Subject: Mathodology

Welcome to Coaches Corner

Coaches Corner with Amy Belik mathodology

Meet Amy Belik-Math Instructional Coach FXW School- Chicago

Coaching Vision

I coach to empower both teachers and students to see math as an open, visual subject that is full of connections. I coach teachers and leaders to teach in a way that empowers learning to take an active role in making sense of math and take ownership of their own learning. Through self-reflection and collaboration, we can all improve in our craft. I coach people to find their own power and to empower others so that we can transform FXW, our community, and our world. Over the next few months, we will follow Amy as she sets goals with teachers and works to support each teacher to meet their goals. What goals do you have for 2020?

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Measurement & Math

As we work through our measurement chapter, students are learning to be more precise by watching out for gaps and not overlapping. These are skills that will sharpen with time and exposure. Allowing students to work together to tackle how they will measure and what they will measure with, also provides invaluable skills.

When students are given the opportunity to work together on tasks, they are forced to use mathematical language and reasoning skills to explain their thinking with their partner/group.

In the pictures below students were placed in groups to measure different paths. They had to agree as a group which tool they would use (paper clips, tiles, straws, string or paint stirrers). As they traveled from path to path, their measurements became more precise because they collaborated and discussed their strategies for measuring. The lesson to be learned here is that with time, collaboration and the teacher stepping to the side, students can figure out everything we want them to. Know what the key ideas allow the learning to happen!

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We are Community!

Why Should We Work So Hard to Build Community?

Class Math Agreements and Community and Mathodology

Building community beginning on the first days helps to create new relationships and strong bonds that will last throughout the year. Creating a shared vision of the expectations, developing a common understanding of classroom limits, and fostering a love of learning are only a few of the characteristics you might have in mind as desired outcomes. Ultimately, achieving mutual respect and a spirit of collaboration creates an ideal working environment for the classroom.

When community exists, each child feels valued. A sense of shared purpose unites the group and working together to accomplish goals becomes a priority. Our goals are BIG and require the effort of all of our members. The uniqueness that each student provides as a member of the community must be valued and each individual strength will make the community stronger and better. As children develop a sense of duty to the community, self-discipline is likely to emerge more naturally and from the child’s (intrinsic) motivation rather than from external or reward-based methods (extrinsic).

Early in the year, creating purpose in the child’s movement and activity is desired and we balance the freedoms offered within the environment, the needs of the young child to move, and the constraints of the environment. Providing structures and routines will help to create order as well as ensure a safe environment for your children. A strong sense of community is one of the most effective ways to teach how to use individual freedoms.

How do we build community?

We play games and have fun together. We share lunch and work with each other, mixing-up our groups with an emphasis on getting to know new friends. We interview and find out more about each other by sharing experiences, stories, traditions, and the accomplishments we are proud to have achieved. We make time to appreciate each other and learn how to recognize others, as well as ourselves. 

In our community, we learn to problem solve, developing the skills necessary to take care of ourselves and others. When solutions are found and conflicts resolved with little or no direction or intervention by an adult, students feel great pride! Creating a class agreed-upon list of rights and responsibilities with the students allows them to partner in holding others accountable and enforcing your shared vision of community.

Grace and courtesy work also play a role in learning how to act in a community. A firm handshake and smile in the morning set a respectful tone for the day. Allowing students to have the role of a “class greeter” is a great way to have students serve in a leadership role as they create personal and inviting welcomes to the community. Practicing how to greet visitors with a cup of tea and a special chair or preparing a class snack are other ways students can assume responsibility. Modeling ways to ask for help, challenge other student’s ideas and even how to say “no thank you” respectfully are tools your students will need to have in order to work effectively in their community.

A natural extension of building community within our classrooms is to reach outward. The work that starts within our classroom might find opportunities in other areas within the school. Participating in the work of the larger community helps the students feel proud and invested.  Students experience, on a small scale but in a real way, that they can create change. We can act individually or as a group – and we DO make a difference! 

Specific Ideas to try at the beginning of the year might include:

  • Toss a ball in a group to help learn names
  • Learn a favorite food of a new friend
  • Create a scavenger hunt in the room to learn a new environment
  • Share with a friend something you like about yourself
  • Work together to line up without talking
  • Offer lessons on classroom jobs
  • Provide lessons and model grace and courtesy
  • Make a list of “Classroom Rights and Responsibilities” WITH your students and have them initial or sign
  • Have a procedure or place in the classroom for resolving conflicts –create a “Peace Table” or “Peace Corner”

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Getting Ready for Developing Roots

Developing Roots and Mathodology

We love seeing and hearing how you are getting ready for the start of the school year. What steps are you taking to be ready?

This was shared with us from a teacher in Georgia getting her kindergarten classroom ready for the start of Developing Roots!

“Organized the whole closet by chapters! So excited to get in front of it this year!!”- Melissa

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Introduction to Lesson Study


Are you interested in deepening your practice? Our lesson study will focus on the process of delivering effective mathematics lessons with a focus on content and delivery. Teachers work as a member of a professional development community by planning, delivering, reflecting and refining lessons for grades 1- 5. This collaborative model will establish a community that desires to learn from each other and grow under the mentorship of Dr. Yeap Ban Har & Sarah Schaefer, M.Ed.

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The Lovett School – Atlanta, GA

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Three- Dimensions to Differentiating Mathematics


Mathodology presents Three-Dimensions to Differentiating Mathematics Lessons

This two-day workshop focuses on how to break down math instruction during and after the lesson to support both struggling and advanced learners. Developing effective instructional strategies that allow teachers to fill in gaps and enrich thinking is key!

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Essential Ideas in Mathematics


New to the CPA approach, three-part lesson structure and bar modeling? Join Mathodology this summer to understand these methods and how effectively implementing them can increase student learning!

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Sparking Student Creativity in Mathematics


Join Sarah and Ban Har for this three-day institute in sunny Florida! This course will challenge teachers to reflect on current practices and evaluate what effect instructional decisions have on student learning.

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think!Mathematics Institute


Be inspired and equipped with effective instructional strategies to meet various student needs within the classroom. Led by Dr Yeap Ban Har and Sarah Schaefer, this three-day course will provide insights into creating environments that promote deep learning where students and teachers are excited to reason, communicate, and think mathematically.

Limited to 70 participants only.

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Developing Mathematical Roots (K +)


A new, exciting and innovative approach to teaching mathematics in the Kindergarten and Pre-Kindergarten years!

Expect to learn the whys and the hows behind the education of mathematics during the foundational years. By the end of these two days, you’ll be inspired and excited to apply your new ideas and tools, making mathematics in your classroom come alive for your students.

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