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Identifying Math Tools for
Your Specific Learning Objectives

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Wanda Brown

Wanda is a math teacher at Ahlf Junior High School in Searcy, Arkansas. To learn more about her, check out her Tool Fest '04 bio page.

My focus at this point is identifying tools to support specific learning objectives. In particular, this summer I'm working with 8th grade Pre-Algebra. To see what's been done so far, check out this version of the Arkansas Math 7 and 8 Curriculum Framework.

Prior to the process of rewriting the Arkansas Curriculum Frameworks, they were very vague and interpreted differently by educators. Beginning with English, state committees composed of State Department personnel and classroom teachers rewrote the English frameworks. Then came Math, which was completed in April 2004 but not released until later in the following school year. The same process will begin with science this summer. The guide used for rewriting the frameworks was the existing document as well as National (NCTM) and other other state's curriculum frameworks.

My school district is in the process of remapping the curriculum using the new frameworks. I teach 8th grade math and will be helping with 8th Pre-Algebra, Algebra IA (including 8th grade objectives), and Algebra I (also including 8th grade objectives.) I am the type of teacher that is always searching for new methods/resources to improve student learning. My goal this summer is to identify resources that I feel help meet the learning objectives and list those resources on my curriculum document. I would like to continue this ongoing resource search with educators throughout the coming school year.

The main resource that I use in the classroom is the SmartBoard. Using the Tools, I will either lead a whole class discussion to discuss the activity while I demonstrate or allow students to take turns manipulating the Tool. The calculators that I use are TI-34 - non-graphing. A new resource that our department purchased this year through a local education grant was the Computer Performance System (CPS.) Using this system, each student has a hand held remote that they use to answer multiple choice questions. I use this tool in many different ways - individual quizzes, Benchmark (test prep) seminars, and to facilitate review activities. My students really enjoy reviewing using a Jeopardy format.

As a part of my ongoing professional development, I am continually evaluating my teaching style in terms of student learning and reflecting upon my effectiveness as a classroom teacher. I am very focused on student learning but my main problem is probably organization. I will find a fabulous site or tool, use it in the lesson, and then when I want to use it later - not be able to locate it! By listing resources on the actual document, not only will I be better organized, but I will also be prepared to share these resources with other educators, particpate in and facilitate ongoing discussions.


© 2003-2005 The Math Forum @ Drexel, part of NSF's NSDL
This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant DUE-0226284.
Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s)
and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.