- Sponsorship -

Math intervention aims to reach every student

Morning Math focuses intensively on building strong foundation

First graders considered: six turtles joined others in the sand. Ten are now in the sand. How many were there at first? 

Brendan Richmond realized he could take six turtles away from the group to find out how many were originally there. He did so using counters. “I like that,” said teacher Jamie Johnson who led the group with help from a paraprofessional. “Can I show the other students how you did this?”

First grader Grace Bultema works on a story problem

She walked through the math strategy with three other students in the small group intervention session for students to revisit kindergarten standards. “You can reverse an addition problem to turn it into a subtraction problem,” she said.

Students busied themselves on the floor with markers, white boards and counters. They were relearning concepts so they can then move forward, filling in gaps from the math they didn’t quite master in kindergarten. 

The new Morning Math at Brown Elementary aims to focus on helping students build and maintain a strong foundation of math skills so they get to grade level and stretch beyond. The program involves five paraprofessionals, an academic support interventionist and teachers — all  working together to make sure every child is learning the math they need to.

 “They have extra time to go back and do things we’ve already gone past that they missed. It’s been very helpful,” said Johnson. “It’s been great for them to have that small group time.”

Brendan Richmond uses subtraction to figure out a math problem

A Focus on All Students

Here’s the big picture: Last school year, 90 percent of fourth-graders at Brown Elementary were advanced or proficient on the M-STEP. Of those, 69.1 percent were advanced. Despite achieving that level of success,  Principal Jack Gitler and staff still recognized a need.

“We had no good system for third graders who didn’t learn what they should in second grade,” Gitler said, using that grade level as an example. “We could say, ‘Well we are here; there’s nothing wrong with what we are doing.’ But maybe we can connect with a student on a personal level so they feel better about school. You just don’t want any student to be left behind. There’s that opportunity to give that extra support and meet with a small group, so why not give them that chance?”

Teachers meet weekly to determine which students need the support based on data from their classroom curriculum and MAP testing, so different students may be in groups weekly, depending on what standards they have met.

Kindergartners work on foundational math like counting, number recognition and shapes.

In the first grade group, Violet Cook said she likes learning to add things up. “I like plusses because you get to solve them.”

Older students often focus on deeper-level math, story problems involving fractions and geometry. “It’s having students really think through and revisit some of those areas and find success,” Gitler said.

- Sponsorship -
Erin Albanese
Erin Albanese
Erin Albanese has worked as a journalist in the Grand Rapids area since 2000. A graduate of Central Michigan University, she has written for The Grand Rapids Press, Advance Newspapers and On-the-Town Magazine. She has been covering the many exciting facets of K-12 public education for School News Network since 2013. Read Erin's full bio or email Erin.

LATEST ARTICLES

District welcomes new administrators, ready to ‘lead through uncharted waters’

New administrators share their thoughts on starting their posts during a pandemic...

Teacher and coach applies lessons in classroom and on field

New Kelloggsville head football coach Brandon Branch also teaches science and math at the high school and looks to bring academics and athletics together whenever he can...

Two high schools, newly renovated, await return of students

Two major renovation projects at Ottawa Hills and Union high schools are part of a 30-year, $175 million school improvement bond approved November 2015 with the majority, $155 million, earmarked for construction...

Avid reader, Petoskey-stone hunter, lover of great outdoors

Melanie Hoeksema is the new Ada Elementary principal. SNN gets to know her in this edition of Meet Your Principal...

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Related Articles

Districts ponder how to keep students learning, engaged

Teachers are challenged to keep their style of instruction intact with students who are socially distanced and, often, not in the building at all...

Students return to classrooms for first time since March

'It’s a little different, and a little strange. ... but it seems like it’s going to be fine'...

Marching on

The plan is to continue regular rehearsals and to host a number of community events, to be determined...
- Sponsorship -

HOW'S SCHOOL TODAY?

Engagement: The Most Important Measure of Student Success

Polls find that students’ engagement in their school work declines as they ascend the grades. Tests that don’t relate to their real-life experiences exacerbate the problem...

RADEMACHER & FRIENDS

Food ‘angels’ support hungry kids through pandemic

They work all across Kent County, guardian angels with peanut butter on their hands and crumbs on their shirtsleeves...
- Sponsorship -

MEDIA PARTNERS

Maranda Where You LiveWGVU

SUSTAINING SPONSORS