**Connecting the Dots**

March 1, 2017

Connecting the Dots

You've used Symphony Math in your math classroom. Your students are using the program consistently, and they are making progress through the Stages. You look at your Dashboard, and maybe print out some materials for struggling students. But for the most part, Symphony Math is just another online program, and it hasn't made it's way into your every day teaching.

Wait...

Like all effective interventions, technology should promote and improve the use of 'best practices' in our classrooms. In Symphony Math, our 'best practice' is providing different ways to visualize the Big Ideas in number sense. We do this by modeling math in many different ways: dot cards, number bars, number lines, and grids are used extensively throughout the program.

But the real power of Symphony Math comes when teachers and students use these practices outside the program. Watch this 2-minute video where Karin Walsh Fortin explains how she uses the Symphony Math Guided Practice worksheets to extend a student's understanding of a critical math skill:

What if you tried this?

There are many ways to use Symphony Math to help students extend their understanding of math outside of the program. Here are just a few ideas that you can try in your classroom:

Use the Guided Practice Materials for small group work. Your Dashboard recommends worksheets for struggling students, but you have access to all worksheets for all skills covered in Symphony Math. Have students build models and justify their solutions using unifix cubes, counters, and drawings.

Use Demo Mode for a full-class exercise using your electronic whiteboard. Go to mysymphonymath.com and type 'demo' into all three sign in fields. Choose a section and task block (blue buttons) to try tasks from a particular area in the program. Have one student come up and solve a task, then have a different student come up and justify (explain) the solution.

Challenge students to make their own story problems. Give them starters if necessary. For example: "Create a math story that describes a whole of 25 broken up into at least two parts. Choose and build a model and a number sentence for your story."

Change Isn't Easy

New behaviors take time. Be patient with yourself and your students. Remember that the discussions that take place after mistakes are often the most important. That's when we all start to learn!

New Feature: Weekly Time Goal

The latest release of Symphony Math (7.2.40) contains our usual small fixes and revisions, but also adds a new feature to student Game Boards: a weekly time indicator. As students use the program each week (through Sunday night), the indicator will animate around the circle. One full revolution equals 45 minutes of use, which is our recommendation for every student.

Note: time is recorded whenever a student completes a task in Symphony Math. There is no time recorded for partial tasks, so encourage your students to finish their work on a task before exiting the program.