Let’s talk about math in the Lower School! Our students use the Singapore Math: Math in Focus curriculum in concert with other resources to explore math concepts, think deeply about problems and strategies to solve them, and to create opportunities to talk and write about math. It’s a holistic, interdisciplinary approach that pays big dividends.
In our small and mighty division, we have 10 teachers for math including the homeroom teachers, teaching assistants, and our Math Specialist, Kristin Raia. This means that during any math class, there could be one to three teachers working with students. This flexible approach is core to making math fun and accessible—there’s always someone there to provide students with a unique perspective and tailored support as they tackle challenges and dig into new concepts.
For the past two weeks, Ms. Raia and our K–Grade 5 teaching team met regularly with a clear purpose: to teach and learn from each other. Being able to collaborate with colleagues is another benefit of Lincoln’s unique approach, and allows faculty to flex their teaching muscles by working with more than one grade level at a time. They track long-term progress as they get to know students as they grow—this provides critical context about both what students have learned and where they are headed. At Lincoln, teachers carve out the time to share with teachers they don’t typically partner with, providing new perspectives and insights into what everyone is working on.
Teachers love learning too! During a recent session, teachers were trained in an innovative technique centered around interviewing students to get windows into their thinking to assess where we can support building their math intuition. Ms. Raia guided the group by first explaining the “why,” and then allowing for hands-on learning to get real-world practice for this classroom approach. They also discussed the benefits of numberless problems which push students to really understand what information is necessary to be able to solve a problem.
We are in the second year of having Ms. Raia as our Math Specialist, and it’s evident every day how much that dedicated role helps students (and teachers!) learn, grow, and succeed.