Math Program

Christian Virtual School sees the need for a Christ-centered, elementary math program intended for all levels of learners. The courses we use as the academic foundation for our program, as developed by Bayfield Design, were created as a comprehensive package that accommodates and responds to individual learner needs, regardless of age, so that all students have the opportunity to succeed in math. For more information on the instructional approach in these courses, see the program details below.

Grade 5

Coloured Building Blocks

Grade 6

Student using a compass

Grade 7

Blue primitive 3D shapes

Grade 8

wooden puzzle pieces

Program Details

This program was built on six imperatives: building a strong understanding of fundamental skills, bridging the gap between understanding and doing, fostering a positive mindset about math, developing problem solving and critical thinking skills, cultivating a mindfulness of math at work in everyday life, and encouraging communication.

Each imperative plays a fundamental role in the success of students, but this program focuses especially on bridging the gap between understanding and doing. Without the knowledge of how and when to use fundamental math concepts, most students are simply unable to demonstrate their understanding. When these imperatives are implemented together in a personalized learning environment, all students have the opportunity to succeed.

Prior Learning Activities

Each lesson begins with an activity called Warm-Up to activate prior knowledge. An interactive quiz or game provides students with immediate, automated feedback to help them determine whether they need more practice before proceeding to learn a new skill. Immediately following the warm-up activity, students have the opportunity to review remedial skills in an interactive box called Helpful Hints.

Focus on Number Sense

With a strong focus on number sense and numeration, the courses provide continuous opportunities for students to work with numbers, develop mental math skills, and apply their understanding. Many lessons contain a short activity called Skill Drill that encourages students to recall their math facts using a variety of strategies.

Gradual Release Model

Each lesson begins with a clearly stated learning goal. As the student moves through the lesson, knowledge is transferred through a gradual release of responsibility framework. Each lesson concludes with an opportunity to first practice the material and then apply the learning with an assessment.

Building Confidence Through Practice

A section called Let’s Practice consolidates the concepts from each lesson. Students either complete an offline activity, such as a worksheet, or an online activity that provides immediate growth mindset feedback to students. At this point in the lesson, students have been taught the skill and have been equipped with a series of steps to answer problems that require the application of the skill. Students apply these steps in a practice environment before attempting an assignment.

Mistakes as Learning Opportunities

The courses encourage students to view mistakes as a natural part of problem solving and as opportunities to learn. Additionally, the course guides enhance self-monitoring skills and instill a positive attitude even, and importantly, when mistakes are made. Such support allows students to adopt constructive behaviours and positive attitudes towards math.

Intrinsic Motivation

Our courses are designed to spark curiosity and motivate students in their own learning. We believe that if the teaching is relevant to the student, and if we can inspire confidence, students will experience success in the future. To this end, we provide students with opportunities to apply newly acquired skills in meaningful ways, foster feelings of accomplishment to boost confidence, and promote feelings of equity among students.

Application Problems

Explicit instruction on the skill of problem solving has been interwoven into the courses. For example, from the first course, students use a recurring problem solving checklist when working through word problems. With this checklist, students plan how to solve an equation, carry out their plan, and check to ensure that their answers are correct. Using the same model to solve problems each time bolsters fluency in problem solving.

Exposure to Open-Ended Questions

Students are presented with open-ended questions throughout the courses. These questions are intended to prompt engaging discussions between peers, with a learning coach, or among a small group. The nature of these questions allows for various approaches to solving the given problem, but acute critical thinking skills are also required to determine the validity and viability of a chosen approach.

Connections Through Storylines

Each lesson is situated in the context of a storyline with student and teach characters guiding students through the content. These storylines serve to make the content more relatable to students and to connect math concepts to everyday life. Something as simple as a row of flowers in a garden becomes an example of an observable pattern one may encounter in the world every day. A complex concept such as capacity becomes understandable through the example of building a sandcastle.

Communication in Math

Throughout the courses, students are given the chance not only to read appropriate mathematical vocabulary, but also to listen to, ask questions about, and discuss such words and terms. The language used in-lesson supports a wide range of learners, especially when new words or terms are introduced. New words are defined for students and used consistently to ensure clarity of meaning, while still using precision.

Starting Conversations

Supports have been built into the courses specifically around matters of vocabulary and communication to help students communicate their ideas clearly and effectively. For example, a box called Math Talks recurs throughout the lessons. Math talks give students opportunities to speak with others and to use the language being taught. These talks include sentence starters and prompts to help students begin these conversations.

The content has also been built with flexibility in mind. The lessons contain numerous online activities with enjoyable, interactive games such as bingo and offline activities that can be completed independently or as a family. Examples of offline activities include worksheets, games, working with manipulatives, sorting, patterning, crafts, collaborative investigations, and exploratory and sensory activities with common household items. Home educators can use the manipulatives and resources already available in their homes alongside the lessons in these courses to make the learning experience truly come alive for students.