"Open Middle Math celebrates that the journey we bring students on in our classroom matters more than the destination.” –Sara Van Der Werf, VanDerWerf Educational Consulting
Recently, we sat down with Robert Kaplinsky to talk about his new book, Open Middle Math: Problems That Unlock Student Thinking, Grades 6–12. Find out how Open Middle math problems can transform your middle and high school math class.
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?
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.