Innovative Math Instruction

Topics: STEM, Curriculum and Instruction

What innovative strategies have you used in your school to enhance math instruction?

Prioritizing standards. [We] prioritize what standards our students need to know to do well by grade [and] support learning as students transition from grade to grade.

—Kimberly Miles (@afewthingsworth), East Gresham Elementary, Gresham, Oregon

Paying it forward. We used play money in our classroom economy. When students did a good job on a test or received a compliment, they would get “paid.” They could purchase a desk pet once they obtained a total of $1, so they focused on counting and memorizing the different denominations.

—Daniel Lee, Tabernacle Christian Academy, San Diego, California

Lessons and feedback. Teachers met with math specialists from our district to learn high-leverage strategies for math with evidence-based articles. Teachers created lesson plans based on what they learned and videoed themselves teaching lessons. Their cohort reviewed the lessons and gave constructive feedback.

—Joel Pullan, Riverton Elementary, Riverton, Utah

Creating a math experience. We need to give students a chance to experience math through manipulatives and activities. We also need to help students see the relevance and usefulness of math, even if it is to help them understand the importance of math as brain exercise.

—Todd Brist (@WMSPal), Watertown Middle School, Watertown, South Dakota

Learn by doing. [We] focus on CRA—concrete, representational, and abstract—and [use] the “I do, we do, you do” teaching strategy.

—Daniel Ackland (@dtackland), Garnett Elementary, Garnett, Kansas

Workshopping concepts. [We use] the Math Workshop Model to address math differentiation. Data shows that some learners struggle with math, and others who excel with math concepts plateau; the Math Workshop Model provides a structure to address all types of students’ needs at all levels and ages.

—Jennifer Brown (@jbrownprincbela), Bellefonte eLearning Academy, Bellefonte, Pennsylvania

Numbered days. As a component of our morning announcements, we celebrated every square and prime-number day. We also tied in angle measurements, celebrating key days such as the 45th and 90th days.

—Stephen Wiltshire (@PrincipalShire), North Street Elementary, Grafton, Massachusetts

Enrichment exercises. I have a brilliant math specialist who provides remediation and enrichment for our students. We use [math expert] Greg Tang’s puzzles to enhance skills of critical thinking, problem-​solving, and reasoning.

—Jennifer Bencivengo (@OG870Leaders), Old Greenwich School, Old Greenwich, Connecticut

Midweek interventions. Teachers host math intervention groups during the first 20 minutes of the day on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays. We also host Math Parent parties to provide parents with the knowledge and skills they need to support students at home.

—LaTonya Wright (@Wright2educate), Tayac Elementary, Fort Washington, Maryland

Personalized instruction. Personalized learning has been our main focus in math. Once the child has earned mastery on a particular standard, they move on to the next. It allows for extra instruction for students who struggle with certain standards.

—Rosemary Nelson, Jasper Middle School, Jasper, Georgia