Are you smarter than a 5th grader in math?
We’ll bet on our scholars every time!
RCMA Math Coach Mandy Johnson used a program called STANDOUT Math as an inspiration to create a collection of about 50 chants plus songs and gestures to teach our elementary and middle school students.
STANDOUT Math is a program that combines oral, visual and kinesthetic aspects to achieve a whole brain math approach.
For example, if students have difficulty remembering the word “median,” they begin to clap to a beat and sing:
When you’re looking for the median, it’s very easily done
Put the numbers in order and circle the middle one.
“These techniques work really well with our English Language Learner scholars because they come to us with limited English,” Mandy says. “They find it useful to have a song combined with hand movements to remember math concepts.”
At the beginning of the year, she instructs scholars in grades 3-5 to create a composition notebook filled with math vocabulary in alphabetical order. Each word has a definition, an example and a picture. It’s like their own personal dictionary.
If they forget a word like “perpendicular,” they refer to their math journal created in their own handwriting.
The notebooks are marked from A to Z. Every time a word is used in math class, it is added to the composition notebook and students can use the glossary to refer to terms all year so they don’t forget.
How well does this approach work? The stats speak for themselves!
Our Wimauma Community Academy, which has 345 scholars, boasts many accomplishments. These include:
- 94% of last year’s 4th graders achieved a level 3 or higher on the FSA math (Florida Standards Assessment)
- Last year, Aaron Palacios, then a 3rd grader, achieved a perfect score on the FSA math and received a letter from the governor. He is on target to skip 5th grade math next year and take 6th grade math along with potentially five other 4th graders.
- This is our first year offering algebra to six 6th grade scholars in hopes they will end middle school with three years of high school math.
- Out of our 44 8th grade scholars, we have almost one third (13 scholars) taking geometry (29.5%) and 19 scholars (43%) taking algebra.
- We also have 17 very talented 5th graders taking 6th grade math. We hope to see them be the second cohort of 6th graders taking algebra next year.
Our Immokalee Community Academy, which has 282 scholars, also has students who perform extremely well in math. Highlights include:
- 71% of last year’s 3rd and 4th graders achieved a level 3 or higher on the FSA math (Florida Standards Assessment).
- Last year, Christian Quintero, then a 3rd grader, achieved a perfect score on the FSA math and received a letter from the governor.
- Our 2021 school year’s winter diagnostic displays that in 5th grade, 71% of students scored at or above grade level, and in 4th grade 73% of students.
- In our Spanish 2021 school year’s winter diagnostic, our 5th grades demonstrated 78% of the grade level scored at or above grade level.