Thursday, August 30, 2012

Some Big Ideas from MIF Training

Welcome back everyone. I'm glad we could all attend the Math in Focus training with Shelly DuBose, and I know I am looking forward to the rest of our work with her.

I thought it might be a good idea to distill a few of the big ideas from the training here as a reference as we all start our work with these materials. It seems like a few critical pieces are

  • Yes, it is hard. And it will be hard for the kids. But it won't always be hard.
  • One of the key ideas in MIF is attitudes toward math, which includes perseverance and grit. And that gets developed through challenging tasks. So, in some ways, it should always be somewhat hard for kids. That's OK. We all grow through challenge.
  • Kids get to operate where ever they feel they need to on the continuum of concrete to pictorial to abstract, even on assessments.
  • MIF is designed for you to cover fewer topics at greater depth. So slowing down (to a degree) is just fine.
  • You won't begin book B until after Valentine's day, because the meat of the work is in book A.
  • Dip into the transition guide as you need to (at
  • Transitions seem to ease up after chapter 3, when the prior knowledge starts becoming things you have taught this year.
  • There are 3 levels of mastery: 1. Computational  2. Direct Application  3. Novel Application
  • That said, there are items on the assessments for each chapter that are hard, and were not designed so that every kid will answer them right. Let kids know this that ahead of time.
  • Try to trust the materials and the process; we don't know everything about the program now, but in a year, we will know better what its strengths and weaknesses are. 

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