Creating Time and Space for Students to Develop Foundational Mathematical Ideas

“Slow down, you’re moving too fast, you got to make the morning last…”

When we consider early childhood mathematics this familiar song comes to mind. In our hurried society where more is more, childhood expectations have been pushed to earlier and earlier ages. In this environment, the time and space to allow early mathematics to grow deeply is endangered. Structuring opportunities for exploration and discovery of number concepts is the work of master teachers using an artful mathematical story. 

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Making Sense of Story Problems

by Deborah Peart, Grade 2 Lead

Many people have an aversion to word problems. They cringe at the mention of them. In elementary classrooms, teachers often report that this is what their students struggle with most. When word problems show up in math class, even students who enjoy reading will release a sigh and let their shoulders droop. “Do words even belong in math class?” they wonder. The answer is yes, they do! But students need guidance in how to make sense of story problems because in many classrooms they are taught to compartmentalize their learning in math class. While students are often encouraged to integrate social studies and language arts, mathematics is more frequently taught in isolation. In order for students to see math in the world around them, we must consider all the ways in which we can bring mathematics to life through stories.

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Planning for the Student Experience

by Sarah Caban and Kristin Gray

Teachers are so amazing and resilient. Amid all of the many thoughts and feelings about the challenges this school year brings, conversation continually revolves around their students. 

When discussing instruction, teachers wonder: 

  • How will I get to know the students?
  • How will I learn more about what the students are thinking?
  • How will I build a classroom community?
  • How will I support each student along the way? 
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Helping Elementary Students Cultivate a Strong Math Community

by LaToya Byrd and Jenna Laib

School looks different this year. It’s easy to focus on the changes that will need to be made—the new practices, the new routines, the new technologies—but we must first focus on our central beliefs about teaching and learning, and use those beliefs to determine what’s important. It is essential to build a strong classroom community.

What does it look like?

This community should strive to be one where learners know, use, and enjoy mathematics. How do you envision this math class? And how does that relate to your own mathematical experiences? 

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English Learners and Distance Learning: Math Language Routines

by Vanessa Cerrahoglu, Jennifer Wilson, and Liz Ramirez

We envision creating a world where learners know, use, and enjoy mathematics. Knowing and using math goes beyond calculating and evaluating. We create purposeful opportunities for students to engage in sense-making and use language to negotiate meaning with their peers. This calls for a language-rich environment where there’s space for all students to participate in argumentation and explanation.

What do these conversations look like now that we are no longer sharing physical space together? And how do we support our multilingual students who are gaining proficiency with English during distance learning? 

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