La Crescenta Elementary is conducting a five-week summer school program for fifth grade students who will be entering the sixth grade this fall. Teachers Nicolas James from Lincoln Elementary and Kimberly Cruce from Verdugo Woodlands are the two teachers who are piloting the math class. They have students from Lincoln, Dunsmore, La Crescenta, Valley View, Monte Vista, Fremont, Glenoaks and Verdugo Woodlands elementary schools enrolled in this program. The class – called Math 5 Essentials – is a program that was created by GUSD math experts Valerie Henderson and Lisa Reed.
Math 5 Essentials is a unique program that incorporates a variety of teaching modalities in the classroom. Students begin the day with a teacher-taught lesson based on the Common Core Standards. The twist is that the teachers then incorporate real-life examples of the subject matter using the three-step math problem graphic organizer, watching math videos or utilizing other hands-on and/or presentational steps directly related to the lesson plan’s stated objective.
Another big difference is the use of technology in the classroom. Students use Chromebook tablets about one-third of the class time to work on i-Ready math lessons that are specifically designed for each student’s math needs.
The students’ reaction to their summer school program has been very positive. Daniel Kim and Kayla Garcia said they enjoy using the Chromebooks during class time. Student Christian Chavira said that he liked that there are only 20 students in his class because it is a lot quieter.
By concentrating on the Common Core math standards and using a variety of different strategies James and Cruce said they feel that their summer school students will have a solid math foundation before entering the sixth grade when GUSD public schools resume class on Aug. 10.
Contributed by Nicolas JAMES