Building a Supportive Home/School Partnership



By Kristin Gray, Jenna Laib, Sarah Caban

Open House. Back-to-School Night. Family Welcome. Math Night. No matter what the name of the event that launches the school year, family members will arrive at your school with the same burning questions: What do I need to know to set up my child up for success in math this year? and How can I continue to support them throughout the school year? Continue reading “Building a Supportive Home/School Partnership”

Building a Mathematical Classroom Community

Classroom environments that foster a sense of community that allows students to express their mathematical ideas—together with norms that expect students to communicate their mathematical thinking to their peers and teacher, both orally and in writing, using the language of mathematics—positively affect participation and engagement among all students.

Principles to Action, NCTM

The beginning of the school year offers teachers and students a fresh start full of exciting possibilities. From the first day of class, as we begin to learn about each of the students in front of us, we have the opportunity to set the stage for how learning math will look, sound, and feel throughout the year. We also begin to foster the attitudes and beliefs that are important in shaping a mathematical classroom community in which each and every student is positioned as a capable learner and doer of mathematics, truly believes their voice is valued and heard, and understands that we learn math by doing deep and meaningful mathematics together. Building this classroom community requires a purposeful process that takes time and careful attention. Continue reading “Building a Mathematical Classroom Community”

The Intersection of Fraction Talks and Clothesline Math: Formative Assessment and the 5 Practices

By Jenna Laib

My sixth graders are weary of pre-assessments.

No matter how many times we discuss the goal of a pre-assessment–for me to learn more about their current strategies and understandings, so that I can design learning experiences that fit them better–all of them seem to want to impress me with perceived “perfection.” (As flattering as this is, they are missing the point.) Continue reading “The Intersection of Fraction Talks and Clothesline Math: Formative Assessment and the 5 Practices”

The IM 6–8 Math Curriculum Changed My Math Methods Experience

By Anna Polsgrove

When I first started the Math Methods course at University of California, Irvine, all of my ideas on how to learn math took a complete 180.

During the first two months, a million questions swirled in my head as I worked through problems with my classmates: We don’t just teach the algorithm anymore? What do you mean “use representations to build conceptual understanding”? What is an area diagram? What are all of the multiple strategies to solve a problem? How am I supposed to anticipate misconceptions when I have never taught the curriculum?, just to name a few. Continue reading “The IM 6–8 Math Curriculum Changed My Math Methods Experience”

On Similar Triangles

By Ashli Black

The fact that a line has a well-defined slope—that the ratio between the rise and run for any two points on the line is always the same—depends on similar triangles.
(p.12, 6–8 Progression on Expressions and Equations)

As students are building their understanding of dilation at the beginning of grade 8 in Unit 2 of the LearnZillion Illustrative Mathematics 6–8 Math curriculum, an activity asks students to dilate different quadrilaterals using a given center and dilation factor on a square grid. Here are the results of two of the dilations in that activity involving triangles: Continue reading “On Similar Triangles”

Sometimes the Real World Is Overrated: The Joy of Silly Applications

By Charles Larrieu Casias

One of the cool things about math is that it can provide powerful new ways of seeing the world. Just for fun, I want you to open up this lesson from the grade 8 student text. Take a quick skim. What do you notice? What do you wonder?

When writing this lesson, I was guided by a few key questions:

  1. To paraphrase Dan Meyer: If I want arithmetic with scientific notation to be the aspirin, then how do I create the headache?
  2. What are some weird, silly comparisons involving really large numbers?
  3. Here, towards the end of 8th grade, what should students be doing to transition towards the high school mathematical modeling cycle?

Continue reading “Sometimes the Real World Is Overrated: The Joy of Silly Applications”

Warm-up Routines With a Purpose

By Kristin Gray

As a teacher, curiosity around students’ mathematical thinking was the driving force behind the teaching and learning in my classroom. To better understand what they were thinking, I needed to not only have great, accessible problems but also create opportunities for students to openly share their ideas with others. It only makes sense that when I learned about routines that encouraged students to share the many ways they were thinking about math such as Number Talks, Notice and Wonder, and Which One Doesn’t Belong?, I was quick to go back to the classroom and try them with my students. It didn’t matter which unit we were in or lesson I had planned for that day, I plopped them in whenever and wherever I could because I was so curious to hear what students would say. Continue reading “Warm-up Routines With a Purpose”

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