I didn’t teach math at The New Community School — I taught “Language Fundamentals” to 1-2 students at a time. However, math was taught with equal emphasis on multisensory learning principles: concrete to abstract, leaving nothing to chance.
I did, however, work with students in the afternoon “extra help” period, where the more independent students worked on homework in big groups, but others would get 1:1 or 1:2 help. This included reading and dictation support (you talk, I type)… and help with math. I got to hear basically *every* student say they were sure they should have a higher placement in math.
I do have a memory of, perhaps, a workshop (every. single. Wednesday. is a half day with afternoons dedicated to professional development – it’s a full day for teachers) where we were all told “every percent problem in the world can be solved with this proportion: is/of = %/100.” Then we worked through how to figure out the “is” — the part — and the “of” elements.
I’m confident that the concept of proportions was properly explored in all its concrete glory. I wish I had sneaked a visit or two… I have been wondering whether using common units might be a useful bridge. 1 foot: 2 feet might be more obviously equivalent to 12 inches: 24 inches… I have sometimes seen the light go on when I talk about tests with 10 or 20 questions onthem, and how a 9/10 would be equivalent to 90/100… and 5/10 would be equivalent to 10/20…
Here’s my mad hope: to get to that *this week.*