Planning for Success in this week's Symphony Buzz...
Ideas to Grow Your Math Classroom
The Symphony Buzz
Planning for Success

The graph below shows real data from a school-wide implementation of Symphony Math during the 2016-17 school year. The blue bars show the percentage of 500+ students who used Symphony Math at least 45 minutes during each week. The green line shows the percentage of students working at or above grade level:

Didactic Contract

This is a model implementation that shows two important trends: consistent use and consistent progress. As a result of their effort, the K-5 school showed gains of 12 percentile points on our independent assessment of math ability, and reduced their at-risk population by more than 50%. This is a tremendous accomplishment that shows how a dedicated, group effort can have a lasting impact on student learning.


This story looks great in a graph, but we all know the reality of adding another piece to an already packed school day. New curriculua, changing standards, and time constraints continually challenge our ability to provide a consistent and effective tool for our math classroom.

What if you tried this?

Schools that have success with Symphony Math share three common characteristics. With proper planning and execution, you can guarantee results:

Step 1) Plan for at least 45 minutes of student use per week.

We recommend student sessions of 15 minutes at least 3 times per week. Students must be engaged with the content, and so sessions longer than 30 minutes are not recommended. The results shown above show very consistent use throughout most of the school year, and equates to about 20 hours of use per student. Students must be allocated the time to work each week, and this has to become part of the weekly schedule.

Step 2) Use the Symphony Math Dashboard.

Symphony Math is designed to be a tool for both students and teachers. When students struggle in the program, they appear in the HELP data view on the Symphony Math Dashboard. This data view provides both the background information and the offline materials that teachers can use to help students past their point of challenge. And, just like students, teachers need to reserve time each week to review data and plan instruction for struggling students.

Step 3) Extend Symphony Math ideas to your math classroom.

Visual modeling is a very powerful tool for mathematicians. Using models effectively takes practice and mentoring. When you encourage the use and discussion of visual math outside of Symphony Math, you are helping students 'transfer' their knowledge to new material. The 'demo mode' of Symphony Math is perfect for class-wide review and discussions of math if you have a electronic whiteboard. Just sign in to the student program with the word 'demo' in all three fields to access any part of the program with your class.

Change Isn't Easy

You have great tool available to help grow your math classroom. But in order to be successful, Symphony Math requires planning, consistency, and effort from all involved. Encourage discussions with your fellow teachers to explore how you can help each other make the program a success.

And don't forget to share! If you have examples or ideas that are helpful, use #symphonymath on Twitter.

And that's the Buzz: Enjoy your week!
The Symphony Buzz Follow @symphonymath
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