Monday, June 10, 2013

Building Mathematical Comprehension- Chapter 1

I'm so excited that it's time for Chapter 1 of the Building Mathematical Comprehension book study. A big thanks to Brenda at Primary Inspired and Beth at Thinking of Teaching for starting the study and for hosting week one!

My husband always says that I take for-ev-er to get to the point of what I'm trying to say...I of course don't think that's true; I think he's just being a man about it...but in the event that he's right...which of course rarely happens (I know he won't be reading this so I can say that!)...I'll be giving you the straight to the point, no fuss, no muss version each week. I've included my personal thoughts and reflections in italics for your reading pleasure {ha!}.

Here are my take away points from Chapter 1:

Mathematics Goal: Teach students to use mathematics for functional uses (19).

I need to help my students make real world connections between the math we do in class and their everyday lives!

Reaching that Goal:
  • build consistency with instructional strategies across content areas (in the case of this book, reading strategies applied to mathematics) (21)
I need to be aware of the strategies that I use in one subject and identify how they can be used consistently across content areas. This book is a great start!
  • create a consistent vocabulary to maximize effectiveness (21)
Consistent strategy vocabulary will ease confusion and will help with the implementation of strategies across content areas.
  • teach the structure of word problems similar to how you would teach the structure of a narrative or expository text (25)
Duh! We do this in reading, why wouldn't we do it when approaching problem solving. Maybe teach students how to give word problems a mini or simplified close read. 
  • to increase confidence and willingness to try, acknowledge the various ways students will attempt problem solving as opposed to expecting one way to arrive at the solution  (25)
I have to remember to encourage students to be creative in their approaches to problem solving. Many times you can arrive at the correct answer in a variety of ways. I have to nurture every road that students take to get to that answer.
  • give students credit for trying every problem and showing their work versus only giving credit for correct answers; this will increase persistence towards mathematical tasks (26-27)
My partner teacher and I grade all math work for accuracy. {thumbs down!} After reading this chapter and watching some videos from Rick Wormeli {fabulous, and a thumbs up!!} I hope to be changing that next year. Maybe a post on that coming soon?
  • teach strategies explicitly using 6 steps quoted by Sammons (31):
    1. Explain WHAT the strategy is
    2. Explain WHY the strategy is important
    3. Explain WHEN to use the strategy
    4. MODEL the strategy (without student involvement)
    5. GUIDE students while they practice the strategy
    6. Let students use the strategy INDEPENDENTLY
I've always been a fan of explicit instruction, modeling, think-alouds, and such so this is an encouraging first step for me.
Of course there are so many more important things discussed in this chapter. I highly recommend you get a copy and join in the study.

See you next week for Chapter 2: Recognizing and Understanding Mathematical Vocabulary   

SIDE NOTE: I'm giving a day or two more for my Guess My Number Giveaway. Read and enter here


  1. I really enjoyed your post on Chapter 1. You did a great job of getting straight to the point. :) Found your cute blog though the linky.

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  3. This is a great post! I love how you wrote your own thoughts in conjunction with the text from the book.
    Thanks for linking up.
    Thinking of Teaching