This month, I’m sharing ideas for teaching with the Common Core mathematical practice standards. And, for my Texas readers, I will be correlating them to the mathematical process standards of the TEKS. The mathematical practice standards are included in each grade level’s Common Core State Standards. They include important processes, practices, and proficiences that are important for the development of every successful mathematician. These standards were derived from the work of The National Council of Teachers of Mathematics, NCTM, and The National Research Council.
For today’s Transformation Tuesday, I want to focus on Mathematical Practice Standard 6: Attend to Precision. An excerpt for this standard, from http://www.corestandards.org/Math, is provided below.
CCSS.MATH.PRACTICE.MP6: Mathematically proficient students try to communicate precisely to others.
This standard correlates with Texas Mathematical Process Standard TEKS 1D which states, “communicate mathematical ideas, reasoning, and their implications using multiple representations, including symbols, diagrams, graphs, and language as appropriate.” (Source: Texas Education Agency)
It’s no secret that I’m a big proponent of using math talk in the classroom. In fact, I wrote a guest post for Rachel Lynette’s Minds in Bloom in 2015. Check it out here! The article is a great read for those of you who are just getting started with math talk. But, to get us started here, here’s a quick overview of the purpose and importance of math talk:
What is Math Talk?
The National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM) defines math talk as “the ways of representing, thinking, talking, and agreeing and disagreeing that teachers and students use to engage in [mathematical] tasks” (NCTM, 1991). Effective communication about mathematics is essential to help students develop the thinking, self-questioning, and explanation skills needed to master required skills and concepts.
Why is it Important?
A successful mathematics program emphasizes communicating mathematically frequently in the classroom. In addition to NCTM’s standards, most state standards include competencies related to communicating effectively through mathematical language, justifying solutions, and evaluating the mathematical thinking of others.
What Does Effective Math Talk Look Like and Sound Like?
Let’s take a look at math talk in action in a third grade classroom in this 5-minute Teaching Channel video below. Here are some questions to ponder while watching the video:
- Describe the classroom environment. What did the teacher do to help the students feel safe and comfortable sharing their ideas?
- Why is it important to have students share different strategies when solving problems?
- Why did the teacher ask the students about the importance of mental math?
Don’t see the video? Click here.
It’s important to note that math talk will look different from classroom to classroom and task to task. The strategies that I recommended in the Minds in Bloom post are just a starting place. Please check out the resources below for more ideas.
As we begin this new semester, I would like to encourage you to consider how you might implement effective math talk in your own classroom and share your ideas with us in the comments section below.
Where to Go for More Information
Books: There are several resources that can provide additional structures and methods for implementing effective math talk in the classroom. Check out the following resources for more insight:
- Classroom Discussions by Suzanne H. Chapin, Catherine O’Connor, and Nancy Canavan Anderson
- Five Practices for Orchestrating Productive Mathematics Discussions by Margaret S. Smith and Mary Kay Stein
- Intentional Talk by Elham Kazemi and Allison Hintz
Pinterest Board: There are many great resources for all grade levels on Pinterest. Click here to check out my Math Talk Pinterest board.
National Council of Teachers of Mathematics. (1991). Professional standards for teaching mathematics. Retrieved from http://www.nctm.org/standards/content.aspx?id=26628