Goals & Learning Objectives in the Math Classroom

Instructor: Yuanxin (Amy) Yang Alcocer

Amy has a master's degree in secondary education and has taught math at a public charter high school.

Math teachers not only have to overcome their student's apprehension towards math, but also teach their students the skills they need to succeed in their next class that meet state standards.

The Math Classroom

Picture Jenny. She is a math teacher for elementary grade students. Her students are all at different math level skills. Some know how to add already while others are just getting to know what their numbers mean.

It is Jenny's job to teach these students so that they will know the skills needed to meet state standards for math for elementary students. She doesn't agree with teaching to the test, but she does agree that her students need to know the skills that are part of state standards.

She needs to help her students that need a bit more math help to catch up as well as teach all her students the new skills they need to learn now so they will succeed in later classes.

Math teachers can encourage their students to succeed
math goals and objectives

What does she do?

Clear Goals and Objectives

Jenny knows that she needs to teach the state standards for her particular grade. So, in the beginning of the year, she gives her students a test to determine where they are at mathematically. Then, she'll know what skills her students are lacking and what skills her students are good at. She'll then help the students that are lacking some math skills to catch up. To that end, she plans her goals and objectives for the year. Her goals and objectives tell her just what concepts she needs to teach and what outcomes she wants to see in her students.

For example, after giving the beginning of the year assessment, she notices that about half her class are struggling with addition. Well, addition is a skill that is needed in her class for the grade that she is teaching, so her objective for week 1 of the school year could be this.

  • Teach the students 3 ways of performing math: visually, mentally, and verbally.

Her goal associated with this objective could be this.

  • 90% of her students will get an A on a math test for addition up to 100.

She makes her goals and objective very clear so she knows what she expects. She also communicates these goals and objectives to her students so they know what to expect to. Seeing her positive goals can also give her students confidence that they will perform.

Tailored to the Students

To help Jenny meet her goals and objectives, she tailors her lessons to her students. If her students are more visual, then she'll plan more visual explanations of math concepts. If her students are more hands-on learners, then she'll plan more kinesthetic or tactile activities so her students can get a feel for the math concepts.

For example, for her visual students, she might explain fractions with the help of a visual number line and breaking up each unit on the number into equal segments that represent various fractions. For her kinesthetic students, she might illustrate a pyramid by giving her students model replicas of a pyramid so her students can feel and touch each side and each vertex.

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