|Liberty V. Deal, M.Ed. has been teaching for over twenty years. She has taught both primary and upper grades in California and Colorado. With mathematics as her passion, she is always working to have her students enjoy math. She has served as a demonstration teacher, mentor teacher, coach and mentor for the Cotsen Family Foundation: Art of Teaching, district trainer, and district math coach.||Building a strong academic core by spiraling through curricular strands.
Like a sport, academics is a scaffolding discipline. New abilities and expertise are built upon a growing foundation. Similar to an all-pro baseball player fielding countless ground balls or a world-class soccer player trapping hundreds of passes a day, that foundation needs to be consistently reinforced. The best athletes (and students) never “move on” from their core. They never check the box or close a chapter. Instead, they keep going back to it — from a first fumbling attempt, to confident mastery. Then they constantly layer on new abilities do develop an increasingly broad and durable foundation.That same reinforcement and layering approach lays at the heart of Strands Fitness.The beautiful irony of this approach is that it’s not only the surest, but also the fastest path to understanding. This is because weaknesses that might become an Achilles heel are progressively shored up so that nothing holds the athlete (or the budding mathematician, writer or scientist) back. Because the process doesn’t expect mastery immediately, confidence and enthusiasm remain high as the student is allowed to gain new understanding while reinforcing previous skills and exploring new ones. In an educational context, academics is also like a team sport. Teammates, like classmates, are typically at different levels of mastery with unique pacing needs. But the group needs to practice as a team. The coach will aim to work on a range of different skills simultaneously to maximize time together. Of course the coach will want to keep morale high for everyone, making sure no teammate feels overwhelmed or out of place; truly making sure no students are left behind.Once again, a Strands Fitness approach enables individual players to stay in their own learning phase, while the team also moves accountably forward as a unit. By addressing a multitude of learning strands simultaneously, students learn new concepts, enrich strengths, and develop weaknesses at all times. By constantly circling back, a teacher (like a great coach), can provide a multitude of opportunities over the school year for a student to practice, grow, and achieve mastery.
Strands Fitness Publishing was developed to support this powerful scaffolding approach; developing strong young mathematicians while accommodating unique student needs and nurturing a positive learning environment.