Mr. Michael Novia
6th Grade Math and Science Teacher
What is your overall approach to teaching Math and Science?
My overall approach to teaching is to deliver the curriculum the school wants in the most interesting way and test for mastery often.
Is there a specific focus?
Sixth graders still love to have fun, so in math and science I try to incorporate as much authentic, hands-on learning as time allows. I use many analogies and try to give students multiple ways to deconstruct and learn throughout a lifetime. I try to focus on deep reading and learning.
How do you encourage the love of Math and Science?
I try to encourage love of learning more than love of subject. Love of learning is a gift. I hope that my own love of learning shines through and will someday remind them that their teachers often try to give them that very gift. I am very excited to learn and read and study every day.
What surprises you about your students?
One of the things that surprises me about the sixth graders is how open they are to ideas and humor. They clearly get subtleties and so that very observant savvy can be channeled into understanding real life problems in math and science. When I'm comparing the unit price of a box of Cheerios, I can talk about product placement, marketing and profit, and the power of pennies to giant businesses and make and take jokes along the way. They really do "get it."
What are your goals for your students as they look toward high school ?
I try to emphasize the power of test preparation to get into the schools they want. I tell them that I am not the test, I'm the helper who gets them ready for those very tricky tests they'll need to master. I tell them Fordham and Iona Prep, Ursuline and Holy Child have seats reserved for them; all they have to do is prepare to sit in them.
How do you help your students prepare for high school ?
In order to thrive in those schools, I try to emphasize deep reading and dedicated and thorough study. There's no shortcut.
If you had to sell the GCS to a new student or family what would you say?
What makes GCS stand out?
GCS stands out because it emphasizes traditional hard work that prepares children to think clearly and make decisions based on reason. I think many other schools are populist in their thinking and leave children at a loss when clear thinking is needed. I raised my daughters through the "whole language" era which often left them scrambling in high school and college when they needed to deconstruct sentences in English and French.
What do you like to do on weekends?
On weekends I read for as long as my brain can endure it, study music and Italian, and fiddle around with the violin. I absolutely love to learn and like 3-day weekends the best.
Is there anything else you would like to say?
I've said this before: I have a ton of credentials but if I can't make them work for GCS they aren't worth a thing.