Teacher resources and professional development across the curriculum

Teacher professional development and classroom resources across the curriculum

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Tom Natola

Grade: 2

Location: Qunicy, MA

Setting: Urban

Years Teaching: 20+

What is your biggest challenge in deciding what to teach in math and science?

My biggest concern right now is the continuity from one grade to the next. I want to make sure that I'm not covering something that has been covered or will be covered in the upper grades. So I have to work closely with the third grade and first grade teachers. My instruction always improves when I have an opportunity to talk with other teachers in my school. I can see the continuity and the connections that are taking place.

How would you describe your approach to teaching math?

I do a hands-on approach to math, but the children still need to know the math terms, and know how to carry and borrow. You have to connect the dots with children. Children today are being tested. There's a lot of accountability going on, and I have a responsibility to make sure that a child is ready to take a test that is coming up. It's unfair of me to present students who are not ready—they need to know the terminology, the words they are going to see and hear. So I do a lot of hands-on math, and I use cuisinaire rods to demonstrate ideas, and the children use their calculators. I present things in a very concrete way, and then go right up the scale. We start with concrete activities, move up to symbolic, and then to abstract.

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