How can we break the cycle of frustrated students who “drop out of math” because the procedures just don’t make sense to them? Or who memorize the procedures for the test but don’t really understand the mathematics? Max Ray and his colleagues at the Math Forum @ Drexel University say “problem solved,” by offering their collective wisdom about how students become proficient problem solvers, through the lens of the CCSS for Mathematical Practices. They unpack the process of problem solving in fresh new ways and turn the Practices into activities that teachers can use to foster habits of mind required by the Common Core.
Today's math teachers have a lot to balance. From following the Standards for Mathematical Practice, to incorporating real-life application into math problems, to finding resources that are flexible enough to meet a range of students' needs.
Cathy Fosnot's Contexts for Learning Mathematics is a rigorous K-6 classroom resource that uses a workshop environment to bring the Standards for Mathematical Practice to life. Rich, authentic contexts provide a backdrop for fostering the use of mathematical models as thinking tools, tenacious problem solving, and the reading and writing of mathematical arguments and justifications to ensure the development of a positive growth mindset.
Raising students’ math achievement doesn’t mean ripping up your planning book and starting over. In Accessible MathematicsSteven Leinwand shows how small shifts in the good teaching you already do can make a big difference in student learning. Thoroughly practical and ever-aware of the limits of teachers’ time, Steve gives you everything you need to put his commonsense ideas to use immediately.
In this video, Steve talks about the intimidation that mathematics gives teachers when they are accustomed to simply knowing how to get the right answer, and how to combat it. He states: "the issue of intimidation is a natural tension when you know you're being asked to do things that you're not prepared to do."
Math in Practice is a comprehensive, grade-by-grade professional learning resource designed to fit with any math curriculum you are using. It identifies the big ideas of both math content and math teaching, unpacking key instructional strategies and detailing why those strategies are so powerful.
Rather than providing another sequence of lessons and units to take students from the beginning to the end of the year, Math in Practice focuses on developing deep content knowledge, understanding why certain strategies and approaches are most effective, and rethinking our beliefs about what math teaching should be.
In the following video, Pam talks about the importance of numeracy and why it's necessary to build numeracy from a young age. "Math is not about memorizing rules," explains Pam, "it's about using relationships and connections. Numeracy is the beginning of that."
A few years ago, I taught a fifth-grade student named Carter.
Carter was a delight. Kind. Soft spoken. Funny.
Often he was curled up around a library book, or, when he wasn’t reading, Carter was usually in some conversation about game strategy: a new chess move, an impressive feat of Minecraft engineering, or the dreaded probability he’d end up on the “wrong” capture the flag team that day.
Carter was seen by all as a “good–at-everything” kid. I also considered him a “math kid.” I didn’t worry about Carter. He’d understand the math. He’d do the work. He’d ace the test. You know, a math kid.
I’ll admit, Carter’s dependability allowed me to concentrate on the rest of my students—ones who didn’t understand or only thought they understood, or who were just plain disengaged.
But Carter? No worries there. He was a lock. Or, so I thought.
One mid-October afternoon, I overheard Carter talking to his good friend Patrick. “Ugh,” Carter said. “I hate math.”