I was honoured to spend two days with Donna Boucher who I have ‘known’ for quite a number of years via the collaborative space on the internet. Donna is the teacher behind Math Coach’s Corner. She has a terrific blog ( http://www.mathcoachscorner.com ) and Facebook group (https://www.facebook.com/MathCoachsCorner/?fref=nf) and is now very active on Twitter (https://twitter.com/MathCoachCorner)
Donna is a maths interventionist and previously a maths instructional coach. She teachers at Morton Elementary School in Katy, which is west of downtown Houston. Donna was instrumental in me meeting amazing teachers demonstrate their maths workshops across three schools. Katy is a rapidly growing area and all 3 schools are relatively new. Donna tells me Katy is the fastest growing zip code in the USA. They are amazing school buildings with fabulous facilities. Each of these schools have over 1000 students.
Day 1 -I spent with Maths Instructional Coach Jennifer Perez at Alexander Elementary School. She introduced me to the two Pre-K classes which team teach. From there I visited all the Kindergarten, Grade 1 and Grade 2 classes following their maths timetable.
What I enjoyed listening and discussing with Jennifer was her role as and Instructional Coach – very like our IL’s in Ea4S schools. The school has 2 maths interventionist who work in the classrooms or withdrawal. They also have and literacy coach and 1 interventionist. Jennifer has the responsibility of running PDR ( Professional Development Rotations) -DAILY PD sessions with the staff from 8.30am-9.20am -Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays. One grade level a day. Each grade get a session once a fortnight. K-5 – no Grade 6 they are at the middle school over the road with Grade 7. Mondays and Fridays are afternoon PD sessions with a representative from each grade on a subject area to get a whole school perspective on content, assessment and development. They then have the responsibility of sharing that with their grade at team meetings.
Day 2 -I spent with Donna at Morton Ranch School in the morning and then the afternoon at James Randolph Elementary School with their Maths Instructional Coach Mandy Wendt. Interestingly they also block their classes from Grade 1 to grade 5. Two teachers share two classes. One teacher has the teaching load of Maths, Science and Social Studies. The other teacher has ELA (English Language Arts) They swap half way thought the day. Mandy also runs PDRs on three days and vertical meetings Mondays and Fridays. There are specialist teachers for Art, Music, PE who cover the teachers when at PDR sessions and their other RFF times.
Mandy, myself and Donna
My aim was to look at the organisation of math workstations, teacher explicit instructions, program and monitoring over the two days. I saw fabulous small group instruction, number talks, problem solving, independent workstations, maths all over the class environment, anchor charts, a bilingual (Spanish) class and much much more. Here are some of my favourite photos. Many are good examples of different organisational groupings – menu and rotations.
Thank you SO much Donna for a wonderful two days in Katy. You are a truly knowledgable and passionate teacher and I have been blessed to have had this opportunity to now ‘know’ you in person and also see where you work.
I enjoyed meeting the staff and working the kids!!!!