Have You Tried a Priorities Sandwich?

Regardless of how much you’ve used Get More Math, you know the importance of reviewing and revisiting old skills taught to students. One of the most common complaints that teachers have in regard to their students learning is the lack of retention. Students do very well understanding material presented to them today, but they often fall short in retaining this material over time. How can we continue to introduce new material to students and find the time to constantly review old material? This concept is one of the main components of Get More Math. GMM is always putting students in a position where previous skills are built in and automatically reviewed.

As a trainer of GMM, I emphasize how important it is to create lessons where students can show initial mastery. However, it is even more important that teachers are providing students with plenty of time to practice previous concepts in the cumulative review sessions we call mixed review. At the end of class, we want all students to be working in mixed review, which may require the teacher to “push” the entire class into priorities (mixed review). Sometimes, the new skill is challenging or has a multistep problem which requires more time, or maybe we have a student that simply works at a slower pace. This makes it impossible to spend quality time in mixed review. But not working in mixed review is unthinkable – this is where real gains are made. It’s the butter on the bread!

Have you ever thought about starting the class in mixed review? Turn the status of your class to priorities and let the students begin there. As they enter the room, have them login and complete problems in mixed review as a warm-up, bell ringer, do now, etc. Giving them time to do this accomplishes two main objectives:

One: it allows you, the teacher, to take care of business – addressing absentees, taking attendance, having conversations with individual students, etc.

Two: it gives students the ability to work in that mixed review section, which is essential to their success. Beginning with priorities guarantees the student will have that needed time to work in mixed review, even if there is an uncertainty about them reaching it at the end of the class.

Better still, if students are working in mixed review at the beginning of class AND they reach it at the end of class, you have created the perfect “priorities sandwich.” Give your students the opportunity to taste succeed!