Why we need a new cultural script for math instruction

The other day I was working with the teachers at a school who are investigating how they might improve their math instruction. We began by brainstorming characteristics of the “ideal” math lesson. I gave teachers this prompt:

What does an effective mathematics classroom and lesson look like and sound like to meet the needs of each and every learner?

I gave teachers a few minutes to write down as many ideas as possible on sticky notes; one idea per sticky note. After a few minutes the teachers had generated MANY ideas.

Teachers then placed their ideas into an empty Mathematics Hierarchy of Needs chart. The MHoN is the framework the MCOE Math Team uses to describe the ambitious instruction we want to see each and every student receive. You can read more about the MHoN here: http://MathHierarchy.com 

Wonderful conversations took place amongst the teachers as they grappled and debated where their stickies might go. Not surprisingly, some stickies could have been placed in multiple spots, but the conversations that took place during the decision-making process were invaluable.

Here are a couple of MHoN with stickies attached…

As teachers looked at their ideas of an effective mathematics lesson, it became apparent that their current cultural script for math instruction – essentially “I do, We do, You do” – was never going to achieve their ideal effective math lesson.

A new instructional script, they agreed, would be needed.

What is that new script?  You can read about this new script here and here and here and here.

Is your math team yearning for an instructional approach that will engage students, foster peer collaboration, develop deep math understanding, and is EASY to implement?

Start with doing your own brainstorming with sticky notes. Place them into a blank mathematical hierarchy of needs chart. Then read about the new script the MCOE Math Team is so passionate about.

Do not hesitate to reach out to us if you have any questions!

Duane Habecker