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Chelsea Colatriano

January 1

Christine Harris, Lower School Dean and First Grade Teacher

We all remember some aspect of our own schooling, especially when it comes to recalling days spent in that well-loved or awfully dreaded - MATH CLASS! Let's face it, some of us loved learning the basic facts, the algorithms, solving algebraic equations, plotting geometric forms, experiments in physics class, and of course, solving those word problems, while some of us did not. At the time, we may have even wondered why we had to learn those things that seemed so unimportant.

Here at Doane Academy, we continue to teach math at every level, from age three to grade twelve students. We consider it an important piece to the educational puzzle for learning, especially for a college preparatory school. Some of the questions as educators we ask ourselves are: "How will the students best learn math?", "What concepts and skills should they learn to build a greater and deeper understanding in order to delve into higher math levels?" "How do our students' math skills at Doane Academy prepare them for college and beyond?"

In an effort to improve our students' math understanding, problem solving skills and basic abilities in the Lower School and after examining current math curriculums, we reviewed reports from the Trends in International Math and Science Study (TIMSS) – an organization that measures international trends in student math and science achievement over four-year cycles. Additionally we researched reports from the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM). As a result of this review, we now use "Math in Focus" Singapore Math by Marshall Cavendish in the first through fourth grade classrooms. This program consistently employs a concrete-pictorial-abstract progression. The program will continue into our fifth grade class in the next school year. "Math in Focus" is correlated to the Common Core State Standards and is aligned to the Singapore Mathematics Framework.

Additionally, we use an online digital math computer application entitled, "Math Buddies". "Math Buddies", also created by Marshall Cavendish, to complement "Math in Focus", is often used in the classroom by teachers to introduce new lessons, by the children in class to support already learned concepts, and as homework for a means of reinforcement.

Why did we do this? Simply stated, we wanted to give our students the ability to become strategic mathematical problem solvers and persevere in solving problems! Of course, there is more than just solving problems. Math is developing a strong number sense. Math is learning basic math facts – addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division. Math is place value. Math is fractions. Math is money. Math is time. Math is measurement. Math is geometry. Math is algebra. You name it, math is involved in that topic, too.

As our Doane Academy students learn, we want them to not only develop positive attitudes, but to demonstrate a strong understanding and ability to use math skills in a systematic method in order to solve real-world problems - which apply to not only mathematics but to many of the skills necessary for becoming strong, ethical leaders.

In order to be able to teach these important math concepts in the most effective manner to our students, faculty members continue to take opportunities to sharpen their teaching skills by attending professional development courses throughout the school year.

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