During the 20+ years of teaching math to hundreds of thousands of students around the world, Dr. Shormann developed a system to efficiently build fluency (speed and accuracy). Similar to learning to read, once fluency is achieved, learning math is faster and easier!
Develop Fluency in Fractions, Decimals, Percents, and Conversions
Students who struggle with learning algebra or take too long to complete a lesson, often have not memorized fraction, decimal, and percent conversions like reducing fractions, converting a fraction to a decimal or percent, etc. This makes it very difficult to learn algebra. Shormann Algebra 1 & 2 include 10 five minute drills that develop fluency in these essential skills that make learning algebra faster and easier. All Algebra 1 & 2 students who have not already completed these drills, should do so.
Critical: Use the Timed Method
Students should work on math for a specified amount of time based on their grade level (see below). For example an 8th or 9th grader should work on math for no more than an hour or so per day. If, at the end of this time, the student has not Instead of requiring to complete a lesson per day, Algebra 1 students should work on math no more than an hour to an 1.5 hours per day. At the end of this time, if the lesson is not completed, the student should stop and pick up where they left off the next day. This ensures the student has time to re-learn as instructed without spending 2 or 3 hours per day on math. In the beginning, it may take the student 2-3 days to complete one lesson. That’s OK. As mastery and fluency develop, more of the lesson will be completed and learning math will become faster and easier. For more information, see the Timed Method in the Teacher Guide on pages 4-7.
2. Work on math a minimum of 4 - 5 days per week.
To build fluency, math should be worked on at least four days per week. If the student is struggling or moving through the course too slowly, increase to 5-6 days per week.
3. Use the Student Practice Set Instruction Sheet Daily
The Student Practice Set Instructions (posted on your course home page) is a one page document that provides step-by-step instructions to efficiently complete each question in the Practice Set (homework). Print this sheet, place it on your desk, and follow these steps for each question in every Practice Set.
4. Spend No More Than 10 Minutes "Stuck" on a Question
The Practice Sets are practice. Do not expect immediate mastery. Mistakes are expected in the Practice Sets. Therefore, they are a small percentage of the overall grade. Follow the steps on the Practice Set Instructions to quickly re-learn forgotten concepts. If that doesn’t work, go to the next question. At the end, missed concepts are re-learned and corrected by viewing the video solution then working the problem correctly on paper.
5. Parents: Do not "help" until all the steps on the Practice Set Instruction sheet are completed.
Unlike other subjects, math is like learning a foreign language. It takes time to achieve mastery and develop fluency. Shormann Math has a very specific method to develop fluency efficiently as outlined in the Practice Set Instructions described in number 4 above. To develop fluency efficiently, it is critical that parents do not help the student until all the steps on the instruction sheet have been completed. If asked for help, point the student to the instruction sheet and walk them through the process. Do not use the Solutions Manual or give instruction until indicated in the instructions.
6. Do not retake Practice Sets to improve score.
Practice Sets are designed as practice (like baseball or piano practice). Immediate mastery is not expected. Therefore, the Practice Set grades are a small percentage of the overall grade. After the first attempt is completed and the grade is stored in the online gradebook, the Results page with answers to each question is displayed. Therefore, retaking the Practice Sets not only gives an inaccurate assessment of understanding, it is inefficient and negatively affects retention and fluency. Instead, take advantage of the efficient re-learning process under Corrections on the Practice Set Instruction sheet (#4 above). These steps ensure the student re-learns missed concepts in a notes
7. Lecture Notes: Focus on solving example problems.
While the student should take BRIEF notes on headings, key points, and formulas. The primary focus of the lecture should be solving the example problems like this: After each example problem is presented, pause the lecture and solve the problem on your lecture notes, rewinding and fast-forwarding as needed. This increases retention, greatly reducing the number of missed problems in the Practice Set.
8. Ensure Correct Course Placement
Correct course placement is vital to student success. To ensure your student is in the correct course, please see: Placement Chart for Shormann Math
My student is in Algebra 1 and failed or did not finish pre-algebra.
Read this article: Student Failed or Did Not Complete Pre-Algebra
and if needed, Request a Hold on your Shormann Math course.
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