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**and comments; So I decided perhaps it was time to share an update on the Math revolution I am seeing in
**

classrooms. I have posted access to some of the articles at the end of the update. This month we will focus

on instruction and next month on assessments and the rubrics teachers are using to assess mathematics.

The Common Core Standards in Mathematics (CCSM) has

provided an opportunity to transform the teaching and

learning of mathematics by positioning students in more

active roles as learners. Modeled after the mathematics

goals used by the high-performing schools of Japan and

Singapore (and grounded in research), the content

standards describe what students will know and the

practice standards describe how successful students will

demonstrate their proficiency in mathematics.

**In 1991 the National Council Teachers
**

Mathematics (NCTM) identified communication,

with conversation as the key component, as

one of the six standards for teaching

mathematics.

**A successful mathematics program emphasizes
**

frequent Math Talks in mathematics. MATH

TALKS, is defined by NCTM as “the ways of

representing, thinking, talking, and agreeing and

disagreeing that teachers and students use to

engage in a [mathematical] tasks” (NCTM, 1991).

**The Standards discourage over-reliance on memorization
**

and isolated skills. Instead, teachers are urged to

emphasize problems that require critical thinking,

communication, and mastery of concepts that will

provide sturdier foundations for advanced learning.

**Effective communication about mathematics is
**

essential in helping students develop the

thinking, self-questioning, and explanation skills

needed to master skills and concepts. Effective

communication happens when students articulate

their own ideas and seriously consider their

peers’ mathematical perspectives as a way to

construct mathematical understandings.

Mathematical Practices

1. Make
sense
of
problems
and
persevere
in

solving
them

2. Reason
abstractly
and
quan=ta=vely

3. Construct
viable
arguments
and
cri=que
the

reasoning
of
others

4. Model
with
Mathema=cs

5. Use
appropriate
tools
strategically

6. AFend
to
precision

7. Look
for
and
make
use
of
structure

8. Look
for
and
express
regularity
in
repeated

reasoning

**Encouraging students to construct their own
**

mathematical understanding through

conversation is an effective way to teach

mathematics. The role of the teacher

transforms from being a transmitter of

knowledge to one who presents worthwhile

and engaging mathematical tasks (Rich Math

Tasks). One of the more powerful teaching

strategies in the mathematics classroom is the

use of rich mathematical tasks (RMT) to promote

mathematical conversations. Robust use of Rich

9.

10.

**Math tasks creates the context for Math
**

Talks.

1

**ENRICH DESCRIBES “a rich task as having a range of characteristics that together offer different opportunities
**

to meet the different needs of learners at different times. What is also apparent is that much of what it takes

to make a rich task "rich" is the environment in which it is presented, which includes the support and

questioning that is used by the teacher and the roles that learners are encouraged to adopt. That is, an

environment in which learners are not passive recipients of knowledge, accepting what is given, but independent

assertive constructors of their own understanding who challenge and reflect. On its own a rich task is not

rich - it is only what is made of it that allows it to fulfilL its potential.” (WWW.ENRICH.ORG) We do not

need to be searching for rich tasks. A slight difference in a task or the way questions are posed can provide

ample opportunities for students to engage in meaningful, rigorous mathematics. The key is the orchestration

of the conversation.

CHARACTERISTICS OF RICH INSTRUCTIONAL/

ORCHESTRATING MATHEMATICAL

TASKS

COMMUNICATION

• Focus on the “why” as well as the “how”

**• Allow for multiple entry points and solution
**

methods

**• Challenge students to reason about
**

mathematics by looking for patterns, making

conjectures, conducting explorations, examining

connections between and among mathematical

concepts, and justifying mathematical solutions/

results

**• Make explicit the connections between
**

mathematics and real-life experiences

**• Encourage the use of different tools, including
**

technology, to explore mathematics and solve

mathematics problems

**• Provide opportunities for collaboration to
**

communicate and critique mathematical

• Focus on the “why” as well as the “how”

**• Encourage students to justify and explain
**

their solution strategies

**• Encourage students to critique the
**

mathematical reasoning of others

**• Support students in advancing, but not taking
**

over their thinking as they engage in a

productive struggle with mathematics

**• Elicit and make connections between different
**

mathematical ideas and/or approaches to the

same problem

What does a Math Talk look like… sound like in the classroom? (Adapted from The Routy Math Teacher)

Looks Like

• Students
are
sharing
solu=on
strategies
in
small
groups

• Teacher
uses
“wait
;me”to
support
student
thinking

and
encourage
deep
thinking

• Students
compare
and
connect
their
solu=on

strategies
with
other
students’
solu;ons

• Students
work
collabora;vely
as
a
community
of

learners
to
support
each
other

• Students
and
teacher
par;cipa;ng
and
engaging
in

discussion.

Sounds Like

• Teacher
uses
the
students’
ideas
to
guide
them
to
the

correct
solu;on.

• Students
reﬂect
on
what
others
say
during
instruc;on

• Teacher
guides
discussion
to
stay
focused
on
topic

• Teachers
asks
students
to
ask
ques=ons
about
another

student’s
response

• Students
repeat,
rephrase,
summarize,
translate,
and

build
on
the
thinking
of
others.

• Mistakes
are
used
as
learning
tools.

On the live binders (www.projectaero.org), I have posted the Math Talk Learning Rubric which describe levels and

components of a Math-Talk Learning Community.

**Yesterday, in my emails I received another great example of what is happening in math classrooms, PreK-12. Allison
**

is a third grade teacher at the American School of Madrid.

Hi
Erma,

This
morning
I
ran
my
math
class
like
you
ran
our
module
this
past
weekend.
We
had
a
small
discussion
ﬁrst

about
the
importance
of
the
WHY
we
should
understand
our
thinking.
We
then
only
solved
3
(rich)
word

problems
throughout
the
hour
block.

Kids
ﬁrst
read
the
problem,
solved
it
independently,
then
broke
oﬀ
into
groups
to
share
their
thinking.
It
was

VERY
successful
and
just
wanted
to
share
with
you!
Every
one
of
my
students
drew
a
model,
wrote
an
equa;on

to
support
the
model
and
wrote
word
reasoning
as
to
how
they
arrived
at
their
answer.
Even
the
kids
that
are

hesitant
to
write
a
strong
reasoning
nailed
it.

Yay!

Safe
travels
and
see
you
in
April.

Allison

Thanks to all who have shared their success and samples of student work!!! Providing opportunities for rich math

talks make a difference! In her new book Mathematical Mindsets, Jo Boaler, devoted a chapter (5) to rich

mathematical tasks stating “Mathematics is a subject that allows for precise thinking, but when that precise

thinking is combined with creativity, flexibility, and multiplicity of ideas, the mathematics comes alive for people.

Teachers can create such mathematical excitement in classrooms, with any task, by asking students for the

different ways they see and can solve tasks and by encouraging discussion of different ways of seeing

problems.”

I am excited by the changes I am seeing in math classrooms. Without rich tasks you cannot address the actions

that are important to mathematics, the mathematical practices! The inclusion of the mathematical practices in daily

instruction is critical and the secret to success is for less teacher to student conversation and more student to

student conversation.

Erma

**Links to articles mentioned
**

How the Department of Defense Schools are teaching their version of the Common Core.

Many parents hated Common Core math at first, before figuring it out

The Math Revolution

New, Reading-Heavy SAT Has Students Worried

The Math Class Paradox

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