Saturday, July 6, 2013

Minds on Math: Chapter 2-Tools

This chapter describes the tools students need to construct understanding.  Constructing understanding is something I have been really thinking about especially this last year.  I find that I can teach math concepts and have students do well on the chapter test, but not have "learned" it.  I have always told my students that this is not just math class, it is thinking class: you have to learn how to think!
So this chapter continues to have me nodding my head in agreement.  However, it is a little overwhelming!  There are three sets of "tools" outlined in this chapter:

• The Common Core Standards of Mathematical Practice
• Twenty-First-Century Skills
• Thinking Strategies

We are using Singapore Math-Math in Focus starting this year and one of features I really liked about it was it lines up the CCS Mathematical Practices with each lesson!  So that part will be extremely easy for me to integrate into my lessons and the charts Hoffer give on p.22 and 23 are going to be invaluable when I am planning! I can already tell that this book is going to be well worn by the end of the year!

Twenty First Century skills seem to be what the "workshop" idea is all about.  This is where my students are going to need the most guidance.  They are so used to being told explicitly what to do when it comes to math that it is hard for them to get creative.  They just want to be told how to do it and get frustrated and shut down.  This year I plan on spending a good bit of time in the beginning just teaching these skills.

Finally the Thinking Strategies...I love these!  I am also reading Comprehending Math by Arthur Hyde and he uses these strategies as well.  I was introduced to his KWC strategy at the end of the year by my math coach and it worked so well when I could get the kids to use it.  This year I will be teaching it at the beginning of the year so hopefully I won't have to beg them to use it!  KWC for problem solving is similar to KWL charts in ELA, K is what do you know about the problem, W is what is the question, or what are you trying to find out, and C is what are the conditions or restraints.