Friday, July 5, 2013

Minds on Math Chapter 2

Wow!  That's what I thought over and over as I read through chapter 2.  There were so many things in chapter 2 that left me feeling as if I had been overlooking the obvious for years.  The chapter was about tools, not the kind in the garage, the kind we use (or should be using) in the classroom.

As a former ELA teacher (and self-proclaimed lover of books), Hoffer's suggestion of using ELA strategies in the mathematics classroom was my biggest take-away from this chapter.   Ward Hoffer refers to the strategies as "Thinking Strategies", but the strategies are the same as what ELA teachers are teaching our students to use when they read.  Can you say genius?

All great teachers know the benefits that cross-curricular lessons have for students and teachers.  So why hasn't it clicked until now that we could use the same strategies?  Imagine the time saved when we can refer to what students already know and do and how students can use that to dive into rich mathematical content! Ward Hoffer writes, "These strategies are far more than sentence stems and conversation starters, but rather learned approaches that can scaffold students' independence as problem solvers" (p. 29).  

I am a Texas teacher, and as everyone knows, Texas did not adopt the Common Core Standards.  In Texas we have content standards and process standards.  The process standards include application, using a problem-solving model, using appropriate tools, communicating, creating and using representations, analyzing relationships, and displaying, explaining, and justifying mathematical ideas.  Our task, and a focus in our district this year, is to purposefully incorporate the process standards into our lessons.  In some ways the Thinking Strategies overlap our process standards (i.e.create representations & mental models) and in others, they work hand in hand.

I have started looking at some of the topics that come up early in the school year.  I want to take a look at what specific strategies and process standards I can use with those topics and how to reformat the class so that it fits the workshop model.  So much to do and so little time!  So much for summers off :)

1 comment:

  1. I too loved the emphasis on the thinking strategies. We are really starting to focus on content literacy in my school. I think these strategies along with the practice standards will be such great tools to help students understand the math! Thanks for sharing Melanie.


Thanks for visiting...come back soon!