Taos Middle School teacher Oclides Amanda Martinez is getting her students to love math through the use of an innovative program called Teach to One (TTO). The individualized instruction model empowers teachers to meet students where they are in their math studies, and provides a bridge to where they need to be.
Martinez spoke about the Teach to One program, and its benefits to underserved students, during an online forum hosted by the national education nonprofit New Classrooms Innovation Partners on Friday, May 14, 2021.
"Our middle school is a feeder school for three elementary schools. We were getting some students that were great at math, and some that needed a lot of work," said Martinez, who has served as the TTO director at Taos Middle School for the last four years. "To have this personalized learning has changed everything for us."
The Teach to One program, designed by New Classrooms, uses an algorithm to group students based on their daily progress. Teachers then lead targeted lessons through small-group and collaborative-group learning.
Students can also access math lessons on their own -- they can watch videos, solve practice problems or play learning games specifically assigned to them.
"We have a "walls up" model at our school," said Martinez. "We have eight different classrooms that our students can visit on a given day. They come into their math advisory class, kind of like a homeroom, check in and then move around and get an individualized lesson for that day."
Taos Middle School serves around 470 students in grades 6-8, and employs six math teachers and two educational assistants.
Martinez said since TMS began offering the Teach to One program, students' test scores had increased dramatically.
"It's been a total game changer for everyone, and honestly, doing Teach to One, it made me realize how much of a disservice I was doing before all of this by teaching just to that middle group," said Martinez. "I was neglecting my top scorers, and neglecting those ones that were really struggling, because the majority of them were right in the middle."
TMS students who began learning with the Teach to One program have now entered high school, offering Martinez the benefit of watching her students develop over time.
"One student that comes to mind is our very first group of students that got Teach to One for three years in a row. They're freshmen at the high school, and our students were typically going to high school not ready for Algebra," said Martinez.
"Before Teach to One, there was an Algebra class, but it wasn't truly an Algebra class that made them ready for Geometry. There was a student in particular - when we started, he was in sixth grade. He was about two- to two-and-a-half grade levels below what he should have been."
"Through the program, he learned to love math - started doing everything that he needed to do, he was engaged and taking those exit slips and really put in the effort. Now, he's a Geometry student at Taos High School as a freshman, which is unheard of."
"It's totally changed the teacher's outlook, it's changed the student's outlook, and made everybody more of a math-lover," said Martinez.
For more information, visit teachtoone.org.