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Sixth Grade Math and Mathspace

September 16, 2020 | Melissa McCallihan

For years sixth grade math had been a transitional stage from the Investigations curriculum of kindergarten through fifth grade, to seventh and eighth grade algebra. Sixth grade students honed their skill at algorithmic operations while deepening their understanding of percent, graphing, and rational numbers.

While the goals for sixth grade mathematics are the same. This year, as a part of our hybrid learning model, middle school students are using the Australian-based online learning application called Mathspace. Mathspace is an adaptive learning platform that gives instant feedback on student work and helps the student with each step of the problem solving with hints, videos and text information. As each student progresses, the learning is individualized and differentiated to meet their need in mathematics.

As a teacher, who loves math, I’m excited about the focus on the process of solving problems. Often I have heard people say, “I love math because there is only one right answer.” While this is true, there are many paths to the answer, and for me that is the exciting part. Seeing the way students think has transformed my mathematics teaching. Mathspace helps me see how my students are processing mathematics even when I’m not in the room with them. That’s a gift!

You may want to check out Mathspace for yourself at this link or log on with your student. If you have any wonderings or questions, please don’t hesitate to contact me.

Melissa McCallihan

Teacher, Grade 6; Science Grades 6-8

Teaching children to take risks and fail well is important to Melissa McCallihan, who has taught for over 30 years. She believes children learn as much through their failures as they do through their successes. She celebrates both in her classroom. In collaboration with the middle school director, art teacher, and other fourth and fifth grade teachers, Mrs. McCallihan has been instrumental in developing the STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics) program, an extension of the Lower School’s Shared Space model. “STEAM is where students solve problems and sometimes get it wrong,” says Mrs. McCallihan when asked about risks and failing well. “Students need to learn how to do that with grace, and to try again with grit and determination.” Mrs. McCallihan currently teaches sixth through eighth grade science.

Mrs. McCallihan cares deeply about relationships with her colleagues, students, and families. She works hard to make and maintain connections on a personal and professional level. And follows the mantra “Worship God, Love All.”

When not at school, you can find Mrs. McCallihan searching out a fantastic restaurant or hidden sight to see in New York City.

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