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Wednesday, August 26, 2009

School Math Program Statement

I have been tapped to write up my school's math program statement. Much of this is true and other parts are what I wish to see more often, both in other classes as well as my own. It was very useful and very difficult to write a coherent piece and it still needs work. I would love your input.

Math permeates The San Francisco School’s culture. It is considered a powerful tool to decipher the patterns that abound in our physical and social worlds. From cooking to dancing; hard work to pleasure, life is full of values we use to describe our physical and social worlds. Because of this, students not only learn mathematics in rigorous math classes, but also in classes with other names, such as art, science, music and physical education.

Our teachers believe that all students can learn challenging math concepts. Our teachers do not simply impart facts; they are keen observers, sympathetic listeners, and skilled facilitators who ensure that each student is challenged. They create a positive learning environment conveying confidence in students' capabilities. They set high academic standards. They create an intellectual environment where imaginative engagement in mathematical thinking is the norm. They strive to find a beautiful balance between conceptual and procedural knowledge.

Our students are active in their learning, confident in their ability to ask questions, tackle problems, explore ideas, persevere when tasks are challenging and explain their thinking in oral or written form in collaboration with peers. They construct new ideas by moving from specific examples to general principles. They justify their reasoning by explaining to the teacher and peers what approaches they tried, what worked, and what didn't. By combining factual knowledge, procedural facility, and conceptual understanding, students develop a rich foundation from which they can develop mathematical insight and creativity while also appreciating the inherent beauty of mathematics itself.

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