Teaching Using Research-Based Strategies

Studies show that an individual teacher can have a powerful effect on student achievement. Research was conducted by Mid-continent Research for Education and Learning (McREL). One of the primary goals of the study was “to identify those instructional strategies that have a high probability of enhancing student achievement for all students in all subject areas”. Robert Marzano, Debra Pickering and Jane Pollock present the findings of this research and the nine researched-based strategies that were outlined, in their book Classroom Instruction that Works.

Dr. Larson and Dr. Boswell studied the research done by McRel and others and have included in the Big Ideas Math series instructional techniques that are backed by research. That is not enough, though. School districts, schools, and teachers need a desire to change the way they teach and to make a firm commitment to see that change happen.
Over the next several months we will look at individual strategies and see how they are being used in classrooms across the county.

Do you like homework?

Homework is defined as tasks assigned to students to be completed outside of class. It is usually an extension or elaboration of classroom work. There are three types of homework: practice, preparation, and extension.

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Duluth School Board OKs new K-8 math curriculum

A new K-8 math curriculum approved Tuesday by the Duluth School Board is expected to raise poor math scores in the district.
Original Article By: Jana Hollingsworth, Duluth News Tribune

A new K-8 math curriculum approved Tuesday by the Duluth School Board is expected to raise poor math scores in the district.

The K-12 Math Curriculum Review Committee worked for three years to figure out what changes should be made, and picked new materials for those grades for an estimated $700,000.

The group presented its ideas to board members at last week’s education committee meeting.

With the new curriculum, “I believe our math scores are going to go up, and not just that,” said math teacher Patti Bambenek, head of the committee. “Kids will be enjoying math more.”

The money to pay for the books – Math Expressions for K-5 and Big Ideas Math for grades 6-8 – was taken from money budgeted for technology improvements within the district, Superintendent Keith Dixon said.

A learning disconnect existed for students moving from elementary to middle school and middle school to high school, Bambenek said, with not enough knowledge between teachers on what was being taught at each level.

The group struggled with disagreements on how to teach math, but agreed that a basic foundation of students knowing how to do the work and professional development of staff were important. The new curriculum will include those things, and has been used by some classrooms already to test its worth.

Teachers who’ve used the books said last week students were learning the “how-to” of math and were further along than they’d been in past years.

Board member Ann Wasson said she hoped the new books would be easy for parents to understand, but she trusted the teachers’ studies.

“I hope in the very near future we don’t have two-hour blocks of math [teaching], that we won’t need it,” she said.

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Big Ideas Math® Wins 2010 Texty Award

The newly released and innovative middle school math series, Big Ideas Math®, has been named the recipient of the 2010 Texty Award in the K-12 Mathematics category by the Text and Academic Authors Association. The Textbook Excellence Award (Texty) was created in 1992 to recognize excellence in newly copyrighted textbooks.

Big Ideas Math® is a research based program developed around and written for a Focal Points Curriculum. It focuses on student learning through the incorporation of a Balanced Program of Discovery and Direct Instruction. Designed around the “Big Ideas” of mathematics as outlined by the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM), the program achieves the outcome of learning by a focus on making learning more effective and efficient.

This dynamic and innovative approach to learning is preeminently responsive to the needs of today’s mathematics classrooms. Of the many textbooks reviewed by the Florida State Board of Education, the Big Ideas Math® series was the only middle school math program to receive a perfect score in the committee vote on math textbooks to be included on the State of Florida’s List of Approved Adoption Materials. Other accolades from the Board included the observation that “In our voting, no other program received the highest possible vote on content from each committee member.” and “You hit a home run. You should be proud of what you did; it is a fabulous program.”

Big Ideas Learning is a professional development and publishing company founded by Dr. Ron Larson and located in Erie, Pennsylvania. It is dedicated to providing 21st century teaching and learning in the area of mathematics. Big Ideas Learning works with schools across the country as they implement world-class standards for mathematics.