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Part 1: Resources About Unfinished Learning in Mathematics

Updated: May 24, 2021

Welcome to the 3 part blog series, Planning for Unfinished Learning in Mathematics for 21-22… and how we can bridge the gap!

The inspiration for this series came from my work as an independent math intervention specialist for CollaboratEd. Two of my client districts both asked for this information to be delivered as a workshop for their teachers. The workshops have been AMAZING! One teacher left the following comment on our feedback survey,

“All of the videos were incredibly useful!! This class empowered me with the knowledge and direction on how I will ‘bridge the gap’ from the past years. I feel confident that I can bring my students to complete all required learning and empower them with the confidence and knowledge that each student should ultimately attain.”

Reviews like this mean so much to me. While my workshops go far more in depth and include additional ready to use resources, I wanted to share more on this topic for all teachers and make the information available in this blog series. I hope you enjoy it.

I want to make clear my thoughts and feelings about the terms “unfinished learning” and “learning loss” in regards to the pandemic.

First, I don’t think “unfinished learning” is new to us as math teachers who teach students who have struggled in mathematics. I cannot think of one year of my teaching career where my 9th grade Algebra 1 students came to me knowing how to solve one and two step equations (7th grade content). Sure, the “gaps” will likely be deeper and wider than years past, but it’s not a new concept.

Second, I don’t think “unfinished learning” is the fault of the student or the teacher. Learning is only “unfinished” if we’re measuring against some unknown standard of what we “should have” finished during a global pandemic.

Lastly, I encourage all of us to take an asset minded approach instead of a deficit minded approach about what skills our students are coming to us with in 21-22 and beyond. The term “learning loss” does not help us to think of our students with an asset minded approach and so I won’t be using that term in our series.

Here’s an overview of where we’ll go in this series...

  • Part 1: Resources about unfinished learning

  • Part 2: Prioritizing content

  • Part 3: Identify gaps

3 Resources to Help Better Understand Unfinished Learning

Of all of the articles I provided for my clients during their workshops, this was by far the most helpful and raved about option. Author, Chrissy Allison, eloquently and succinctly describes the importance and place of social emotional learning in our math classrooms in 21-22 and beyond.

Let me just put this out there, this is a video promoting a curriculum. MathLinks Essentials is a curriculum for 6th-8th grade mathematics and no, I’m not receiving any sort of compensation for sharing this. I’m sharing this because the way that Mark from MathLinks visually explains how to focus on the major work of the grade and integrate the major work of the prior grade is really helpful for all of us to see! You can start the video at 3:50 and just watch 1 minute if you’re pressed for time. Be sure to check out their streamlined Major Works Doc too!

With Jo Boaler as a co-author, this report is a must read. It provides a narrative on research-based best practices across four categories: technology, assessment, curriculum, and pedagogy. While it was written for the 20-21 school year, I find the suggestions to still be relevant for the 21-22 school year and beyond.

Next up in the series

The next post in this 3-part blog series will be covering how to identify the priority content of your grade level and what content is okay to leave behind in 21-22. Make sure you subscribe to my email list so you don’t miss it when it comes out!

Let’s connect!

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