After morning recess, students at A One-Room Schoolhouse start the math block. If you have read up on how the language arts block works, you are familiar with the three-center model used at A One-Room Schoolhouse. The math block uses the same type of model.
The Good and the Beautiful math has a wonderful video describing the math curriculum that we use at A One-Room Schoolhouse. I would encourage you to pop over to their website and watch both the “What Makes Our Math Curriculum Unique” video and “Math3+: How the Course Works” video.
Although this math curriculum is still in development, I can give my full endorsement of its contents. I have met the developer and used the released levels and can give strong backing to this innovative and comprehensive program.
As outlined on The Good and Beautiful website, the math curriculum includes ten fundamental features that make this program a cut above other programs.
- Living math: This math curriculum is full of stories, real-life situations, and tangible manipulatives. To provide interest and context, stories are intricately woven throughout the lessons. I love that even the independent practice worksheets are never just a list of problems. Every worksheet has a context or real-life scenario. Finally, every level has a kit of math manipulatives that support EACH lesson. Truly, I can say, this is a living, breathing math program.
- Faith-based and nature-based: Math is often thought of as a dry and isolated series of mental exercises. The Good and the Beautiful math is nothing like this. Each lesson finds connections and context in how God used the beauty of math to create this complex and amazing world.
- Arts: Music, painting, poetry, and literature are woven in to stimulate all the learning senses. What a joy it is to help students add, subtract, multiply and divide while using picture study, music, and stories.
- Cultural Awareness and Appreciation: Students study math as it is integrated into the lives of people and places throughout the world. Math is truly the language that can tie all people and places together.
- Academically solid: This math program exceeds the National Math Standards and all other competitive math curricula. You can look at a side-by-side comparison here.
- Strong number sense: Helping students understand numbers and how they are related to each other is so important. The Good and the Beautiful math teaches numerical visualization and relationship skills through innovative games, manipulatives, and purposeful practice.
- All learning styles: Whether your child is an auditory, visual, or kinesthetic learner, this program will meet that child’s learning needs. Children use manipulatives, engage in movement activities, read engaging stories, and explore through experimentation. MonsonSchoolhouse did a really nice video review of Math 1 which shows all of the different learning styles.
- Full color, open-and-go: This is something I love about The Good and the Beautiful’s curriculum: it is truly beautiful. It is not overly stimulating, busy, or too bold. It is peaceful, rich, and engaging in its presentation. The preparation is minimal as after the manipulatives are prepped and a few common objects are gathered: you are done! You can open the coursebook and work through the lesson with your child.
- Enjoyable to teach and fun to learn: This delightful curriculum uses games, puzzles, stories, and manipulatives to keep children interested and learning. When I am teaching from this curriculum I feel like a “fun mom” as it is such an enjoyable experience. (Yep, math is fun!)
- Mastery and spiral learning: This is the best! Although students are expected to master a concept in a given level, the concept is not abandoned at that point. The material is reviewed and built upon to ensure retention of the mastered material over time.
How do the levels work?
Unlike the language arts, the math levels align with national grade-level norms. The Good and the Beautiful plan to release levels Kindergarten through level 8. Level 7 will correspond to pre-algebra material and level 8 will correspond to algebra material. They do not plan to release high school level math at this time. To review the scope and sequence of the math curriculum click here.
I should note, however, that recently The Good and the Beautiful announced some changes to the original format of the upper levels. Originally levels 3 through 8 were going to be more computer-based. This has changed as this program will no longer have a computer-based portion.
Now, levels will increase in student independence much as the language arts lessons do. Starting at level 3, students will take on more of the lesson instruction by reading and exploring on their own. Although students with disabilities may always need more teacher guidance, many students will begin to function mostly independently by the final levels.
How does the math block work?
At A One-Room Schoolhouse, students move through their math lessons guided by their math checklist. After the morning recess, students have a one-hour math block when they move through their math checklist. To manage the flow of students and to ensure each student gets high-quality individualized instruction, students rotate through their checklists starting in different places than their peers.
The daily math checklist is comprised of teacher-led (red), parent volunteer-led (blue), and independent activities (green and purple). The teacher teaches the lesson material, the parent volunteer leads the student in practice activities, and the students have the opportunity to complete daily open-ended math exploration activities.
Every Good and Beautiful math lesson has four parts:
- Coursebook lesson ( 10 to 15 minutes)
- Daily dose (5 to 10 minutes)
- Independent practice (5 -12 minutes)
- Exploration activity (open-ended)
As far as order of activities, it is important that the coursebook lesson is completed before the independent practice worksheet. The other items can be done in any order.
For example, a student might start by doing their exploration activity for the first part of the math block, then be called over to do the daily dose with the parent volunteer, and then rotate to the teacher for their lesson. After finishing their lesson they can then complete their independent practice activity under the watchful eye of the teacher or parent volunteer.
The lower levels of math take less time than the upper levels of math to complete. So, fast finishers can do further open-ended math activities in the math box, play a math game, listen to musical multiplication, or start in on another lesson.
I am excited to see each new level as it is released. Sadly, some students who attend A One-Room Schoolhouse will be above the math levels that have been released by The Good and the Beautiful. When this is the case, the student will use Teaching Textbooks as their math curriculum.
It is anticipated that math levels K through 4 will be released by the start of the 2020-2021 school year. Math 5 will be released in 2021, most likely in the summer. Math 6, 7, and 8 do not have an exact release date yet, but at the 2019 convention presenters commented that two math levels would be released each year. So, Math 6 would be the fall of 2021 and math 7 and 8 would be during 2022.
I can’t wait to see the upper-level math programs come out! What do you think about The Good and the Beautiful’s math program?