By Kim Hardwick and Sheri Rodman
As part of the Bring Your Legislator To School Day initiative in New York, Kim Hardwick, one of the founders of the program, hosted Assemblymember Fred Thiele at Clayton Huey Elementary School on Long Island. During the visit Thiele observes math instruction in action. The day began with a discussion with two grade 5 students where the conversation included assessments as well as comfort with instruction. Next was a visit to a Kindergarten class where children were discovering how to compose numbers using manipulatives and a ten frame.
Afterwards, the Assemblymember visited multiple fourth grade classrooms where flexible math groups are utilized to differentiate instruction and meet the needs of the various learners within the grade level. The final observation took place in a grade 2 physical education class where physical activities are paired with math concepts to reinforce student understanding. The experience was beneficial to all involved and concluded with a discussion with the grade 4 teaching team on the recent educational reforms and the critical roles we all play in the implementation of them. Most importantly, the educators hope that relationships are being established so they can serve as successful supports to one another as they work toward meeting the same goal--strengthening education for ALL children.