Math: What is CGI?
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What is Cognitively Guided Instruction (CGI)?
Cognitively Guided Instruction is a research-based way of teaching mathematics that embraces/encompasses the following components:
- problem solving in meaningful contexts with flexible solution strategies
- building mathematical understanding through questioning based on student prior knowledge
- integration of mathematical concepts
What is different about using CGI?
CGI is a way of teaching mathematics that honors where each student is in his/her mathematical thinking and allows for a flexible use of strategies. Using CGI methods and questioning, a teacher is able to facilitate and foster student thinking and communication. CGI also enables students to build meaning through an integration of mathematical concepts and problem solving. CGI teachers believe that children can figure out how to solve problems without instructions and that solving many problems enables children to grow in their own understanding of mathematics.
What will my child be doing in a CGI classroom?
In a CGI classroom, mistakes are valued and students understand there is more than one way to solve a problem. The focus is on conceptual understanding and not on procedural drill. Classroom activities may include any of the following:
- Students utilizing whatever tools they need to solve the problem.
- Problems are leveled and accessible through flexible numbers and wording.
- Students are working from their level of understanding, but the teacher knows where the student is and where he/she should go with their thinking.
- All students are actively involved in problem solving and recording/explaining their thinking in math journals.
- Students discuss their thinking and all thinking is honored.
How might my child try to solve a math problem?
Students may utilize many different strategies depending on their experience with the mathematical concept and the difficulty of that concept. As a child develops their understanding of a mathematical concept they will naturally progress to higher level thinking strategies. Students may revert down to a more directly modeled strategy if the numbers in the problem become more difficult or the type of problem becomes more difficult. Student strategies may include:
- Direct Modeling (the most immature level--children use physical objects to directly model the action or relationships in each problem. Direct modeling provides a basis for learning other strategies.)
- Counting Strategies and Derived Facts
- Recalled Facts
- Flexible Use of Strategies