What is your biggest challenge in deciding what to teach in math and science?
My biggest concern
right now is the continuity from one grade to the next. I want to make
sure that I'm not covering something that has been covered or will be
covered in the upper grades. So I have to work closely with the third
grade and first grade teachers. My instruction always improves when
I have an opportunity to talk with other teachers in my school. I can
see the continuity and the connections that are taking place.
How would you describe your approach to teaching math?
I do a hands-on
approach to math, but the children still need to know the math terms,
and know how to carry and borrow. You have to connect the dots with
children. Children today are being tested. There's a lot of accountability
going on, and I have a responsibility to make sure that a child is ready
to take a test that is coming up. It's unfair of me to present students
who are not ready—they need to know the terminology, the words they
are going to see and hear. So I do a lot of hands-on math, and I use
cuisinaire rods to demonstrate ideas, and the children use their calculators.
I present things in a very concrete way, and then go right up the scale.
We start with concrete activities, move up to symbolic, and then to