Mathematics Teaching in the Middle School

Have you ever wondered, "How can I take my teaching to the next level?" Whether you're a 6th grade math teacher, 7th grade math teacher, or 8th grade math teacher, teaching math in middle school is tough. I want to share one of my favorite math strategies for middle school teaching.  I learned this strategy the summer before my 3rd year of teaching. I was scared to implement it for various reasons, but I trusted the process, and never looked back.

Here is my favorite instructional strategy for middle school math, "If you want to change the way your students think, then change the way you teach." Let me explain further, so you understand what I mean.  Ask yourself this question, "How do you want your students to think?"  While I'm sure your answers vary somewhat, I'm quite certain nobody said that they want their students to think superficially, or that they want their students to be good memorizers. Some answers may have included that you want your students to be deep-thinkers, to be critical-thinkers, or to be good problem-solvers. If that's how we want out students to think, then that's how we need to teach. 

I remember when I first started teaching deep instead of superficial, it took more time. I worried that I wasn't going to be able to get through the content if I taught every topic at such a deep level.  However, I quickly realized something. When I taught at a deep level, the students retained the information much better. I was having to do less review, and I was able to use the "review time" to teach the content in a way that they would retain it. 

If you're not sure with how to start teaching at a deeper level, let me suggest that as part of your lesson plan, you write at least 5 quality questions that you can ask your students about the content. Have the students make connections to other math content that you have discussed. Have them explain why the procedure works.  Ask them to figure out two ways to solve the problem. Have them explain their reasoning to their solution. Have them explain their friend's reasoning. One of my favorite questions...ask them why you can't divide by zero. This turns into such a great conversation. 

If you're a middle school math teacher looking to change the way you teach then I have got you covered. I deep dive into all the middle school math common core topics in these guided notes that I have spent thousands of hours on. Click on your grade level below that you teach to check out the notes.

Use the image below to share this math strategy for middle school with other math educators. 

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