As I observe teachers teaching in the middle school, the practices representing understanding of these concepts include teachers guiding students, and giving them the tools with which to explore and discover not only what the answer is, but why. For the 4th quarter, teachers move to geometry. Using interactive figures and manipulatives, we have students investigate how changing the height of a figure with a fixed width changes the area and how to represent this algebraically. Students are engaged in small groups, reflect on what they discover, and communicate their findings in a whole-group discussion. There is an emphasis on relevance; applying what you are learning to real situations and events. Most parents support these instructional strategies because students are actively learning; not just getting the correct answers on state assessment tests. Teachers spend time on prerequisite skills, such as computation, necessary for students to be successful in their class. Teachers communicate with parents in order to increase student achievement.
The Oakland Press Open Forum Blog Bytes - September 24, 2013