Creating Mathematicians

Feb 24th, 2017

Over the last two years, as we carry out our strategic plan and implement the IB framework and inquiry throughout our school, we have had the opportunity to review and reflect on what is working at Annunciation and also identify opportunities for growth. This process led us to look at our math curriculum to see how we can incorporate the IB approach in our math program, too. After much research and reflection, the staff identified resources that would provide student-centered approach to math and better prepare students for middle school and high school math.

Starting with the elementary program, math teachers and staff selected the Math Expressions for use in kindergarten through 5th grade. This past summer, teachers received training on the new math curriculum. Fitting with the IB model, both teachers in the grade level are teaching math. This allows math concepts to be integrated across all the subjects during the school day. In order to support this development, teachers have been meeting every other week after school to learn the new program.

Our aim is to build students who are truly mathematicians right from the start. Math Expressions combines elements of standards-based instruction with the best traditional approaches. Through drawings, conceptual language, and real-world examples, it helps students make sense of mathematics. Teachers and students are focused on the question, “how do we get to the answer” and “what does the answer mean”? The challenge becomes understanding what is behind the numbers instead of memorizing an answer.

“One daily component I like is the “Math Talk” which kids are discussing and explaining their answers and thinking. It makes them accountable for math thinking and also creates conversations about different ways to solve problems.

Because the program is inquiry based and provides many real world examples it aligns nicely with what we are doing with our IB units of inquiry. The kids are in the mindset to ask questions and find answers and the way we are teaching math allows them to practice this as well.”

Darcie Mullinax, 1st grade teacher

In the classroom, teachers are experiencing a new excitement around math. Students are more engaged and confident because they are gaining math tools and strategies. We have seen this development in the classroom because Math Expressions offers new ways to teach and learn through exploration, modeling and discussion. This fits well with our inquiry approach to teaching and learning and has shown great results in student achievement. 

“Things that I love about our new math curriculum is the rigor of the series. It really is pushing kids further in math. I also like the multiple strategies that kids learn to solve problems. The daily quick practice keeps students working on their multiplication and division facts.”

Danielle Crowley, 3rd grade teacher

We have seen great growth, but more important, a new love of math in our students. I hope that your child is sharing more about math and showing a new confidence and excitement as they learn and grow. As with our implementation of IB, addition of technology in our curriculum, and other initiatives, we are focused on “what is best for our students?”. As parents, I hope you are hearing and seeing the benefits of the efforts and your child is sharing what they are learning at school more than before. We are encouraged by the changes and look forward to even more as the work continues.

If you have any questions, as always, please feel free to contact me.

Jennifer Cassidy
Annunciation Principal