Utilizing Skills Practice
The Texas Math Solution consists of both Learning Together and Learning Individually, and there are two main resources for Learning Individually: MATHia and Skills Practice. Our TEKS-Aligned Skills Practice is organized by topic for each course to align with the student lessons and it gives students opportunities for additional practice. Each section consists of one or more problem set(s) that are aligned to the TEKS within the lesson or topic. There are a multitude of ways in which teachers can incorporate Skills Practice in their instruction.
As you are working through lessons and Learning Together as a class, you may notice that some students may need just a few more problems to get over the hump and sharpen their skills. The Skills Practice is located at the Topic Level, and contains numerous problem sets for each lesson in that topic. The intention is not for this to be printed as one big worksheet for all students. Instead, the Skills Practice targets those discrete skills that might require additional practice to achieve mastery, and not all sections, problem sets, or individual problems need to be assigned to all students.
For a class day where the emphasis is on Learning Individually, you might consider which problem sets will be most important for students to work on. Rather than giving the entire Skills Practice to everyone, you may want to assign different problem sets to different groups of students to differentiate based on their individual needs. Perhaps you find that only a handful of students are struggling with a newly introduced concept, or you have analyzed data indicating where students need additional practice. Rather than requiring all students to complete a certain problem set, consider some different ways to incorporate the Skills Practice in meaningful and engaging ways.
Warmups or Exit Tickets
Every Learning Together lesson includes a Warmup, Getting Started, Activities, and Talk the Talk. However, many lessons can span across multiple days. When you are looking for a warmup to kick-off the learning on day 2 or 3, the Skills Practice might be just the thing you want. Utilizing one or two problems might allow you to quickly refresh the skills learned on a previous day or even as a quick formative assessment for a skill that will be needed for the current day’s instructional focus. When you won’t reach the Talk the Talk until day 2 or 3, you may be able to use a Skills Practice question as an exit ticket to see if students mastered the key learning for the day. Also, Warmups and Exit Tickets don’t have to be just problems to complete. You might use an image from the skills practice such as a graph for students to review key features and vocabulary.
Stations and Small Group Instruction
Many teachers understand the benefits of small group instruction, but it can be hard to find the resources to make that time purposeful. Knowing that the Skills Practice provides problem sets for discrete skills, you could easily use one set as a focus for small-group instruction. Pull aside just the students who need to revisit that skill while the rest of the class is working on a different Learning Individually task. Using station rotations can be a simple way to facilitate this. Each station could target a different skill with the Skills Practice, or Skills Practice at the teacher table might only be one of several stations in a rotation that includes components of the lessons from that week.
If you like to make review games, or you just enjoy being creative in how you get students to practice concepts on a Learning Individually day, the Skills Practice might be just the thing to get your creative juices flowing. Imagine creating a “Jeopardy” style game with different categories. Those categories could be the problem sets in the Skills Practice for a Topic, and you now have a range of questions to fill up that category. Perhaps you want to create a race for your students where each group must work collaboratively to solve one problem from each problem set. There are so many possibilities to add variety to how you have students practice their skills.
For a deeper look into the Skills Practice, check out the Skills Program Guide for each course.