Saturday, August 23, 2014

Math Books That Will Change Your Teaching BLOG HOP!

Welcome to the Math Books That Will Change Your Teaching Blog Hop! 


Get ready to hop around to all of the participating bloggers and learn about the teaching resources that have changed their teaching--resources that come HIGHLY RECOMMENDED! 

Here's how the blog hop works:
  • Read about Putting the Practices in Action by Susan O'Connel and Jon SanGiovanni.
  • Enter the rafflecopter drawing to win a copy of the book!
  • Hop to the next blogger, the next, and the next... to read about more fabulous math teaching resources and enter for a chance to win each of them!!
Here goes!  Get ready to HOP!

About the book...
It's important when thinking about the Common Core Standards that there are two parts--the CCSS Content Standards and the eight CCSS Standards for Mathematical Practice.  There is a huge difference between the two.  The content standards provide just that, content--they are not intended to tell a teacher HOW to teach.  On the other hand, the practice standards are intended to guide a teacher in developing ways of teaching that take students far beyond proficiency in a particular content area and help them develop as thinkers. Each of the eight Standards for Mathematical Practice are thoroughly and thoughtfully addressed in a way that helps the reader first understand the standard.  Then the authors help the reader understand "how they can get there" by providing ideas/strategies as well as student samples. 

Why did I choose this book?

Many moons ago, after I switched from a literacy coordinator to a 3rd grade classroom teacher, I attended a phenomenal math problem solving workshop presented by Susan O'Connell. In the next two years to come, I was fortunate to be able to attended two more of her workshops.  Each of her workshops strengthened my beliefs in how to teach mathematics, but ultimately they exposed me to numerous strategies to help my students develop as mathematicians--thinkers!

For this reason, I was thrilled when I discovered Putting the Practices Into Action: Implementing the Common Core Standards for Mathematical Practice, K-8.  Upon close examination, I found MANY of the strategies/ideas shared by Susan from those workshops I attended.  It was an easy choice for me when deciding what teaching resource to share because this text embodies so many of the strategies I put into action so long ago--strategies that have made me a better teacher of math and my students POWERFUL mathematical thinkers!

As you already know, the Standards for Mathematical Practice came about with the Common Core.  As you also know, these standards embody practices that are NOT NEW.  Making sense of problems and persevering in solving them, using appropriate tools, modeling with mathematics (and the remaining five practices) are, and have ALWAYS been, ways by which our students become problem solvers, reasoners, and communicators of mathematics. Yet, the Common Core has brought these practices to the forefront in an effort to establish consistency from state to state.  I have not found another text that has thoroughly addressed these practices and has offered so many activities and strategies for implementation.  Putting the Pieces Into Action does not disappoint!

Some Text Highlights!
  • a presentation of the rationale and understanding for each standard
  • classroom tested techniques
  • examples across grade
  • tips for assessment
  • specific strategies/activities for implementation

Strategies & Activities

Here are just a few of the strategies/activities I have used for years, shared by Susan in her workshops, an included in Putting the Practices Into Action.

Eliminate It! -- This is an activity that can be used with words, numbers, fractions, models, etc.  The possibilities are many.  The gist---students are given four words and they must eliminate one that does not belong with the others, and they must justify their choice. 

Headline Stories -- An equation is used as a newspaper headline story.  Students create stories (word problems) that go with the headline. 

Number Webs -- Students are given a quantity and they write it in the middle of the web.  Then they web by express the quantity in as many ways as possible.

Pinch Cards -- Cards are printed with symbols to represent select operations (+, -, x, and/or /).  Students show and pinch the operation they would use to solve given problems.

Agree or Disagree? -- A math statement is posed.  Students either agree or disagree with the statement and must provided evidence for their choice.

Number Partners -- A set of numbers is given (about 10).  Students find partners/number pairs to equal a given amount.

4-Square Word Boxes -- A concept/term is written in the middle of the box.  Students define, picture, give real-life examples, and list related words.

Something New to Try

This year, I plan to use "rich tasks" with my second graders.  In the appendix, O'Connell and SanGiovanni share examples of rich tasks for primary, intermediate, and middle school.  Rich tasks integrate most, or all, of the mathematical practices and require students to find solutions (which are many) and make judgements.  I will be sharing some of the rich tasks I use with my students in future posts. 

I strongly encourage you to to take a peek at Putting the Practices Into Action by visiting Heinemann's website.  AND don't forget to enter to win a copy!!

Now it's time to hop on over to Meg at The Teacher Studio!

Thanks go out to Brandi from The Research Based Classroom for organizing this fabulous blog hop!


  1. I love the list of strategies and activities! My students love doing eliminate it! I have not tried pinch cards but they sound amazing!

    The Math Maniac

  2. I haven't read this one before! I love adding new books to the list of what I need to read! Thanks, Sarah!

    Jamie aka MissMathDork!

  3. Great strategies and activities! They are simple yet get to "doing" the math.

    Mr Elementary Math Blog

  4. I have used the eliminate strategy before but I have never heard of pinch it....I'll be googling later...thanks for the great tips and ideas.

  5. This one has been on my list for a long time...great review of it!