Monday, March 28, 2011

Infusing Math Each Day
Builds Students’ Math Competency

”In this changing world, those who understand and can do mathematics will have significantly enhanced opportunities and options for shaping their futures. Mathematical competence opens doors to productive futures. A lack of mathematical competence keeps those doors closed.”
-- National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM)
In her role as executive director of the Northeast Foundation for Children/Responsive Classroom, Roxann Kriete spends a fair amount of time in classrooms where she frequently observes Morning Meetings, a staple of the Responsive Classroom® approach. After one such day of observations, Kriete returned to her office excited to share how engaged students were. She talked enthusiastically about the vocabulary and language development she’d seen happening in their Morning Meetings, only to be taken back when a friend posed a question about her school visit:
Did you see any math going on?
“His question stopped me for a moment as I reflected,” Kriete said. “I had to acknowledge that I had not seen any math in the meetings I’d observed.”

In the weeks ahead, Kriete repeated the question she’d been asked to many colleagues who work with teachers. They related terrific stories of classes collecting, charting, and discussing data about aspects of classroom life. Colleagues also told her of activities that students clamored to “play” that developed fluency with math facts or encouraged deductive reasoning. But even those colleagues had to admit that it wasn’t all that common to see math skills embedded as part of the daily Morning Meeting routine.

Those conversations made clear a need that the Foundation has met with the publication of its latest book, Doing Math in Morning Meeting.

“We know that in math, as in all areas, we are powerful models and our students are astute observers who take their lessons and shape their own attitudes from their observations of us,” Kriete writes in the introduction to the book. “It’s critical that we find ways for our students to see us using math and enjoying doing so.”

In the pages of Doing Math in Morning Meeting, co-authors Margaret Berry Wilson and Andy Dousis have gathered dozens of ideas to create a practical guide that any teacher – even a self-proclaimed “math phobe” – can use to engage students and infuse math into their daily routines. The activities were chosen to match the community- and confidence-building purposes of Morning Meeting. The true beauty of the activities lies in the fact that they
  • are brief;
  • require few materials;
  • are easy to manage;
  • are varied;
  • emphasize familiar concepts;
  • emphasize questions with many correct answers; and
  • ensure feelings of mathematical success.
The book’s classroom-tested ideas for incorporating math will help teachers prop opens the doors to math pleasure and math competence among their students, added Kriete.


Add a copy of Doing Math in Morning Meeting to your school’s professional development library this month. It’s the perfect gift to your teachers for Math Awareness Month!


Morning Math
Principal Larry Davis emphasizes the importance of math by making Morning Math part of his school's morning routine. Two days a week during morning announcements, he poses "Mr. Davis Math Questions" to the students at his Florida elementary school. Now you can do the same in your school! Each week, Davis and Education World present two new sets of math questions for you to use to engage students and build math skills.

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