The University of Michigan and MDRC have been working to develop and evaluate a promising approach to kindergarten math instruction, called High 5s, since 2013. High 5s focuses on small group, hands-on games that are engaging, and that encourage math talk and reflection. The initial High 5s program took place during non-instructional time (e.g. before or after school), and was evaluated in 24 New York City public schools in 2015-16. The evaluation found positive impacts on children?s math skills and generated a great deal of interest in the program. However, wide-scale diffusion of an out-of-school model is expensive and logistically complicated. Since then, the project team has been working to develop and pilot a classroom-based model (TEAM High 5s) that will maintain many of the elements of the original program: the small-group format, the supplemental game-based curriculum, and training for teachers in the developmental progressions of mathematics learning (i.e., learning trajectories). The ultimate goal is to begin to change the instructional environment in kindergarten, particularly in under-resourced schools, by encouraging greater emphasis on developmentally appropriate, small-group, hands-on learning opportunities and ongoing, collaborative, and practice-based professional development as a way to improve student long-term success.
We are seeking funds from the Stranahan Foundation to help us develop a professional development program for teachers that will identify what teachers already do well and promote new practices to build their skills and confidence as exceptional math educators. After an initial training, we envision a series of modular, teacher-led sessions organized as Professional Learning Communities (PLCs), occurring approximately six times during the school year. PLCs will allow reflection on the integration of theory and research with the everyday actions and challenges encountered in the classroom. Focus groups and observations of PLCs will be used to evaluate and refine the program over an 18-month period.
07/01/2021 to 03/31/2023