Book Review – 5 Practices

5 practicesOne of the challenging aspects of the Common Core State Standards for Mathematics are the SMP’s (Standards for Mathematical Practice). NCTM had similar process standards for years and sometimes I wonder how many people even knew they existed. So, how do we implement the practice standards? How do we ensure that they gain traction in our practice? One way is through math talk which supports various SMP’s, but clearly addresses #3 – construct viable arguments and critique the reasoning of others. For this to occur there has to be communication, which can take many forms, but kids love to talk. The question is how do we plan for purposeful talk? 5 Practices for Orchestrating Productive Mathematics Discussions by Margaret M. Smith and Mary K. Stein is a worthwhile read if you are interested in this topic. The authors present a framework that addresses how to plan for student responses during classroom discussions. The framework includes 5 specific practices: anticipating, sequencing, monitoring, selecting, and connecting. The 5 practices translate directly to a deliberate planning approach that supports more purposeful discussions. At a little over a hundred pages it’s a quick summer read that directly adds to your teaching tools. I strongly recommend this book. You can find the book at NCTM’s website here.

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