Hello friends! 🙂

So excited to share about how differently teaching money to my learners was this year, than last year. I’ve introduced a stronger standards based approach with my kids and I now hear and see more depth from them than I did before using this method. Let me break down what I’ve been doing.

The first thing I do with my students when I am beginning a new unit is to break down the standard. Depending on how big the standard is, I will either take a part of it to teach, or the whole thing.

With money, we broke the standard up. The Florida Standard for teaching money reads like this:

MAFS.1.MD.2.a. Identify and combine values of money in cents up to one dollar working with a single unit of currency.

a. Identify the value of coins (pennies, nickels, dimes, quarters).

b. Compute the value of combinations of coins (pennies and/or dimes).

c. Relate the value of pennies, dimes, and quarters to the dollar.

(Students are not expected to understand the decimal notation for combinations of dollars and cents.)

We do money in our calendar time every day, so, the majority of my students were proficient at recognizing the value of coins. What we needed to work on was the second and third component of the standard.

You can see that this student reflected that even with my help they didn’t think that they could add up different kinds of coins. At the beginning of a unit this tells me that I need to first remediate and scaffold up to what is necessary to complete the goal. With this student, I started with coin recognition–both heads and tails. Then, we moved into values. She went from a 0 to a 2.

This student here thinks they are between a 2 and a 3. That means that they probably feel strong in some parts of it…and incredibly weak in others. When I talked to this student, she said she wasn’t good with combining quarters to anything else, so…she was between a 2 and a 3. I told her after to go with 2 and we would solidly move into 3 with instruction. She finished as a 4.

As soon as we broke apart the standard, then I made some smaller goals for the children to work towards in order to achieve the major goal from the standard. This is a valuable component to using this structure to teach your students. When they have smaller chunks that they know they have mastery of, then they start to articulate what they still need help with and can be paired with other students who have mastered what they are lacking.

Once my students tell me where they feel like they are in the process of getting to the standard, I pull them into small groups to work on what they feel they do not know. Basically, we’re talking about skills based practice here. I start with my Level 0 and 1 students. We go over things that would lead up to the standard. So, for example, in that group I worked on naming the coins…which would come before knowing the value. We looked at the front and the back and talked about the distinctions. Once they were there, then I could move forward. In the other groups, we worked on the individual chunks until they felt that they ‘had it’ and could move on to something else.

One of the best parts of teaching in this way is preparing other students to lead. So much research is out there that says that when students teach other students they deepen their own understanding of content. It has been a joy to see students step up and lead one another in amazing ways! Often, I will follow up with students who were coached to ask what their student teacher said that made an impact. Often I will go over scores on mini-quizzes with student teachers to discuss how their ‘students’ performed. Any student who shows that they are a Level 4 can work with other students in the class.

All the mini quizzes are four questions. They can either be done on white boards or on paper that is folded into four. The mini-quizzes help students evaluate their progress towards the goal. The fourth question is always a ‘stretch’ question, and they expect it to be hard. This was the mini quiz I did before giving the students instruction. The substitute attempted to give it to them in my absence, but she only asked them to identify the coins. She didn’t ask them to tell the values. So, I gave it to them a second time…the SAME quiz. The large 3 indicates that this student was a 3 at naming coins. He was a 2 at counting them. He missed adding three quarters, and then combining nickels and dimes on the fourth one…which is the essence of the standard. So, on his journal book , he circled 2, because he was a 2 at the concept of counting coins.

Students can be a Level 4 at components of the goal, and still not have the entire standard mastered. I love teaching this way, and I don’t think I’ll go back to doing it another way. My students are highly engaged and they are making such good progress towards deepening their understanding and attaining mastery.

I’ve really loved getting into more deeply rooted standards based instruction. It really gives me the greatest impact on my small group time when both the students and I can identify what is known from what is unknown. This was a fairly easy thing to implement because it didn’t require worksheets or copies. I had them write and reflect in their journals or on their mini-quizzes. Good stuff for sure.