Thursday, July 18, 2013

3 Easy Steps to Math Practice Success

 Teachers in many states have Common Core State Standards to think about and now also these 8 math practices?  What exactly are the 8 practices you ask?  Last year, I found myself asking that same question over and over again, which made me think, "hmmm...if I'm having trouble remembering some of these, what about my students?"  That's when I decided to go on a three step plan for implementation:

Step 1: Create Classroom Visual Aides 
Creating informative (and adorable!) posters have helped everyone in my classroom remember what the 8 mathematical practices are about. I really began to learn each of the practices through thinking about and creating each poster and having these around the classroom encourages students to use this mathematical language.

The questions version of the posters especially help when assessing students as they are an excellent gauge for the level of student understanding for each practice. Students who are able to ask and answer these questions freely understand how to use the practice!

Check out all of the posters here!
I also created mini versions of each poster to add to  interactive much exposure as possible to encourage retention of the practices and mathematical language! 

Step 2: Simplify math lessons

I created the page below to help keep track of when I am explicitly teaching and having my students practice each standard. This comes in handy and even has suggestions of activities for each practice!

These practices are not a "what" to teach, but rather a "how-to" for teaching the math standards.  My goal by the end of the school year is to have all students practicing and familiar with each of the 8 practices, but we have to start off with small steps! 

The 8 math practices can get a little overwhelming when thinking about them all at once!  One fact I keep telling myself is that no one can do it all in every lesson!  Some lessons and concepts will lend themselves more easily to one or two of the practices. When thinking about and looking at your own math lesson plans with this new frame of reference, you might find that one lesson should be divided into two or three, or that two lessons should some how be combined in order to focus on a particular practice. 

Step 3: Practice makes permanent!
I recently reread some of the articles published by the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM) and came across an intriguing article about the Common Core Mathematical Standards of Practice.  Among the many questions that got my brain really crunching was, "What will the Standards for Practice look like in your classroom?"  Of course! If I truly want my students to use and internalize these practices, I have to model and students have to....practice! This revelation actually helped me to revise Step 2 in that I now have specific lessons devoted to practicing each of the practices (with review concepts) before embedding the standards into lessons that involve new math concepts.  The goal is to effectively and accurately use each of the practices! We want students to move on to the next grade level with successful strategies.

~Check back often for more posts about implementing each of the practices into your classroom~

Join in the discussion - What are your tips for success with the 8 Mathematical Practices?

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Welcome to Kid's Math Talk, LLC!

Welcome to Kid's Math Talk, LLC!
My name is Desiree and I am super passionate about math education and best practices for students and their teachers. Thanks for stopping by my blog!


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