## ~ Oceanside Unified School District ~

## Santa Margarita K-8 Summer Math Academy

for incoming 6th graders

- Dates: June 27 - July 7, 2023
- Students: 11 incoming 6th graders
- Teachers: Trang Vu, Jennifer Levine

*Fig. 9. Teachers and incoming sixth grade students from two OUSD K-8 schools at Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton participated in this year’s professional development and Summer Math Academies. With nearly 100 percent of students from military families attending these schools, approximately 60% are considered socioeconomically disadvantaged.*

The third Math for America San Diego Summer Math Academy for Oceanside Unified School District’s middle school students at U.S. Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton was held June 27 - July 7 at Santa Margarita Elementary (K-8). Eleven incoming sixth graders from Santa Margarita and North Terrace Elementary K-8 schools attended the Summer Math Academy at Santa Margarita. Nearly 60% of students at these two schools are considered low-income/high need and nearly 100% of them are from military-connected families.

“This year’s Summer Math Academy students at Santa Margarita received an incredible educational experience from two high-quality math teachers,” said Dr. Osvaldo “Ovie” Soto, Math for America San Diego executive director. “Our service men and women’s families deserve this level of educational support for their students.”

“This year’s Summer Math Academy students at Santa Margarita received an incredible educational experience from two high-quality math teachers,” said Dr. Osvaldo “Ovie” Soto, Math for America San Diego executive director. “Our service men and women’s families deserve this level of educational support for their students.”

Summer Math Academy Teachers

Trang Vu, a mathematics teacher at Marston Middle School in San Diego Unified School District and an MfA SD Master Teaching Fellowship alumna, and Jennifer Levine, a mathematics and science teacher at OUSD’s North Terrace Elementary (K-8), taught the academy.

Teresa Collis, OUSD career technical education coordinator and former principal at Oceanside High School, was responsible for overseeing the additional funding and support for the middle school Summer Math Academy. The entire district has a high percentage of K-12 military students and families.

Content Focus

This year’s middle school academy focused on improving students’ mathematical reasoning with fractions and ratios. Students explored the meaning of fractions and ratios; applying their knowledge to a range of math tasks in this domain.

“Middle school is where we see students lose interest and confidence in math, mostly by failing to understand proportional reasoning,” Soto said. “At this juncture--entering middle school--the nature of arithmetic operations changes, as students transition from basic ways of solving math problems to tackling a greater and more complex range of problems involving different components and interpretations. We’re committed to offering the Summer Math Academy to OUSD’s incoming sixth graders.”

Trang Vu, a mathematics teacher at Marston Middle School in San Diego Unified School District and an MfA SD Master Teaching Fellowship alumna, and Jennifer Levine, a mathematics and science teacher at OUSD’s North Terrace Elementary (K-8), taught the academy.

Teresa Collis, OUSD career technical education coordinator and former principal at Oceanside High School, was responsible for overseeing the additional funding and support for the middle school Summer Math Academy. The entire district has a high percentage of K-12 military students and families.

Content Focus

This year’s middle school academy focused on improving students’ mathematical reasoning with fractions and ratios. Students explored the meaning of fractions and ratios; applying their knowledge to a range of math tasks in this domain.

“Middle school is where we see students lose interest and confidence in math, mostly by failing to understand proportional reasoning,” Soto said. “At this juncture--entering middle school--the nature of arithmetic operations changes, as students transition from basic ways of solving math problems to tackling a greater and more complex range of problems involving different components and interpretations. We’re committed to offering the Summer Math Academy to OUSD’s incoming sixth graders.”

Exploring Fractions

As a warm-up for Day 2 math activities, teachers led a fast-paced variation of ‘Rock, Paper, Scissors’ with addition and multiplication as a way to start the thinking process and ready the students to learn.

From there, Vu kicked off the day’s work by asking students to fold a piece of paper into thirds. “When you fold the paper we want three parts,” Vu said. “We want them to be equal.” After completing the task, the class was led through a discussion of “How do you know they are equal?”. Vu asked students to explain “how they knew” their paper was folded into three sections and to share their answers with their elbow partners.

“How do you know that you’ve folded the paper this way? What action causes that to happen?” she asked. When a student labeled one section “a half,” Vu asked, “Is this section half of the two sections? You need to explain what it’s half of,” she said. (See the 1:35 video here.)

As a warm-up for Day 2 math activities, teachers led a fast-paced variation of ‘Rock, Paper, Scissors’ with addition and multiplication as a way to start the thinking process and ready the students to learn.

From there, Vu kicked off the day’s work by asking students to fold a piece of paper into thirds. “When you fold the paper we want three parts,” Vu said. “We want them to be equal.” After completing the task, the class was led through a discussion of “How do you know they are equal?”. Vu asked students to explain “how they knew” their paper was folded into three sections and to share their answers with their elbow partners.

“How do you know that you’ve folded the paper this way? What action causes that to happen?” she asked. When a student labeled one section “a half,” Vu asked, “Is this section half of the two sections? You need to explain what it’s half of,” she said. (See the 1:35 video here.)

*Ms. Vu and Dr. Guershon Harel, UC San Diego distinguished mathematics professor and director of this year’s OUSD Summer Institute for teachers, listen as a student explains how she reached her solution.*

“Attending to interpretation is vital in a math class,” Vu said later. “Asking students to explain their thinking is a powerful way to learn and to develop skills necessary for defending and proving mathematical reasoning. By explaining their reasoning, students also see how other students are thinking.”

*“It’s important that students recognize making sense is reasoning,” Ms. Collis stated.*

One objective this summer was to develop student fluency with fractions. A series of open-ended, low-floor/high-ceiling visual pattern problems were used to teach students to add, subtract, multiply, and divide fractions. Students also learned the importance of understanding the relationship between the numerator and denominator, which builds a foundation for ratio reasoning.

*A student stretches before tackling another of Ms. Vu’s math problems.*

Students moved from the paper folding exercise to a math task featuring 24 cookies to understand how numbers can be manipulated and explore different ways to reach the same solution.

“Describe how you see half of the cookies,” Vu began. “Then show your box of cookies to your table and see how your cookies are the same - or are different.” After some discussion, students were asked to write down three math equations to represent half of the cookies.

Students were prompted to verbalize what the numbers in their equations meant to help deepen their comprehension. “Twenty-four divided by two equals two. Where are the 24, the 2, and the 12?” Vu asked. “Write what 24 means, what 12 means, what 2 means, and what does that mean?”

“Describe how you see half of the cookies,” Vu began. “Then show your box of cookies to your table and see how your cookies are the same - or are different.” After some discussion, students were asked to write down three math equations to represent half of the cookies.

Students were prompted to verbalize what the numbers in their equations meant to help deepen their comprehension. “Twenty-four divided by two equals two. Where are the 24, the 2, and the 12?” Vu asked. “Write what 24 means, what 12 means, what 2 means, and what does that mean?”

*This student did an outstanding job of explaining three different ways to represent one-half of 24 (see the 1:39 video here).*

*“You really want them to understand the importance of attending to a question as a way to help them solve problems,” Ms. Levine said.*

Takeaways

After the Summer Math Academy ended, Vu and Levine reflected on how well the students had worked together.

“This group was more willing to dive in with you and share with you. I wanted them to learn to appreciate the reasoning process; Ms. Levine and I tried to emphasize that,” Vu said.

“I say to students, ‘What are we being asked? What are teachers asking me to do here?’ It’s Standard of Mathematical Practice 1: ‘Make sense of problems and persevere in solving them’,” said Levine. “These questions are great for re-affirming students’ need to take another look at the question, to think, explore, and organize their reasoning. After examining the question further, we asked the students, ‘What do you think?’ To get feedback from students about what they think and what they hear is so valuable.”

“These students felt comfortable sharing what they were understanding and took a strong problem-solving approach,” Vu continued. “By the end, they were validating as well as critiquing the arguments of others. They would rephrase something they heard from other students; everyone’s ideas were valued.

“All of this was present in the classroom this year. The ‘On’ switch usually isn't’ on with students at this level,” she noted, “but this summer, it was ‘On’.”

After the Summer Math Academy ended, Vu and Levine reflected on how well the students had worked together.

“This group was more willing to dive in with you and share with you. I wanted them to learn to appreciate the reasoning process; Ms. Levine and I tried to emphasize that,” Vu said.

“I say to students, ‘What are we being asked? What are teachers asking me to do here?’ It’s Standard of Mathematical Practice 1: ‘Make sense of problems and persevere in solving them’,” said Levine. “These questions are great for re-affirming students’ need to take another look at the question, to think, explore, and organize their reasoning. After examining the question further, we asked the students, ‘What do you think?’ To get feedback from students about what they think and what they hear is so valuable.”

“These students felt comfortable sharing what they were understanding and took a strong problem-solving approach,” Vu continued. “By the end, they were validating as well as critiquing the arguments of others. They would rephrase something they heard from other students; everyone’s ideas were valued.

“All of this was present in the classroom this year. The ‘On’ switch usually isn't’ on with students at this level,” she noted, “but this summer, it was ‘On’.”