary Curriculum Supervisor, Michelle Nichol, said the committee looked at seven highly rated programs before deciding on Ready Classroom, which was by far their first choice. She said the program focuses on real world authentic connections, mathematical practices, problem solving, discourse and collaboration. Instruction is highly personalized to meet the needs of students at all levels. It also includes a robust diagnostic component that provides teachers with instantaneous progress monitoring to pinpoint each student's needs down to the sub-skill level.
Nichol said the program teaches students to see math as meaningful to their life, helps them visually make connections to concepts, and to look at different ways to solve a problem and then use the strategy that works for them and makes sense to them.
"We want to teach our students to become mathematical thinkers." said Nichol. "Through student discourse, problem solving, and fluency practice we can build mastery of skills in our students."
Ready Classroom lessons use a Try It-Discuss It-Connect It Routine. Try It - make sense of the problem, then solve and support your thinking. Discuss it - share your thinking with a partner and compare strategies. Connect it - make connections and reflect on what you have learned, then apply your thinking to new problems. Throughout lesson activities, students work as a whole group, in small groups, and independently using a variety of print, online and hands-on materials.
Basic Skills and Special Education Teacher, Valerie Schaefer discussed that teachers in grades 2-5 have been using the iReady Diagnostic assessment this school year for Math. Teachers have used the tools within the student reports and the trial resources in Ready Classroom Teacher Toolbox to personalize instruction. She explained that by using these resources, teachers have seen a tremendous improvement in student progress.
The teachers on the committee said they loved how user friendly the program components were to both teachers and students.
Third grade teacher Robyn Palmer said the program is the perfect balance of print and online materials. She also said it is very easy for teachers to use. Another component that the committee felt set this program apart from the others was the personalized online instruction that provides students with individualized learning modules that can be used at both school and home. Plus, she said, the program implementation includes various methods of professional development for our teachers, in addition to the support resources embedded within the program.
Special Education Teacher Laura Weaver said since using trial resources within Ready Classroom and the strategies presented, she has never seen her students have math discussions like they do now.
Fifth grade teacher Shari Buhnerkemper remarked, "I can't even begin to tell you the incredible amount of change I have seen in my students after trying out the strategies and program materials." Buhnerkemper went on to explain that the program teaches a solid foundation for Math concepts across grade levels.
Nichol said the program will be implemented in the fall for grades 2-5, with grades K and 1 diving deeper into the program to determine its use for them for the following school year. Teachers will receive an initial professional development training before the school year comes to a close, and will be supported throughout next school year. "All of our classroom instruction supports best practices in math instruction, and it was evident from the committee review that our teachers are enthusiastic about Ready Classroom Mathematics," said Nichol.