Exciting New Math Approach Takes Hold at Learning Center Charter School

Students at The Learning Center Charter School are experiencing a new approach to math this school year, termed Guided Math, due in large part to second grade teacher, Stephanie Hopper. In spring of 2016, she began researching math curriculum. The more she researched, the more she realized that no magical math curriculum exists. She saw that it’s not the curriculum but the approach to math that better meets the needs of the school’s diverse population of students.

Learning Center Charter School - Guided Math

Guided Math is now what kindergarten through fifth grade students at the charter school do each day. Math class begins with a math warm up and is soon followed by a whole group mini lesson which focuses on a specific math standard.  After that, students work in smaller groups following a rotation schedule according to STACK. STACK stands for 1) Small group with the teacher, 2) Technology, 3) Apply what they have learned; 4) Create using critical thinking skills through math journaling, and 5) Kinesthetic, or in other words, hands-on games and activities. These rotations allow the students to experience direct instruction as well as student-centered activities and hands-on learning. The teacher is able to work with small groups of students to further enhance the direct instruction and work closely with those who are struggling and those who are ready to be further challenged. After the daily rotation is complete, the class comes back together as a whole and reflects on the lessons of the day.

Ms. Hopper says that student response to Guided Math has been great and is a perfect addition to the school’s Four-Blocks English Language Arts Program. Fourth grade teacher, Chris Conroy says, “My experience with Guided Math so far is that students are much more engaged in their work. They enjoy helping their fellow group members and love the rotations. The Guided Math approach gives students the opportunity to learn the math standards in many different ways and allows the teacher to monitor each individual child and provide differentiated instruction and lessons. It’s a win-win learning experience!”


4th Grade — Making Animal Habitats and Environments


If you’ve been following along over the past several weeks here on the blog, then you’ve seen these fourth graders learning about animals and their habitats. You’ve seen them create imaginary animals and understand what their habitats would have to contain in order for them to survive. These photos are of these students now creating these habitats for their animals. This ongoing project has touched on studies in science, math, reading and social studies and has kept these students engaged in the learning process.

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Upper Grade Elective Offerings

Check out the awesome sampling of electives offered to fifth through eighth grade students this semester!

The Spring Musical: The Fearsome Pirate Frank: Auditions have taken place for what is always a spring drama success. The Cast has been announced.

Aquaponics: This elective continues to be a growing opportunity.  Only those with a desire to get their hands dirty need apply.

Pokémon Cards: Students can bring their cards on Fridays and do whatever they do with them. On nice days in the spring, they will be allowed to use their phones (if available) to go Pokémon hunting.  We will walk to the park and downtown.

Pinterest PE Projects: Most people get the power of Pinterest to inspire a project. This Pinterest inspired elective will begin with the accessories for flag football by creating belts with detachable flags. Other projects will include making hula hoops, practice jerseys, quivers for archery, a bow rack, playground repairs and upgrades, and a boot camp obstacle course. We will be working with anything from thread and needle to hammer and nails, maybe even a couple power tools.

Entrepreneurs in Training: Use your special interests to start your own business. As young entrepreneurs in training, you will learn how to be your own boss as you make many important business decisions. There are lots of different types of entrepreneurs; however, this semester we are going to learn about starting a jewelry design business: 1. Learn the basics about starting your own business and designing your own logo. 2. Use your artistic flare to design jewelry for men, women, children and pets. 3. Learn tips for pricing your handmade goods. Sell your creations at the 1st Murphy Art Walk of the 2017 Season in May!

Using Math to Create Beautiful Art: Create and see countless examples of gorgeous, simple, clever, and amazing art, all made from mathematical ideas. View fractions like Piet Mondrian. Experience tessellations and symmetry like M.C. Escher, fabricate with Fibonacci and see how irrational numbers can “in-spiral” you.

Pop Culture Creations: Have you ever wanted to create a piece of art from your favorite movie or show? In this elective, we will be working on projects that revolve around creating artistic pieces straight out of the movies. We will be knitting, painting, doing Pinterest projects, and student choice projects.

Book Club with Class work/Homework Support Perks: Are you one of those students that enjoys not only reading a great book but discussing the many interesting details of plot and characters with like-minded people? Does presenting a book review appeal to you? If you answered yes to one of the above questions, you are also often the sort of student who would like quiet time to work on a particular classroom or homework project. This elective is sure to appeal to the dedicated “book worm” who loves to learn!

Behind the Scenes/Make-up Elective:  Join Ms. Heidi for a behind the scenes elective where students will learn makeup, set building, prop design, and staging.  Students will split their time acting as stage hands/ crew for the drama elective and learning stage and beauty makeup. From dry brush to airbrush techniques, colors that compliment complexion, and highlighting hints, this elective is sure to be a blast!

Compacted Math — Mullet Math!


You know what a mullet is, right? Business in the front and a party in the back. The famous hair cut!  Students in Compacted Math spent time studying the mullet, determining what is more mullety by comparing ratios of business to party. In their quest to determine which styles are more mullety, they immediately grabbed pencil and paper to write ratios to help them figure it out. Mullet ratios!


Even the mullet wig was written in mullet ratio form!

Special thanks to Matt Vaudrey and his Mullet Math lesson which can be found by clicking HERE.

2nd Grade STEM — Spiders


Second Grade completed a project based unit on spiders. The children learned all about spiders through reading, writing, math, technology and science. In reading, the children learned to compare and contrast fiction and non-fiction texts about spiders, as well as how texts use diagrams. The children completed large diagrams of spiders. The students wrote about spiders and what they had learned through their research throughout the week. Students also designed and constructed spider webs based on all of the information they had learned. To end the spider unit, the children made yummy and healthy spiders using bananas, raisins and pretzel sticks. Second graders had a great time learning all about spiders!

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Hour of Code at TLC


According to The Hour of Code website, The Hour of Code started as a one-hour introduction to computer science, designed to demystify “code”, to show that anybody can learn the basics, and to broaden participation in the field of computer science. It has since become a worldwide effort to celebrate computer science, starting with 1-hour coding activities but expanding to all sorts of community efforts.  The Hour of Code takes place each year during Computer Science Education Week.  Every student should have the opportunity to learn computer science. It helps nurture problem-solving skills, logic and creativity. By starting early, students will have a foundation for success in any 21st-century career path.


Spearheaded by Compacted Math teacher, Chris Crayton, students at TLC participated in this Hour of Code event. Students in all grades worked with Ozobots.  An Ozobot is a little toy robot that blends the physical and digital worlds — and teaches kids programming. During The Hour of Code, students learned to identify and produce step by step directions, identify directions that Ozobot can follow and predict directions needed and create them for Ozobot to “solve” a problem.

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What Kindergarten Is Up To


There is never a dull moment for our young learners. Students in Kindergarten benefit from a Montessori-blend approach that extends the Montessori approach from preschool into their first charter school classroom. Whether they are sorting, spending time in nature, gardening, counting, learning to read, exploring math concepts or creating art, these students know how to keep it lively and fun.

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