Sneak Peek! Dig Your Data: A Guidebook for Math Teachers

Using data to connect the dots between where students are, where they can be, and how to help them gain deeper math understanding, is generating real results in classrooms all over the world. In this preview excerpt of our upcoming Teacher Guidebook, find out how to access and gain insight to make data work for you … right now!

DID YOU KNOW? 8 out of 10 educators believe data should make them more effective by helping them to understand—in real time—students’ misconceptions, struggles and competencies.

Understanding where each student is at any given time in their learning proficiency can be a challenge.  Let’s take a quick look at how you can use data to empower what you love: teaching.

  • Conduct the “big idea” interview. The objective is to collect data on ‘big ideas’ rather than skills. For example, many students can demonstrate skill following the multiplication standard algorithm, but few can articulate the mathematics underlying the algorithm or generate a reasonable estimate before grabbing a pencil. Instead of giving students a quiz on the algorithm, conduct short interviews where you ask students for an estimate and dig deeper to find out if they know why they are “bringing down a zero.”
  • Connect the “eggs.” Use the smart board voting apparatus to set up multiple choice questions, and include common misconceptions. Since the smart board is able to aggregate the data, you can see how many students answered correctly, incorrectly and with which misconception. If the majority of the class is struggling or choosing a common misconception, you can pivot the lesson immediately to address the issue.
  • Get the honest thumbs up. Have the students face you, with a hand over their hearts, and show the teacher a thumbs up (“I got it and can explain it!”), middle thumb (“I can do some problems independently, but need support to complete all.”), or thumbs down (“I need help!”). It’s a simple way to look into the classroom and see who to check in with during independent time. With students facing you, they feel safe enough to admit their honest opinion, without peer judgement.