Book Study: Accessible Mathematics

Watch:  It's Instruction Stupid (5ish minutes)
  • Reflect
  • What are you thinking?

Chapter 1 - We've Got Most of the Answers
  • The author mentions the differences between a typical US classroom and Japanese classroom.  Which are we more like?  What are the pros and cons of each?  Where do the mathematical practices fit into these situations?
Chapter 2 - Ready, Set, Review
  • Would a daily review, although taking time out of class, actually save us time throughout the year?  Should teachers write their own reviews or make an "annual" sequence?  What's more important, the review question or the discussion?
Chapter 3 - It's Not Hard to Figure Out Why Reading Works Better than Math

  • This chapter focuses on the mathematical practices of the CCSS.  Did you know that ELA, Math and the Next Generation Science Standards all have comparable practices.  It keeps questions like "Does that make sense" and "do you comprehend" in the forefront.  
  • How did you react to the comments "homework assignments with too many "practice" problems that cannot possibly all be reviewed the next day are so counterproductive" and "it makes no sense to try to cover so much material during a school year when every professional bone in your body tells you it's not sinking in for many..."
Chapter 4 - Picture It, Draw It
  • I would concur with the number of times I observe a classroom and want to jump and and say "draw it!"  In that spirit, share your experiences with drawing, picturing,or visualizing a mathematical concept.  What was the concept?  What was the outcome? 
Chapter 5 - Language-Rich Classes
  • If you get a chance to read through some of your colleagues responses, there is a definite theme lately.  Depth of instruction and retention.  This chapter is all about depth of instruction.  Increasing our students literacy in math by attacking problems in different ways, letting them increase their background knowledge, and allowing them to help determine the depth of instruction will only increase their retention.
  • After reading this chapter are we doing enough depth through literacy?
Chapter 6 - Building Number Sense
  • What is number sense?  Why should we focus on number sense? What are some important factors to building number sense?  Why is it important to build number sense?
Chapter 7 - Milking the Data
  • Why is the "So?" strategy such a powerful way to introduce a concept?  How could you see this being used in your classroom?  Be specific regarding the content being covered.
  • What are some other major take-aways from this chapter.

Chapter 8 - How big, How Far, How Much?
  • This chapter discusses emphasizing the questions, "How Big, How Far, How Much?"  It is all about measurement and understanding what an amount is (ties to estimation).  No specific question because the skin question is pretty leading on its own.  What are your thoughts?  Where can/do we incorporate this into our instruction?
Chapter 9 - Just Don't Do It!
  • What to remove - valid reasoning for removing it.  What are your thoughts?  This is a potentially dangerous chapter.

Chapter 10 - Putting It All Context

  • This chapter by now should be completely obvious given the focus for the past several years on Mathematical Tasks.  I am putting a collection of them on this blog (under the book study link) over the summer.  If you have ones you find/like, email them my way.
  • For this chapter, I want to know what is stopping us from doing tasks.

Chapter 11 - Just Ask Them "Why?"

  • In my opinion, this is probably the most important chapter.
  • Failing to follow up a student's answer with "why?" or "how did you get that answer?" or "Can you explain your thinking?" is a serious missed opportunity.  
  • What does active discourse reinforce?
  • Why follow up most answers with a request for an explanation?