K-4 Math Overview

Prepared by  Elementary Classroom Teachers and Rachel Clark, K-4 Math Lead Teacher
The following information may give you some clarity regarding math instruction at the elementary level.
Both Rowe and Yarmouth Elementary School students will be using similar materials (i.e., resources, manipulatives, and journals) in all classrooms. These common classroom experiences will allow for deeper conversations among teachers around best classroom practices as units are planned and implemented. Teachers will have a common language to use when discussing math instruction,assessment, enrichment, and re-teaching.
Many routines such as such as Explorations, Name -Collection Boxes, Frames and Arrows, and What’s My Rule?, will be similar from classroom to classroom. Number line activities and work with the 100’s grid will also be commonplace in all classrooms, thereby giving students a strong foundation in number sense and place value.
Our materials, entitled Everyday Math, are designed to encourage children to think mathematically and to develop confidence and familiarity with math concepts by using numbers and activities that have meaning in children’s lives. Children learn about inches and centimeters by measuring their own hands, for example.
We incorporate a “spiral curriculum” so that students are given frequent exposure to skills and concepts before mastery is expected. This is similar to literacy instruction in that students are given opportunities for practice, exploration, and are invited to marinate in the new vocabulary.
At all grade levels, students play a variety of math games that give them plenty of practice using numbers. These motivating games are coupled with instruction where students gain strategies for acquiring automaticity of basic facts, place value understanding, and the relationship of operations. The ultimate goal is basic fact fluency, and we will discuss many strategies that will help students arrive at mastery with facts. Additionally, children will develop a variety of computational methods and will have the flexibility to choose the procedure that is most appropriate in a given situation. Building a deep understanding of number sense and place value will be the cornerstone of instruction regarding computation algorithms.
Problem solving is a key component of Everyday Math at all grade levels. Students will make important decisions about how to solve problems, rather than just following steps that have been shown to find an answer. They will learn to choose from a variety of strategies and carry out their strategies to solve a problem.
You will notice a hum in math classes at the K-4 level as students are given frequent opportunities to reflect on strategies used, patterns that are noticed, and observations that are made.
Each grade level will have specific learning goals that are essential. We call these secure goals and the year will feature instruction and assessment centered around these important goals. We will update you on your child’s progress toward these goals in a variety of ways throughout the year. You, as  parents, will have many opportunities at home to nurture and observe your child’s love of math through a variety of approaches. Games, homelinks, fact triangle practice,
Discovery Math (optional) and what Everyday Math calls do-anytime- activities will be your resources as you support your children. Many activities will be based on real life situations such as measuring, estimating, and counting while cooking, walking, or driving. Additionally, there are  online resources on our website that we invite you to explore with your children. A letter outlining these online resources is forthcoming in the next few months.  This involvement is an integral part of math acquisition as it will help students to see the relevance of math in everyday lives. Through this school/ home partnership, the sky is the limit for your children.

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