Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Minds on Math Workshop Chapter 2- "Tools"

Minds on Mathematics Book Study

If this is your first time joining our book study you can click here to see all previous posts related to the book study.   Please remember to put the book study button shown at the right into your post and link your blog post at the bottom of this post so that other people can visit your blog and see your thoughts. If you missed Chapter 1 please feel free to link up your post on that chapter at any time.  The link will remain open.

I did not post any discussion questions for this chapter so feel free to discuss whatever you found interesting from this chapter as well as any wonderings you have.

I am very familiar with the CC Standards for Mathematical Practice.  I do use them purposefully in my classroom and model and share with students when we are using a particular standard in an effort to familiarize them with the standards.  I love the idea of deliberately adding a process standard to my plans when looking at my content learning targets.  I think embedding these tools into my lesson planning will make a stronger and more meaningful connection.

The thinking strategies will help students to construct meaning as they work to read through tasks and solve problems in the mathematics classroom.

I look forward to reading all of your posts.  Thanks for linking up!


  1. I haven't used the CCSS because we have a very large school system. I work for Fairfax County Public Schools which is the 12th or 13th largest in the nation. Therefore, they tend to take things like CCSS and rework them into something for FCPS. We've been talking about standards like this. They called them math processing goals. I can't remember all of them, but one is about communication. I've seen Pinterest ideas to post thinking stems. You could create a poster with some of the stems from pg 27 to help kids learn how to get 'unstuck' and how to facilitate group communication.

    1. Hi Kristina
      Are you in a state that adopted CCSS? I don't know where Fairfax Co. is. The practice standards for CC are the behaviors and skills you expect students to demonstrate and then you also have the content standards, those are the content standards you teach.

      I did like to focus on thinking strategies in math, they go well with the practice standards.

      Thanks for sharing!

  2. Hey Sherrie!
    I did my post for today and thought I linked up, but I'm not seeing it come through. Let me know if there was a problem and I'll redo.

    I was rolling around the process strand idea also. But what I really had the DUH moment about was the Thinking Strategies. That is what I posted about today.


    Coffee Cups and Lesson Plans

    1. Hi Michele
      I fixed the link and now you can see it. Thanks for sharing your ideas.

  3. I do not have a blog, so my comments will always be here. I strongly agree that all students need to understand that getting stuck is part of the learning process. They need a great deal of help as to how to proceed when stuck. This year I am required to workshop math. My room will be set up in stations around the outer perimeter of the room. At each work station, I have questions that students can ask themselves when they are unable to move forward. I also have a list of questions they can ask their group to get clarity on something they aren't understanding.
    I highlighted the bottom paragraph on page 20. It really spoke to me as a teacher who works with middle school kids. I attended a class this past year on the practice standards. According to the class, the most important standard, thus being #1, is perseverance. This is tough to teach because the students are so comfortable asking us to bail them out and provide the steps to get the answers. They struggle with having the endurance to stick with a rich problem. This is something I want to incorporate. I want to find one really good problem and really delve into it. I hope I don't let myself get overwhelmed by the feeling to cover the sections in the book vs. giving students the time necessary to formulate their own thinking.

    1. I'm excited that we will have three days this month to plan together for workshop. We need to start a to do list of what we need to make/work on during the class.

      I think Carnegie does a good job of giving the problem and letting the students struggle through it (although we know sometimes the struggle can be a bit much for some of our students). Working on scaffolding the problems for our struggling students should really help this.

    2. I've started saving some really good problems that I'm coming across. I would love to go over them with you and see where we think they could fit into the curriculum. They all fit in the practice standards, but would love to place them at the appropriate place in the content too. It would be fun for the kids to get a break from Carnegie for a few days when working a standard. Many of these have elements of "play" that will make it fun for the kids. I'm so excited for the school year! Can't wait to work together!!!!!

  4. My book finally came in today! About get started reading! Looking forward to linking up!

    1. YAY! Can't wait to read your posts Kimberly.

  5. I popped over here from the Middle School Bloglovin blog hop. I already linked up with that fantastic Bloglovin Hop but I wanted to invite you to come and link up AGAIN to another Bloglovin LInky! http://teachingisagift.blogspot.ca/2013/07/back-to-school-with-bloglovin-blog-hop.html. You can download a great freebie and enter to win your own personal laminator!

  6. This chapter seemed to hit the nail on the head for me. I think the most important line is: we need to teach our students how to think not what to know. I'm so guilty if saying, you need to know this, it's going to be on the test. I'm just asking them to memorize something, not LEARN it. So many times my students get stuck, raise their hand, and ask for my help. And what do I do? I look over their work and then tell them where they went wrong and to go back from that point and move forward again. Instead, I should model that for them, and that is a great moment to introduce that strategy. It might be a good idea to ask them to walk me through their steps and maybe they will see their error instead of me TELLING them.

    When you are asking the class to share their mistakes and whether they were able to fix them or not, that takes really good community in your classroom. Anytime you are asking someone to admit when they made a mistake, it's going to take trust, but I believe it's the key to success.

    The chart on page 27 is filled with thinking strategies and I do believe that all are important 1 really stuck out to me: monitoring for meaning. So many times students say "I don't get it". I always tell them that I can't help them if they don't ask the right question. We really want students to hone in on where they are confused or what they aren't understanding so there is a pinpoint of where their is a gap.

    Overall, I really enjoyed reading this chapter. Have you heard of Mark Forget? He has come to our district twice now for 2-4 day seminars and I have learned so much from him. He really focuses on getting students to THINK and he has simple activities that really help teachers. Most of these activities can be pulled out of a hat, so there really isn't a lot of planning necessary. I used many activities last year and was in awe of how well the students enjoyed them, but also how much better their comprehension and understanding was than years past.

    -Jillian Morris


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