Saturday, February 16, 2013

What does it mean to do mathematics? IIa

One of this blog's most popular posts describes how a group of preservice teachers envisioned doing mathematics. They combined elements of concept maps with metaphor to create an anchor chart that expressed their views. This activity is typically untaken at the end of the first unit in Teaching and Learning Middle Grades Mathematics - a unit that focuses in on the NCTM's Process Standards. It seemed like a good time to share some more recent exemplars. 

First, here's the workshop:
Schema Activation:  What will it look like?

  • Look back over your work from previous Teaching Math Workshops as you determined what was important in the NCTM’s Process Standards. Note any patterns you see in your journal.
  • “Students entering a classroom that visually represents the mathematics being studied are more likely to share in that enthusiasm and be willing to create and share their work (Ennis and Witeck, 2008).” So what will your math classroom look like in order to show what it means to do mathematics and encourage learners to do the same?
Focus: Anchor Charts
The following description comes from Debbie Miller’s (2002) Reading with Meaning:
…I do create “anchor charts” after lessons from which I want children to remember a specific strategy or concept. I write a note of explanation at the top of the chart and note snippets of conversation, individual comments, and statements that reflect our work together.
Anchor charts make our thinking permanent and visible, and so allow us to make connections from one strategy to another, clarify a point, build on earlier learning, and simply remember a specific lesson. (p. 57)
An anchor chart is one way to communicate to learners your expectations regarding what doing math will look like in your classroom.
Activity: Create an Anchor Chart for Doing Mathematics
  1. Reflect on the Anchor Chart Rough Drafts completed in class.
  2. Develop an anchor chart called "Doing Mathematics."
Reflection:  What’s important
Review your “Doing Mathematics” anchor chart. Write an "artist's statement" that highlights what is important in your chart.


Two exemplars from Fall 2012 are found in the next two posts. (It was turning into a really long post.) The first leans heavily on metaphor as she associates doing math with riding a bike. And the second uses a more traditional concept map to communicate her vision.

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