Below is a guest blog from author and math expert, Marian Small. Her new book, Understanding the Math We Teach and How to Teach It is now available for preorder.
Lots of elementary teachers were not privileged to receive math instruction that built their confidence in math. As a consequence, many of these teachers feel discomfort and stress as they try to teach math in a more meaningful way to their students. They worry! What if they say the wrong thing? What if the students ask them to explain something and they can’t? What if the students say something, and they’re not sure if they are right or wrong? If you are one of the people with those feelings, you are not alone. For so long, math was taught by many as a set of rules without any attempt to make those rules make sense, and many of our teachers are products of that system.
If you are familiar with Choral Counting & Counting Collections by Megan L. Franke, Elham Kazemi, and Angela Chan Turrou, then you know that Choral Counting is a fun, engaging instructional activity designed to leverage children’s mathematical thinking as they work together to count and dig into a variety of number sequences. Did you know, however, there is a Choral Counting Tool to help you plan out your counts?
The following is a guest blog from Jeff Zwiers, author of the upcoming book, Next Steps with Academic Conversations, the follow-up resource to his popular, Academic Conversations.
Academic conversations are powerful ways to develop students’ content, language, cognition, agency, and socioemotional skills. However, students’ academic conversations vary widely and wildly, as do the teacher strategies for fostering them. Conversations can be short with long turns, long with short turns, shallow, deep, focused, unfocused, etc. For these reasons I have spent the last decade working with teachers on developing a better understanding of classroom conversations and how they can be best cultivated across grade levels and disciplines. I have included a brief synopsis of some of the most salient learnings from this work. (See my Next Steps with Academic Conversations book for a more complete description of these ideas.)
Topics: Classroom practice
You might have a few or a lot of Stenhouse books on your bookshelf, but did you know that we have a treasure trove of free material on our website and social channels? Here are just a few. Go to Stenhouse.com to see even more!
Topics: Free Resources
Meaningful uses of technology can change how you teach and how your students learn. But many teachers struggle with finding ways to incorporate digital tools and texts into their instruction in a way that is focused while also inspiring curiosity. Thankfully, Julie Coiro has created a framework called Personal Digital Inquiry (PDI) that will help you integrate purposeful uses of technology into a classroom culture that values inquiry and deep learning.
Most of the time in math class is spent on numbers, symbols, and shapes. Not much time is spent on writing, aside from students explaining how they arrived at a solution to a problem. But writing can be a powerful vehicle for student learning in mathematics, and Linda Dacey, with Kathleen O’Connell Hopping and Rebeka Eston Salemi, has written a book about how to do it successfully.
“As we broaden our view of writing, in all its varied styles and stages, we can recognize the powerful effect it can have on our students’ learning as well as the joy it can bring to our classrooms.” –Linda Dacey
Hanging inspirational posters on the wall is not enough to take care of the emotional baggage about mathematics our students bring. In Chapter 3 of Necessary Conditions, author Geoff Krall goes beyond platitudes, digging deep into the root causes of students' accumulated feelings about mathematics and themselves: mindset, race, gender, identity, social pressures, tracking, academic status, and past math experiences. Drawing on real examples from his case-study schools, Krall gives teachers and departments specific, practical steps for change, so we can create academically safe classroom cultures in which our adolescent students can thrive.
Mentor texts can become powerful teaching tools in writing instruction. In their new book,
Welcome to Writing Workshop, Stacey Shubitz and Lynne Dorfman describe mentor texts as “examples of exemplary writing that can be studied to lift the level of student writing.” They describe three distinct types of mentor texts—published, student written, and teacher written —that can be used with students. Here’s how they define each type and how they can be used to teach your students to read like writers.
The following is excerpted from Teach Writing Well: How to Assess Writing, Invigorate Instruction, and Rethink Revision! by Ruth Culham.
Wallets are a commonplace item. But even though the contents may be similar among individuals—credit cards, IDs, cash, photos—the particulars will vary. I have a driver’s license from Oregon, for instance, and you likely have one from another state—but we both have driver’s licenses. Wallets are handy for storing things you need to make a purchase, board a plane, show a picture of a grandchild, share insurance information, and so on.