February 10, 2021
Navigating the trip
The students’ arrival at learning mathematics is the destination our educators prudently plan for each school year. As educators prepare for the arrival of their students, they dedicate time to creating plans for standards-based instruction and exploring the best practices to meet the needs of all their learners. They begin with staff development, curriculum guides and state standards, using these resources to map learners’ pathways. When students arrive, our educators have the information needed to help students navigate their journeys. However, we all know it doesn’t stop there. In order to achieve success, educators are tasked with learning the unique needs of each learner to discover where the journeys should begin.
To make students’ journeys successful, educators must learn where to begin their instruction, making meaningful decisions for children as they navigate the curriculum. Educators use some form of an assessment to determine the direction. They need to gather what their learners already know to build up their prior knowledge for learning to occur. Educators then formulate plans to meet each student’s needs through a variety of assessments, such as student interviews, performance tasks, classroom assessments and/or performance in DreamBox Learning. With any assessment, educators need to analyze the results, not only for right or wrong answers but to understand learners’ strategies and misconceptions. Such valuable information will help educators focus on each learner’s needs and plan accordingly. The beauty of DreamBox Learning is there’s no need for educators to take away additional instructional time to assess learners during the school year. As their learners engage in lessons, DreamBox continuously collects multiple data points to help educators gain insight into learner comprehension. DreamBox’s Activity Feed and Standards Report are two resources that provide educators with valuable insight. They can use these data along with any other assessments, to focus their instruction on each child’s needs.
Personalizing the learning
In order to be successful throughout the school year, educators need to continuously plan, implement, gather evidence, evaluate outcomes, identify gaps, make pedagogical decisions and redefine learning outcomes. All of this is necessary to ensure learner success. Although DreamBox easily provides this information, students’ success is an outcome created by the decisions our dedicated educators make each day within their classrooms. Their knowledge in pedagogy and ability to adapt and redirect their students’ learning ultimately results in personalized instruction. It takes conscientious effort, but it’s also important to remember success is a journey that will take learners to many places as we travel to the destinations. As we adapt to meet the needs of our learners, we may take different routes to help build their understanding. Whether it’s the conceptual understanding of place value, quadratic formulas or even developing procedural fluency, educators are supported by a community of professionals that collaborate on how to personally meet the needs of ALL learners. DreamBox may be a complementary part of this journey, but the educator creates the opportunities for learners to travel and reach their destination. Collective collaboration will create the skills needed to help ALL learners reach their destination.
To see what’s next, check out the final blog in our growth mindset series, Growth Mindset: understanding the destination and leveraging what you have discovered.
Authored by Jackie Cannarella, Melissa Hurt, Dr. Kendra Thurmond and Danielle Sellenriek