Wednesday, September 21, 2016

How to catch up in Eureka Math

This weekend I was asked a question via my YouTube channel. The question is a common one that I have heard numerous times. It isn't unique to Eureka Math either...I've heard it my entire 26 years of teaching.

Here is a screenshot of the question and my quick response at the time.

As I reflect on my response, here are some additional thoughts...
  • The strategy of "catching up" a student by going backwards two years just doesn't make sense to me. Essentially, the strategy is flawed from the start because it takes a student who is already struggling with mathematics and merely piles more math on top of the student. In order for this strategy to work, not only does the struggling student have to learn the current year's standards, but also the standards from the previous year or two. For a student already struggling with math, this is just plain silly.
  • Eureka Math (EngageNY), being OER, affords us the ability to print "just in time" content for a student in need. Rather than subjecting the struggling student to the ENTIRE previous two years' worth of math, let's just print an occasional worksheet from a previous year. The strategy here is to have laser-like purpose for what "old" math to teach the student.
  • Most importantly, before we try to "fix" the student, let's first reflect on what went wrong in the first place that caused the student to need fixing? This is UDL!!! Moving forward, how can we select strategies for engagement, representation, and expression that remove the barrier to learning in the first place?
Just a thought.