Thursday, November 21, 2013

'Teaching' the Mathematical Practices

The Standards for Mathematical Practices are the only math standards that span all the way from Pre-K through 12th grade.  The hope is that even adults in the workplace engage in these practices and procedures!  Although we expect that both kindergarteners and precalculus students reason abstractly, what the practices actually look like in the classroom range tremendously when it comes to both age and ability.  This week we are focusing on ways that mathematicians can engage with mathematics using the practices and how this might be explicitly taught and formatively assessed.

Looking for objectives that match with specific Mathematical Practices?  Look no further.  A group of Wisconsin educators created a two page document that summarizes the eight Mathematical Practices into kid friendly objectives.  Although the practices are skills that are developed over time, it is possible to breakdown these characteristics into smaller, more attainable goals. 

The practices can be extremely difficult to assess.  This matrix was developed by Leadership, Coaching and Mathematics (LCM) as a rubric that can place students into the initial, intermediate or advanced categories when it comes to the Mathematical Practices.  They have also broken down commonly used teaching strategies and lined them up with the Mathematical Practices.  This is a nice way to view what a teacher may already be doing in the classroom and match those strategies with the development of specific practices.

EDC is offering a course that will feature tools, resources and instructional routines that are designed to support students with learning disabilities to develop and use the Mathematical Practices. This course runs from February 26th-28th and focuses specifically on grades 4-8.  Participants will receive 2 graduate level credits and walk away with practical tools to use in the classroom.


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