Previewing in Math: Using Instructional Strategies in the Classroom

I Can Do It

I have had the privilege of working with Dr. Rene Spry and her teachers at Oxford Elementary School in Catawba County. After attending Accelerating Learning with Previewing training, she recruited a few select teachers and began implementing Previewing this year. After visiting her school and hearing about the impact of Previewing, I followed up with a few questions that David Ryhal, a 5th grade Math teacher, answered through email. This is his take.

How have you incorporated Previewing?

“This year I have incorporated previewing a couple of ways. We start out by reading the new standard and talking about what we think the standard is asking us to learn. I have the students decode the standard and find words that they don’t understand before we start previewing. Then we break down the vocabulary. Then we discuss its definition and the importance of knowing each word to help us understand the standard. I try to have the students make the standard their own by rewriting it for themselves. This gives them ownership of the topic. “

What impact has Previewing had on the students?

“The students getting the previewing are now more willing to share in whole group conversations. Some of the students never talked in class and would never share, even if they had the right answer. By having some prior knowledge they have opened up and are feeling more successful. I even had students wanting to teach the lessons with me and even for me because they felt that confident about what they had learned. The students’ communication among each other has increased. It really has given the students confidence to speak up and be more willing to try new things.”

How do you decide what to focus on?

“During our previewing sessions, we focus on what the students see as a need, and they lead where the session goes through our math talks and previous knowledge of supporting standards. I also listen to their partner talks to help me guide my instruction. This helps give me an understanding of their vocab for the topic and if there are any misconceptions. Because of previewing small groups in the morning, it has helped me become a better teacher. I feel more prepared for the upcoming day / week. It also has changed my teaching to do more previewing of vocab in class which helps build a stronger foundation. I think what I love the most is the eagerness of the students to be here every morning. I have other students asking to join all the time.”

Continue learning about Previewing by reading: Accelerate Learning: How Do You Move Them Forward Quickly and Effectively?

Don Marlett

Don has been an educator for 20+ years. Before joining Learning-Focused, he taught High School and Middle School Science and was a school administrator. Don has participated in school evaluations focused on implementing High-Yield Strategies. In addition, he partnered with various state DOEs to support leaders and presented at numerous conferences hosted by multiple leadership organizations in Florida, NC, Ohio, WV, TN, and KY. Don leads product development, provides leadership training and coaching, and coaches educators in the implementation of High-Yield strategies.

Leave a Comment