“This is at the heart of all good education, where the teacher asks students to think and engages them in encouraging dialogues, constantly checking understanding and growth.” William Glasser
By Fargo Public Schools Elementary Math Facilitator Laurie Barlow
Add+Vantage Math Recovery® (AVMR) is a professional development program that empowers teachers to provide “just right” instruction for all students in mathematics based on one-on-one diagnostic assessments and knowledge of learning pathways. Professional development in AVMR begins with face-to-face training focusing on how children learn math, assessments that pinpoint student strengths and next steps for instruction. Teachers learn how to select or design lessons for both whole class and small group instruction based on the needs of their students. Support for teachers continues after training in a variety of ways, including online practice and resources, conversations with colleagues, periodic face-to-face sessions with other trained teachers and coaching in their own classrooms.
Walking into an elementary math classroom with a trained AVMR teacher at the helm, you may see a short whole class math lesson during which students are engaged in problem solving and sharing their solutions with one another while the teacher asks questions and records student strategies. This may be followed by targeted small group instruction designed for the students at the table based on their current needs. While the teacher works with the small group, other students in the classroom are engaged in meaningful independent work and small group learning activities chosen specifically for them to reinforce or extend math skills and understanding. This work is differentiated for each of the students in the class. The teacher believes in each student’s ability to understand math and carefully selects tasks to keep all students thinking hard about and making sense of mathematics. This differs greatly from traditional classroom instruction in which the teacher models a way to solve a problem and the students practice using that strategy over and over. In order for students to succeed in higher level math, they must understand it. Teachers who are trained in AVMR know how to support this understanding.
Fargo Public Schools is dedicated to empowering all students to succeed. One of the most effective ways to do this is through continuous and effective research based professional development for teachers. At this time, all kindergarten, first and second grade teachers are trained in AVMR Course 1 and Title 1 math teachers are trained in Course 1 and 2. There are eight math focus buildings in the district who have committed time and energy over a period of at least three years to focus on improving math instruction. In these buildings, all classroom teachers (regular education, special education and gifted education) are trained Course 1 and grades 1 – 5 are trained in Course 2. We continue to add math focus buildings as building leadership and data determine this to be an area of need. Additionally, Math Recovery Intervention Specialists (MRIS) are being trained to support teachers at the building level. There are currently six MRIS in the district, seven in training, and plans to train an MRIS for the remaining buildings by 2019.
If you would like to learn more about Add+Vantage Math Recovery and the research behind it, please visit mathrecovery.org.