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Balanced Math

Balanced Math

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Published by sroseman

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Published by: sroseman on Oct 21, 2007
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07/01/2010

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alanced Math is an approach to teaching mathematics. I've prepared a quicksummary of what a balanced math program can look like based on Lee Sparling's book"Balanced Mathematics". She's a teacher in Simcoe County. You'll notice some ofthe terms resemble the elements of Balanced Literacy. The piece that's missingfrom this model is the notion of gradual release which should be a part of anyeffective instruction model.Source: Balanced Mathematics Grades 2-6 by Lee Sparling, 2005The Balanced Math Program focuses on understanding the processes and strategiesthat lead to effective problem solving. The term “Balanced” describes theequality of learning opportunities for students using the five components of:Independent Math JournalsShared Problem SolvingModelled/Guided Problem SolvingMath GamesMath FactsStudents participate in all five components of the Balanced Mathematics Program ona rotating five day schedule. With the exception of Independent Math Journals,students work in small groups where they feel comfortable and more willing tospeak out and explore ideas. In small groups students develop social skills aswell as communication skills. They pose and challenge ideas as well as seekadvice from their peers. Students learn to defend and justify their own ideas.Independent MathStudents work independently to explain, respond to other students and justifytheir own thinking about mathematical concepts and ideas. Using math word wallsand personal math dictionaries, students build their mathematical vocabulary, makepersonal connection to their thinking and develop their reflective thinkingskills. This leads to a more comprehensive understanding of mathematicalconcepts.Shared Problem SolvingSmall groups of students work together to solve a mathematical problem. Sharedproblem solving gives students the opportunity to explore and build skills forsuccessful problem solving. This component promotes team work and communicationwhile building individual confidence.Modelled/Guided Problem SolvingThis component of the Balanced Math Program gives teachers the opportunity tofocus on a different small group of students each day of the five day BalancedMath Rotation. The Modelled/Guided Problem Solving group is four to five studentsworking closely with the teacher to solve a problem, explore a new mathematicalmanipulative, take up a math test, or learn a new math game. The teacher can usethis time to model and guide students through the steps of problem solving, thedifferent problems solving strategies and the use of manipulatives. Theimplementation of the Modelled/Guided group provides quality instructional timewhich benefits both the students as well as the teacher.Math GamesMath Games occurs with a small group of students playing a game together.Students in this group cooperatively play a game that has underlying math concept.In this group, students develop communication skills as well as strategic thinkingskills. Students have fun and are also constructing and internalizing criticalmathematics concepts. The Math Games component of the Balanced Math Programensures that the students become actively involved with a math concept, and sharetheir ideas and strategies with their peers, with the added spark of

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