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Research has shown a pattern of summer learning loss, particularly among low-income youths. Lack of access to high-quality summer learning programs negatively impacts the academic achievement, health, and social development of children, particularly in high-poverty communities. Students in middle- and higher-income households still lose an average of one to two months of learning each summer. So, what can educators do to lessen or eliminate summer slide?
For classroom teachers, time is the most precious resource. Every choice we make is an opportunity cost. If we spend five minutes reviewing homework, then we didn’t spend five minutes teaching new content. This blog will review strategies to help maximize instructional time. Although these ideas could be used across subjects, I’m specifically using math examples.
For educators, the most important task and often the most challenging, is to ensure every student succeeds to the very best of her/his ability. Understanding that, educators recognize the importance of offering quality instruction, best practices, and instructional materials that have been shown to achieve the outcomes required for that student population. It is incumbent upon decision makers to select from among those instructional materials that already offer evidence of those outcomes.
There is a common tendency today to link higher math standards for our students with the kind of achievement we see in other countries. A complementary thread is to link high standards in math to the broad trends in our ever-changing, information economy. By implication, we need to ensure all students are proficient in this discipline.
In the early days of research as a co-author of Voyager Sopris Learning’s TransMath, I spent a lot of time observing struggling math students in the classroom. I soon discovered these students had much more than a deficit in math content knowledge. They also had lost all confidence in their ability to learn math.
So, what is this fidelity of implementation thing? Simply put, fidelity of implementation describes the extent to which delivery of an instructional practice adheres to the protocol on which it was developed or field tested. Or as my father liked to say when I was fiddling with assembling models as a kid, “Do it the way the instructions say.”
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