Coming Together to Teach Math!!!

Coming Together to Teach Math!!!

by Wendy Miller and Angie Fino, Stearley Heights Elementary School
Stripes Okinawa

Stearley Heights Elementary School (SHES) on Kadena A.B., Okinawa is implementing the College and Career Ready Standards for Mathematics (CCRSM) in a variety of classroom settings throughout the building.  During music specials, the music educator, Mrs. Wendy A. Miller, and first grade educator, Mrs. Stefanie Thompson, collaborated on what specific math standards the students are working on and how the Standards for Mathematical Practice (SMP) relate to both classrooms.  The teachers selected to focus on SMP 2 – Reason abstractly and quantitatively and SMP 6 – Attend to precision.  Students have worked with Number Bonds in the regular classroom to analyze math problems and real life math situations while breaking them into smaller cases of understanding.  This includes using logical progression to make a conjecture.  Students have also used clear definitions of math symbols and vocabulary.  Music class transferred these standards and skills to defining music vocabulary for creating rhythms on a staff.  Time signatures of 2/4, ¾, and 4/4 were used on the Smart Board technology to create rhythms using whole notes, half notes, quarter notes, and eighth notes.  Students then counted and clapped the note values of their rhythms.  Students were able to check their work and make corrections if the measure had the incorrect note values.   The lesson was fun and engaging while incorporating math and technology.
Recently, parents were invited to attend math training where they were able to take a sneak peek at how math looks like in the classroom as the CCRSM are incorporated.  Many parents came with questions and left with answers and feeling better on how they can help their children at home.  Parents were also given the opportunity to work on math problems and discuss possible solutions in their groups just as their kids do in the classroom.  Mr. Olds, the principal at SHES, stated that “We are teaching fewer standards at their current grade level but more in-depth and focused lessons so that students gain a clear and conceptual understanding of mathematics.”
In order to make the parent training a success, SHES provided an avenue for child care.  Mrs. Fino, Math Support Specialist coordinated with Master Sergeant Shepard (Ret.), JROTC instructor at Kadena High School (for fifteen years) to have his cadets provide care of the children at the school grounds under the supervision of Sgt. Shepard and his wife Mrs. Shepard who teaches kindergarten at SHES.  The cadets played and interacted with children ranging from ages 3-10.  The cadets stated that the experience of interacting and playing with the students was fun and engaging.  The cadets are required to perform a certain amount of community hours and are available to help our community.  This truly was a group effort as Kadena High School and Stearley Heights Elementary School came together to teach math at a variety of levels and settings.

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