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Social Supports are the perception and presence of a support network available to help if needed. People are social creatures, and our happiness is in part based on having supportive friends and family. The power of Social Supports extends to learning: A student's perception of the strength of the support they have, even if they do not end up calling upon their supports, is a key contributor to their academic success, including learning math.
Key sources of Social Supports include parents, friends, classmates, teachers, and other school resources and staff. These sources offer different types of support to a student:
Social Supports can be beneficial even when students do not take advantage of the support. Rather it is important that students perceive that these Social Supports are available to them.
Unfortunately, children can experience traumatic events that erode their actual and/or perceived Social Supports. Situations that can erode their parent/guardian Social Supports include having parents/guardians who divorce or separate, pass away, go to jail, experience problems with substance abuse, or have a significant mental illness. Situations that can erode their friend and classmate Social Supports include being a victim of bullying, including cyberbullying, and moving to a new school.
Building positive relationships with other sources of Social Supports, such as with a teacher or family friend, can diminish the negative effects of this kind of trauma. In addition, positive relationships can diminish the negative effects of stress hormones released after others types of trauma.
Building positive and trusting relationships with learners allows them to feel safe; a sense of belonging; and that their academic, cognitive, and social and emotional needs are supported.
As students solve problems in a group, they learn new strategies and practice communicating their mathematical thinking.
Students are more likely to come to school when families feel like a valued part of the community.
Free choice supports learner interests and promotes the development of more complex social interactions.
As students walk through stations working in small groups, the social and physical nature of the learning supports deeper understanding.
In guided inquiry, teachers help students use their own language for constructing knowledge by active listening and questioning.
Teaching students through guided play encourages them to take an active role in their learning and supports the development of a broad array of cognitive skills.
Learning about students' cultures and connecting them to instructional practices helps all students feel like valued members of the community.
To promote acceptance of learning diversity, students explore learning tools and strategies to see how they work and why they and others might use them.
Math centers with math games, manipulatives, and activities support learner interests and promote the development of more complex math skills and social interactions.
When students have meaningful conversations about math and use math vocabulary, they develop the thinking, questioning, and explanation skills needed to master mathematical concepts.
Multiple display spaces help develop oral language skills as well as Social Awareness & Relationship Skills by allowing groups to share information easily as they work.
Multiple writing surfaces promote collaboration by allowing groups to share information easily as they work.
A parent evening meeting about how to support numeracy at home with one follow-up meeting with each family has shown strong results for students' math development.
Research shows physical activity improves focus and creativity.
Maintaining consistent classroom routines and schedules ensures that students are able to trust and predict what will happen next.
When teachers connect math to the students' world, students see how math is relevant and applicable to their daily lives.
Students deepen their understanding and gain confidence in their learning when they explain to and receive feedback from others.
Students develop their skills by listening to and speaking with others in informal ways.
Three-phase lesson format is a problem-solving structure to promote meaningful math learning by activating prior knowledge, letting students explore mathematical thinking, and promoting a math community of learners.
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