{ "media_type": "text", "post_content": "In my school periods are 42 minutes long. By the time kids arrive to class and get settled, I have 38 on-task minutes, at best. It is impossible to get through the curriculum without leaving most kids in the dust so we pick and choose which standards to emphasize and which are expendable. Problem is compounded by the fact that the teachers in prior grades have the same problem, so kids reach me without foundation knowledge and skills. Have tried many strategies. Suggestions???\n", "post_id": "60fa3c274acd2b001c097586", "reply_count": 8, "vote_count": 1, "bowl_id": "5c9f9c402f4dd9001faca19f", "bowl_name": "Math Educators" }

In my school periods are 42 minutes long. By the time kids arrive to class and get settled, I have 38 on-task minutes, at best. It is impossible to get through the curriculum without leaving most kids in the dust so we pick and choose which standards to emphasize and which are expendable. Problem is compounded by the fact that the teachers in prior grades have the same problem, so kids reach me without foundation knowledge and skills. Have tried many strategies. Suggestions???

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I’ve been using an online program called Get More Math for a few years now. Spiral review is a strength of GMM. In a typical class, I would teach a new concept and hopefully have some class time for students to start working on an assignment in GMM (40 minute class periods). GMM gives immediate feedback (correct vs. incorrect answers), so no need to take class time the following day to go over homework. Once finished with the assignment, GMM automatically puts students back into spiral review - anything previously assigned in the year. The program learns each student’s strengths and weaknesses, so each kid gets their own personalized spiral review. I would assign enough “points” each day that students would have to spend time in spiral review. More students are remembering skills learned at the beginning of the year versus in the past. I would highly recommend checking it out!


I teach high school so I don’t know how different it is for middle schoolers but… I start at the bell & end at the bell so I get the full time. Almost always start with a warm up, in remedial almost always ended with an exit ticket. For the first week I give points to kids with their supplies out before the bell (they didn’t have to start yet), then I continue occasionally or just tell individuals to get ready. Totally with you on the picking & choosing—as a district we’ve tried to to create pacing guides together to help with vertical alignment. In all honesty, the years my kids did the best were when I took my time for the first quarter and really focused on getting them to collaborate in groups & persevere through problems together. I’ve also seen a very successful colleague do amazingly when they showed & enforced checking answers after every problem. I think all that kind of boils down to “if you build it, they will come”.


I know some teachers who swear by Khan Academy. They dedicate every Friday to it. I’m not a fan myself, but it does work for some students. One thing my department started to try (but never fully implemented because CoVid made a mess of everything) is an emphasis on spiral review. So even as you’re approaching new topics, you’re constantly spiraling through old topics at the end of each assignment or project. Maybe you could put those missing foundation skills into the spiral review? For example, pick one skill and include it in the spiral for two weeks. Then pick another skill.

I teach at a private high school and we have the same problem, 41 minutes. Our students come from all different schools so we really don’t know what skills they are missing at first. We have Math IXL which is something to suggest when a skill is missing or they need more practice. Delta math is another good one. I use these for practice before a test or “test corrections” (something we are trying to get away from) so it will just be another assignment. I am planning on doing some remedial work at the beginning of the year on topics that I know they will need in a stations activity. I’m not sure yet how long I’ll spend on it. And I am trying to think of a way to limit how long I spend on going over homework because that uses time I would like to spend on them practicing the new skill in front of me. My biggest suggestion is that the easier you make it on them, the less they learn. They will rise to a reachable standard. Spiral reviews are good. Our students started cheating on them so it didn’t work well as homework but maybe time dedicated in class with an effort grade would yield some benefit. I might try that myself. I was also thinking of building a group of skills into a quarterly (or whatever) project. I teach Geometry Honors and those kids may need some Algebra review that will never be needed in our class before they get to Algebra 2 so I was thinking of reviewing it that way. Good luck!!!!

Many good suggestions! I do use Khan, but for specific topics. I do force kids to correct work and show that they're learning from mistakes. I spiral all year with warmups. Unfortunately, my district just committed to piloting "Big Ideas" and for 7th grade, the very first topic is add/sub/mult/div with integers/fractions/decimals. Negative fraction and decimal work is impossible if they can't work with positive fractions and decimals. I've decided to try a fair bit of flipping this year, so class is spent mostly practicing in my presence.

Try flipped classroom. Or have instruction on one day and move activities to another day. Then centers , intervention, … Complete the week with independent work. Always your administration must agree.

We have 100 minutes….every other day…our administration is the BEST!!!

Have you tried flipped classroom model?

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