Monday, January 26, 2015

The Math Practice Standards

I've read a lot recently about the math practice standards as described in the Common Core State Standards and have come to the conclusion that if the CCSSM content standards are the 'what' of teaching math the the CCSSM practice standards are the 'how' of teaching math. In other words, teacher must know the math practice standards so well that they become an integral part of the teacher's interaction with the student.

Any behavioral changes we need to implement in our interactions with students takes time but I can feel myself slowly changing when I interact with my students during my math  education classes. My focus is also changing when I observe my student teachers teach math. This morning, for example, I observed a student teaching third graders all about multiplication facts She did a great job drawing the students' attention to the structure made by the facts on the multiplication table, a 10 x 10 square. She also had the students identify the regularity of counting by 4s or 5s. And, if this wasn't enough, she also gave the students some problems to model mathematically to demonstrate their understanding of the multiplication facts.

The key to the implementation of the math practice standards has to be in how we interact with students mathematically; what we ask them to do and how we ask them to do it. The activities themselves are not going to do this. We need to consistently and conscientiously ask, require, tell, suggest, model, demonstrate, and use any other appropriate verb that will, over time, help students integrate the math practice standards into their lives.

They really are dispositions by which to live our mathematical lives. 

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