School District Elementary School Middle High School Staff Only

A Day in the Life of the Math Lead Teacher

Editors Note: This year The Pittsfield Schools have used federal stimulus money through the American Recovery and Revitalization Act to hire two one-year specialists who are charged with training teachers and supporting students who need extra help. Ms. Harvey, a fifth-grade classroom teacher with a graduate degree in mathematics is our new Math Lead Teacher.

What does a math lead teacher do? When I agreed to leave my classroom and take on that role I wasn’t sure what to expect. And although the job is still evolving, my days are beginning to settle into somewhat of a routine.

Mornings, 8:30-9:30 especially, are a popular time for math instruction. If a teacher has asked me to look in on a particular lesson, I schedule that into my day. If not, I check my log and join a class that I haven’t visited in a while.

Today, I decided to join a second grade classroom. I observed as the lesson’s objective was introduced and then floated around the room to support the students’ work.

At ten o’clock I moved on to a sixth grade classroom where I had been invited to help out with a Differentiated Instruction (DI) day. During a DI day the class splits into different groups and each group works on a particular skill, either with extra practice or enrichment. The groups change as the students’ needs change. I got to work with five students, three of which were my former fifth graders! We worked through methods for finding perimeter, and the different number models that can be used to represent that work.

Next, it was back downstairs to a third grade class. The class was working on probability. We had a great time discussing the probability that it would rain chocolate milk. Afterwards, the teacher and I discussed how the lesson went, and I shared my observations of the students’ understanding.

Later, I took some time to meet with a special education case manager about how to best support a student during math class. Together we brainstormed possibilities for making the curriculum more accessible for this student. I’m looking forward to seeing the outcome.

I spent the rest of the afternoon looking at results from the NWEA testing. The results are being used to help identify students who would benefit from morning math groups. It’s exciting to start organizing these groups. Once the groups start, on October 19th, I’ll be adding that to my routine.

My role is somewhat fluid; I go where the needs of the students lead me. But whether it’s working hands-on in the classroom, collaborating with colleagues, or taking care of administrative pieces, there’s one thing I can say for sure: the job is never dull.

By Danielle Harvey

PES Math Lead Teacher