Deciding when to move on to the next unit???

Discussion in 'New Teachers' started by Resource Room Teacher, Feb 1, 2018.

  1. Resource Room Teacher

    Resource Room Teacher New Member

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    Feb 1, 2018

    Hi,
    I am a Resource Room teacher and work with a student who is several points above meeting the criteria for life skills. The student will be going to middle school next year and is at about a 2nd grade math level. I have spent a month working on coins with him. He is still inconsistent with counting coins (even when given manipulatives and coin id visual aids) and certainly cannot exchange coin groups without someone walking him through it step by step. I feel like money is an important skill for him to learn, but I also am questioning if it is time to move on and try something else? How long is too long to spend on a subject? How do I determine when to throw in the towel on a unit and move on?
     
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  3. TrademarkTer

    TrademarkTer Groupie

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    Feb 1, 2018

    I can't think of very many math skills more important than that to be honest.

    I am not an elementary teacher nor a resource room teacher so this thread really made me think. In my practice as a high school math teacher, it's not the end of the world if I move on when kid hasn't mastered graphing cotangent functions yet because, let's be real, when will they ever need that? But in the case of such important life skills as counting money, is what comes next of equal importance to his future?
     
  4. miss-m

    miss-m Groupie

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    Feb 1, 2018

    It may be helpful to take a break and come back to it for the student's sake - spending so much time working on something that is clearly difficult can be exhausting. Moving on to something else, at least temporarily, might help both you and him come at counting money with a fresh perspective when you come back to it.
    How are his math facts? Could you spend some time on addition/subtraction facts (going off my knowledge of 2nd grade math level), telling time, or geometry? Could you do some place value? Apart from time and geometry, most 2nd grade math skills lend themselves well to supporting money counting since it all revolves around being able to add and subtract fluently, skip count by 1s, 5s, 10s, and 100s up to 1000, and be able to deconstruct numbers by their place value. All of those are skills involved in money as well - taking some time on those may help with counting coins.
     
  5. Been There

    Been There Habitué

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    Feb 3, 2018

    In a related message posted under Teacher Time Out, a question was asked with regard to what makes a "good teacher". I responded by offering a few descriptors, one of which was perseverance. A good teacher demonstrates perseverance when instruction falls short of the mark by effectively revising subsequent lessons to ensure mastery by all students.

    I have found that when teaching a specific skill such as making change with coins, it is always necessary to be cognizant of the developmental progression involved. As miss-m alluded to, you must be aware of what prerequisite skills and knowledge are needed for the student to be successful. By assessing the student's current knowledge and skills, you can appropriately design targeted instruction that the student will comprehend and ultimately benefit from. Of course, if you should misjudge what the student already knows or deliver instruction that is too advanced, the results will be nil. (Those with a processing disorder or developmental delays may also display a slower rate of learning.)

    Bottom line: As soon as you realize that the lesson is too difficult, analyze the student's responses and readjust instruction to meet his/her level of proficiency - experience will enable you to do this quickly. The size of the student's achievement gap will determine how much time will need to be devoted to a particular subject. When students are functioning several years below grade level, only an accelerated program of instruction can help them to catch up with their peers.
     
    Last edited: Feb 3, 2018
  6. RLW

    RLW New Member

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    May 19, 2023

    This is the challenge of just about every upper elementary teacher. First, I see perseverance from a different perspective in this situation- getting them to where they need to be “overall”. Not to boast but I have five education degrees and taught 37 years and worked at an IA school where students were sent AFTER going over it and over it did not work and they were usually beyond two years behind mastering skills. Fifth grade reviews all the previous grades’ skills in application. I would change it up for the student- use Piaget substitution (poker chips of white, red and blue) to master value substitution- see if that is an issue, then, combination value (computation issue). My guess is that it is computation and number concept. I try to find the issue, address it, then have the student work to apply the addressed concept to the new format, as in this case, money. You cannot do much more because there are other things to cover. My thought is that if a teacher skips skills to stay on one that they HOPE the student will master, they are liable for what they did not teach and were supposed to cover regardless of the student. They may get it later- I did.
     
  7. readingrules12

    readingrules12 Aficionado

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    May 20, 2023

    An excellent question IMO. In math, it is important to not focus on only one unit for a long length of time. If a child is struggling with money after much practice, go onto the next unit, but don't completely abandon money. Go into the next unit, but review the components of money that he/she is being successful. Also review other material. Possibly 70% on new unit, 20% on money, and 10% on reviewing past concepts as an example. Then after awhile go back to money and teach it to the child. Then having money be 70% of the teaching you do. Persistence is important, but so are breaks to learning a particular unit or concept.

    With the limit of how many pages can be in a textbook, math books are often separated into distinct units with not near enough review. All units are about the same length even though an experienced teacher realizes some units need more time than others. Continuing to teach money can be done without neglecting the other areas that need to be taught. Quizziz.com is one example of a place with many lessons and games to continually review concepts. There are many others as well. The internet probably has more math resources than any other subject. Good luck to you.
     

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