Mr. Mark Zielinski (left), Special Education Teacher, practices an assessment with Hattie Herrmann, First Grader.
In the week before school began, twenty-one Washington School for Comprehensive Literacy teachers were trained in Add+Vantage Math Recovery. Washington School has been a leader across the country in implementing Reading Recovery and the Comprehensive Intervention Model as a Response to Intervention approach for literacy. This year, the staff has begun to do the same in math instruction. The goal of the Add+Vantage Math Recovery (AVMR) course was for teachers to gain a practical understanding of how children develop mathematical knowledge, learn Math Recovery strategies, and develop expertise in applying them in the classroom. It also provided detailed diagnostic assessments to understand each child's level of proficiency with computation and number sense as well as application of teaching strategies to guide development of mathematical reasoning.
The participating teachers volunteered their time from August 22-25, 2011. Represented were classroom teachers in grades K-4, Special Education teachers, English-Language-Learner teachers, the Literacy Coach, and the Principal. They included: Karin Bulkow, Kirsten Thiel, Kia Hang, Doreen VandeWater, Jessica Gruber, Kathy Gueldenzopf, Kathryn Meyer, Sarah Schnelle, Susan Johnson, Mindy Witting, Patty McKenzie, Kathy Scott, Mandy Metropolis, Nicole Herrmann, Jeanna Radey, Julie Brahan, Nancy Sneller, Mark Zielinski, Erin Spaeth, Brian Reindl, and Karl Bekkum. The instructor for the course was Jackie Amato, a trained AVMR instructor who works for the Oshkosh School District as the District Math Recovery Leader, Gifted and Talented Teacher, and Professional Development Teacher. Ms. Amato used an apprenticeship approach to the class by asking Washington teachers to video-taped themselves giving the assessments to actual children, receiving immediate feedback from peers, and scoring assessments together. Participants received an AVMR assessment kit and the text Teaching Number in the Classroom by Robert J. Wright, Garry Stanger, Ann K. Stafford, and James Martland. Teachers will follow-up this training with book studies around the text, collaborative planning, and video-taped feedback sessions while on the job.
Add+Vantage Math Recovery utilizes the Learning and Instructional Frameworks of Math Recovery Early Intervention to provide teachers with tools for assessment and differentiated numeracy instruction within whole class and small group instruction. AVMR Course 1 assessments are focused on the topics of Number Words and Numerals, Structuring Numbers, and Addition and Subtraction. Later this year, teachers will participate in Course 2 which focuses on multiplication and division and place value. Each of the two courses within AVMR includes theory, assessment practices, assessment tools, and exemplary teaching ideas.
In evaluating the class, teachers said:
- “It’s helped me think about math knowledge and development along a continuum rather than grade-level expectations.”- First Grade Teacher
- “I know have the tools in math like I already have in literacy to guide my instruction!” - Second Grade Teacher
- “The course gave us the assessment base, a progression of learning, and differentiated instruction. The assessing component provides a picture of exactly what the child’s strengths and needs are!” - First Grade Teacher
- “It gave me a whole new understanding into how my students think about numbers.” - Kindergarten Teacher
- “I love the link between the assessments and the instruction.” - English-Language-Learner Teacher
- “Now that I understand the developmental levels (constructs), how to assess for them, and what activities I can use, I will be able to differentiate and target my instruction to help students grow and succeed in math.” - Second Grade Teacher
- “The math continuum is extremely beneficial. This will help to guide instruction and understand students’ knowledge of number.” - Kindergarten Teacher