Implementing Mathematical Practices in your Classroom

Implementing Mathematical Practices in Your Classroom

Mathematical Thinking
One of the purposes of math teachers is to help your math students develop mathematical thinking. This is achieved through implementing the mathematical practices.
  • Make sense of problems and persevere in solving them
  • Reason abstractly and quantitatively
  • Construct viable arguments and critique the reasoning of others
  • Model with mathematics
  • Use appropriate tools strategically
  • Attend to precision
  • Look for and make use of structure
  • Look for and express reasoning in repeated reasoning
Technically, these practices are supposed to be taught since early elementary grades, but even as a middle school math teacher, I always took the time to explicitly teach them.

Here are three ideas to teach the mathematical practices. 

Assign a Reading Assignment
That's right, I printed out the mathematical practices and their explanations and I assigned my students to read them.  I had them mark up the text, as though they might do in their Language Arts class.  I had them highlight the text, annotate the text, and write questions about the text.  I had them collaborate in small groups about the text and then we had a large group discussion.  Taking the time to do this, truly made the world of difference.

Practice the Mathematical Practices
An excellent time to explicitly teach these skills is the first week or two of school.  I used logic problems to practice these skills.  For example, I would give a logic problem to the students, I often did this in small groups, and have them work on it together.  Then I would have the small groups present their "viable argument" to the class.  The students would then focus on "critiquing their reasoning."  The purpose of the class was not the answer to the logic problem, rather teaching the mathematical practice of, "Construct viable arguments and critique the reasoning of others."  This is just one example, but can easily be applied to other mathematical practices.  

Post and Refer
I made posters for the mathematical practices and hung them at the front of my room.  I kept them there then entire year.  I included them in my teaching on a daily basis.  I would tell the students what skill we were practicing along with the new material.  I would also have my students tell me what skill they were practicing, and have them write about what mathematical practice skill they were practicing on the assignment.  The key for this to be successful is to refer to them and talk about them on a daily basis.  Let them become part of your vocabulary and the students' vocabulary.

If you need some mathematical practices posters then you are luck.  I created these mathematical practices posters that I absolutely love! 

Click on the image below to check out the mathematical practice posters. 

Save This Article
Save these tips and ideas to your favorite classroom Pinterest board. Come back and reference them for ideas on how to implement the mathematical practices in your classroom. 

Implementing Mathematical Practices in Your Classroom

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