How Zearn Changed My Teaching
Zearn has changed the way I teach math because it provides the blended learning experience I was looking for. Students get the fluency and initial practice needed that always took up so much of our class time. Now, I can spend my time planning higher cognitive demand tasks for small group lessons, so that all students get access to high level work. Zearn also provides my students an opportunity to work at their own pace through the lessons. My only wish was that the Zearn/Eureka materials provided more extension work for the learners who need more challenge, such as a collaborative space for team problem solving projects. Overall, I think the Zearn-Eureka combination is an incredibly powerful curriculum that I am confident will serve my students well.
How I Use It
I teach a class of 20 third graders. During a normal math lesson, I have half the class working in Zearn at their own pace and the other half working with me in a small group lesson. I use the reports to help determine where students need support, and I focus the majority of my small group lesson on problem solving, reasoning, sense-making, and conceptual understanding. I typically have to modify the small group lesson materials in order to increase cognitive demand and provide opportunities for students to approach problems in their own ways. I tried having the two groups rotate halfway through my math block (60 minutes), but with the 15 minutes it takes for the whole-class warm-ups, I found that the remaining 45 minutes wasn't enough time for a meaningful lesson. So, now the groups rotate every other day. This has worked much better for our purposes.