Explicitly Taught Learning Behaviors and Standards for Mathematical Practice

Teaching the standards for mathematical practice is so critical to help students become better at problem solving and to be better math thinkers and doers!  Math practices, math practices activities, math practices posters, math practices lessons
I know I have written about quite a range of topics since the beginning of this little blog, but recently I have seen a number of blog posts (here included!) about goals/resolutions for the new year.  Returning to school in January can be a great time for goal setting--and a great time to revisit some of those "back to school" things we do automatically in the fall.

Teaching Students What We Want Them to Do

I have been doing this teaching thing for more than 25 years now, and one thing I know to be true is that there are just some things that some students don't do naturally.  You would think they could walk in a line...read a book without getting distracted...know to not peel off the nametags on their desks.  But they don't--at least some of them don't.  We need to explicitly teach them what we expect!

The push for better reading behaviors has dramatically changed reading performance (and enjoyment!) in my class.  For the last 10 years or so I have explicitly taught my readers what effective readers do...and it makes a difference. Want to read more about this?  Just CLICK HERE for another blog post with more.  Here's another post about incorporating those reading behaviors into student-set goals.  Read that post by CLICKING HERE.

Teaching the Standards for Mathematical Practice

But today I want to talk about how I am going to go back and revisit MATH behaviors when we return to class next week.  The Common Core has thankfully included a set of 8 mathematical practice standards geared toward raising the level of rigor in the classroom--and require us to explicitly teach students how to be mathematicians.  The image above is an anchor chart I have hanging in my room.  We are going to work ourselves back through the list with a series of activities in January.  I am not so naive as to think that my initial instruction on this 4 months ago was enough for all my students.  We continue to talk about them throughout our lessons, but it's time to tighten the focus again.  I display these "kid friendly" posters in my room--but most importantly, we talk about them, we model examples of them, and we practice them.  "Attends to Precision" is one that I start the year with and revisit constantly.  (I have other color combinations in my store as well.)
Teaching the standards for mathematical practice is so critical to help students become better at problem solving and to be better math thinkers and doers!  Math practices, math practices activities, math practices posters, math practices lessons, precision

Teaching the standards for mathematical practice is so critical to help students become better at problem solving and to be better math thinkers and doers!  Math practices, math practices activities, math practices posters, math practices lessons
So...if the idea of "Math Behaviors" is new to you, I encourage you to spend some time snooping around the Common Core.  The math practice standards are explained in somewhat technical language.  I have made this "math behaviors" anchor chart to be a little more student-friendly, and I have also posted mini-posters that state all 8 practice standards in kid-friendly language.  
I have a few versions in my TpT store if you think they would help you.  I've also created a set of Standards for Mathematical Practice checklists that help break down these math standards for teachers AND students because there is a LOT to them! Don't forget that there are lots of ways to infuse instruction related to these standards!  Here are just a few examples... 

Teaching the standards for mathematical practice is so critical to help students become better at problem solving and to be better math thinkers and doers!  Math practices, math practices activities, math practices posters, math practices lessons
 Here are the checklists I use to help students better understand the standards and to help them self-assess.
Teaching the standards for mathematical practice is so critical to help students become better at problem solving and to be better math thinkers and doers!  Math practices, math practices activities, math practices posters, math practices lessons
 So--another challenge for all of you...how much "explicit instruction" have you given your students on what you expect from them in math class?  It's time for me to dig back in...it's a cyclical process that we need to spiral through our year.  Thanks for stopping by!


5 comments

  1. Meg, I am very excited to have found another 4th grade teacher/blogger to follow! Your posts are amazing and I have spent most of my morning reading through them. When school starts back up in a few days I will be reteaching many of our classroom rules and procedures again. We will also be focusing on math behaviors and the common core. I look forward to reading more of your posts in the future!

    Jennifer
    Elementary School Garden

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    1. Thanks for coming by, Jennifer! I am heading over to your blog to check it out--but I'm pretty sure I've been there before! I'm glad my post made you think, and I look forward to having you come back often!

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  2. Hey :) I am your newest follower.. and also a fellow fourth grade teacher!! I love your math poster and it is always important to reinforce responsibilities and behaviors.. I may look into doing just that. Thanks! :)

    Laura
    http://lovetoteach123.blogpost.com

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    1. Thank you so much for your kind words! I hope you come back to visit often!

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  3. Meg,I'd love for a more in-depth post on how you initially taught and then revisited the mathematical practices/behaviors. Even though I teach a group of really smart kids, I often see that they try and then give up and wait for the answer. Neatness and clarity (precision) also leaves room for improvement. Any specific strategies you could share? I'd love to work on this for the rest of the year and definitely hit the ground running with these practices next year. Thanks, love your blog!

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