The ABC's of the 123's - Preparing a Successful Mathematics Classroom
Three tips for mathematics teachers that will transform student learning and the mathematics classroom are:
A – Active learning. Create an environment of active learning. Mathematics classrooms should be exciting places of active learning where all students can best be described as participants who are effectively engaged throughout the learning process. Numerous aha moments, light bulb moments, and joyful realizations of Yes, I get it should be visibly seen and audibly heard during instructional time in the mathematics classroom. Students should be encouraged and guided to explore, discover, and investigate numbers; developing number sense and critical thinking skills. The math classroom should be a constant celebration of the discoveries and application of new knowledge.
B – Bridge what students have learned in their previous grade level to what they are learning in their current grade level; while preparing them for prerequisites for their next grade level. Bridging enhances student learning by moving them from where they are at the beginning of the academic year to where they need to be at the end of the school year. By knowing and understanding what students are expected to learn in their current grade and in the following grade, teachers are able to provide students with instruction, tools, and learning opportunities that improve their proficiency in mathematics. This facilitates students’ abilities to connect and relate new skills and knowledge to prior knowledge, real world applications, other strands of mathematics, as well as other subjects. Through bridging, the harmful practice of teaching math skills and concepts in isolation becomes obsolete.
C – Collaboration is essential for effectively bridging students’ learning. The current teacher should collaborate with the preceding grade level and the subsequent grade level to maximize student learning. By collaborating with the previous grade level, the current teacher is able to request specific prerequisites as well as identify and discuss common noticeable deficiencies in students’ performances that should be addressed and taught to better prepare them for learning. By collaborating with the subsequent grade level, the current teacher is able to gain valuable insight as to essential skills that are prerequisites for mastery of the next grade level’s content. Collaboration should never be used to gossip, put down, or discuss students in a negative fashion. Sharing that kind of information tends to be subjective, biased, labeling, stereotypical, and prejudicial; causing more harm than good. Collaboration is a powerful tool for stronger, more knowledgeable, well rounded students of mathematics and should be used as such.