All classes utilize a scope and sequence of skills and concepts based on the national Common Core Standards. Each grade level has a specific set of benchmarks on which teachers base year-long curriculum planning. While there are no school-wide adopted math textbooks, teachers pull from a wide variety of resources, such as Singapore Math and Kahn Academy (online), to create a balanced instructional approach. Hands-on manipulatives are used by students at every level in math classes to help bridge the gap between the concrete and the abstract. Teachers use a wide range of instructional strategies, including math centers, web-based learning, partner and small group projects, one-on-one instruction, and so on, to meet the needs of each individual math student. Mental math strategies and problem solving strategies are introduced and developed at every level.
In ‘Ohi’a class, children begin to gain an understanding of mathematical ideas. For that understanding to be meaningful, children need to be able to integrate and connect a variety of concepts in many different ways. The effective use of manipulatives helps children connect ideas and integrate their knowledge so that they gain a deep understanding of mathematical concepts.
Koai’a mathematics is taught with a centers approach. Students work through a series of math centers, targeting skills specific to the current unit of study, such as measurement, place value or graphing, as well as addressing ongoing skills, such as:
- Problem-solving strategies
- Mental Math
- Basic Facts Practice
- Use of charts and graphs
In Koa class, mathematics is taught both through direct instruction of specific computational skills and through the application of those skills in problem solving exercises. Students learn and practice computational skills and problem solving strategies and then apply those concepts to solve problems. Small class size allows students to work closely with teachers and peers and allows the teacher to address the specific needs of each individual student and challenge each appropriately.
Memorization of basic math facts is our goal, but memorization that comes from ongoing practice and engagement with math facts tasks, not memorization that comes from traditional drill and practice. Students benefit from varied opportunities to explore basic math facts designed to promote automatic recall. Through hands-on activities, direct teaching of strategies, and thoughtful discussions, students develop deeper understandings about math facts. They then build on strategies related to these basic facts to work increasingly challenging problems.