We started this school year with new math curriculum in my district. For the first time since the CCSS was released our students are working towards understanding and applying the grade level expectations; up to this point our curriculum was not aligned. Although I know the mathematical concepts and processes, I am working towards understanding and applying the Mathematical Practices, a new portion of the CCSS. These practices are the same across all grade levels, although their complexity grows as students age.
This is an entirely new layer to students’ mathematical learning. At the start of the school year we have worked on developing the community we need to ensure students are willing to take risks, ask questions, learn from each other and will revise their work with an eye towards both accuracy and efficiency. I introduced Guidelines for Discussions (included in the visual) that have helped to foster the climate that’s needed.
I could provide my students with the text of the Mathematical Practices, read all eight of them and hope that over time they will begin to internalize each of the practices. Using an interactive visual will help ensure a deeper understanding. Starting with the Guidelines for Discussion, students will see text they are familiar with. Within the Mindmup app I layered the eight Mathematical Practices with a question or comment that helps to explain the Practice in student-friendly language. Additionally, each Practice has a weblink attached to it to more deeply explain what each Practice looks like in the elementary classroom.
Using computers to investigate Mathematical Practices will bring a heightened level of engagement. In my math class I have a total of 27 students. Each group will be assigned four of the Mathematical Practices (1-4 or 5-8) to investigate using the Mindmup map. They will create a poster that includes the four Mathematical Practices they’re assigned and examples that embody each Practice. Within our classroom we will have three different explanations for each of the eight Mathematical Practices. Students will be able to make connections to other groups’ interpretations and find differences. Additionally, this very process helps to model the Mathematical Practices themselves (multiple explanations, different applications or processes, shared responsibility, grappling with the work, etc.).
From their “translation” of the Mathematical Practices students will create final-draft posters that include each group’s understanding of the eight Practices. All eight will hang inside my classroom and will provide visual reminders of the ongoing learning they are doing throughout the year.
Visual representations help students organize information in their brain, grows connections and helps ensure engagement. I’ve never used Mindmup before. It was easy to use, but I think there are additional features I haven’t yet discovered. Discovering new apps helps teachers imagine new delivery models for students. This can help ensure learning is engaging, differentiated, and meets students’ needs.