Teaching Tip: Front Loading Instruction
Many states and school districts have made the transition to the Common Core State Standards and some school districts, such as the one that I work for began to fully implement the new standards this year. This has caused educators such as me to search for ways to implement these standards to students who have already had instruction that does not support conceptual understanding of mathematics.
I have found that this can be very challenging at times because the students want to revert back to what they were previously taught or the students have an inadequate foundation for the standard that I need to teach.
Our school district has chosen to use EngageNY to assist with the implementation of the Common Core Standards. I had the most interesting conversation with my instructional specialist and she believes that even though the students are not ready for the on grade level standards that I should not front load my lessons because she believes that the lessons will build on one another and the students will eventually get the skill. If you are not familiar with the term front loading, it is when a teacher anticipates a learning difficulty before teaching a particular concept and pre- teaches the skill to address the deficit before teaching the actual skill so that the students have some knowledge of the concept so that they can connect or anchor their new learning.
There are instances when front loading is appropriate for students and it enhances the learning for the students however, sometimes front loading can hamper the learning process. I believe that as we fully implement the Common Core Standards to students in grades 3-5 teachers must front load instruction whenever it is appropriate so that students can feel successful as they master these more rigorous standards.