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Tier 2 Intervention: Strategies That Invite Students Into a Mathematical Community

Invite your elementary students to be part of a mathematical community through an intentional emphasis on the Standards for Mathematical Practices (SMPs) while providing the targeted instruction required in Tier 2 intervention. Research has shown that for students living in poverty or who have struggled with mathematics, instruction commonly focuses on rote skills and procedures, with scant attention to meaningful mathematics learning (NCTM, 2014). Participants will leave this session with strategies to incorporate SMPs into a Tier 2 setting, plus a deeper understanding of "non-cognitive factors,” discourse, questioning, and the naming and normalizing of productive struggle while reinforcing math concepts. The session will provide time to discuss and consider how specific teaching moves apply to your context while acquiring more tools that build a strong program and confident students who are able to say, "I am a math person."

This talk was presented at:
National Title I Conference
February 2018 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Cristina Charney

I came into teaching because of my fascination with the learning process. I have striven to develop my own practice through reading, experimenting, collaborating, attending courses and reflecting for the last 27 years. My expertise on this topic derives from the tens of thousands of hours I have spent in classrooms, continually working to influence learning and, for the last 9 years focusing mostly on learning the K-5 mathematics progressions and the standards that support them. With the advent of the Standards for Mathematical Practice (SMPs), we now have a strong vehicle for how to guide students and support their agency and efficacy as mathematicians. I have facilitated professional development sessions with district math leaders over the past 2 years emphasizing how to integrate the use of the SMPs in all of our 13 elementary schools. Further reflecting my interest and developing expertise, in December 2016, I completed an MA in Mathematics Education with an emphasis on mathematical discourse. As I researched for the Literature Review, I became more interested in exploring the impact of the SMPs in an intervention setting. I found little representation in the research of how discourse and other SMPs fit into intervention. Nonetheless, I reasoned that if the SMPs are important for core teaching, they must be especially important for intervention teaching. Consequently, I designed an action research project studying a class of Grade 2 students in their core and the 3 students from that class who qualified for Tier 2 intervention. Through video analysis and coding over a period of 8 weeks, I tracked the impact of mathematical dialogue on student learning. The results were extremely optimistic; all three students who started at the 10th percentile, were exited from program in January and all three had shown proficiency by the end of the school year. While there was no control group to compare, I would conclude that intentional use of the SMPs are as important in intervention settings, if not more so, than core because their aim is to build mathematical character that is often bruised or broken for students who qualify for intervention. Of all the behavioral aspects of the SMPs, perseverance or "grit" has emerged as one of the most influential characteristics of successful learners. While we may not be able to teach someone to be "more gritty" we can support them in acting more gritty, which leads to success and achievement (Farrington, 2012). I have developed and presented many versions of professional development for all types of audiences to share specific strategies for how we can support students to act grittier. I have received only positive and appreciative feedback from participants in my district and at regional and national conferences. Where I have worked closely with teachers to develop these practices, as reflected in my action research, success has reflected positively in the data. I look forward to learning more as I work more intimately within a Title 1-funded intervention framework in the 2017-18 school year.