It is common in ELA classrooms for students to leverage relational thinking around text-to-text, text-to-self, and text-to-world connections. What does this kind of relational thinking look like in math class and how can it benefit students? This article, the second in the series, uses classroom scenarios to look at how these connections provide opportunities for students to become stronger mathematicians and for teachers to implement more equitable teaching practice.
Students should have a voice in the writing process. Building students’ writing toolkits and then inviting them into the writing process by asking them to make decisions about how to approach a writing task is one way to do that. In this article, we discuss one way to use gradual release to build student agency in the writing process.
People of all ages and in all spaces use relational thinking on a regular basis. Relational thinking, generally speaking, involves using existing understanding to reason about and make sense of novel information or situations to deepen and/or construct new understanding. In recent years, the IFL math team has been exploring ideas related to relational thinking and its role in teaching and learning mathematics for understanding.
Check out four of our top ELA articles from the archives! They offer insights into why we advocate to make space for collaboarative instructional planning.
Check out four of our top math articles from the archives! They offer insights and practical suggestions for making math classrooms more equitable learning spaces for students.
IFL partner Todd County, South Dakota serves nearly an entirely Indigenous student population. However, their teachers do not reflect that population. To bridge that gap, they are putting their students’ culture at the center of their education.
“Esto Si lo Puedo Hacer!”: Creating Opportuinities for Success when Teaching Academic Vocabulary in Mathematics
Too often we hear the suggestion to pre-teach math terms to multilingual students, an action that prefences memorization over meaning making. Though well intended, this approach limits opportunities for students to engage in sense making of the mathematical concepts and relationships they are studying. There is a better and more equitable way! This article shares four pedalogical choices that foster student success in the math classroom while positioning multilingual learners as leaders.
Fueled by the COVID-19 pandemic, hate crimes against Asian Americans are on the rise. Dr. Virginia Loh-Hagan describes the historical context for this problem and some actions educators can take to combat anti-Asian hate in their schools and classrooms.
Are You “Wishing” Math Content Knowledge Into Your Students? 6 Questions to Ask Yourself to Find Out
What does it mean to “wish mathematical knowledge” into your students? If reading the title of this article makes you pause, you might be doing it. Take the quiz to find out!
Students are more engaged when they see themselves in the books they read. IFL partner, Syracuse City Schools, has worked to better represent all their students by expanding their multicultural libraries on a global scale.
If you want the results to be different, then you must do things in a different way. For one school, this meant taking a hard look at the types of opportunities provided to students to think and reason about mathematics across tiers of instruction. They knew that wanting to increase and improve mathematical understanding for all learners, meant systemic changes related to the instructional materials, teaching practices, and school scheduling. It also meant that everyone had to be on board! This article is the first of a two-part series that explores one school’s efforts to change their system of mathematics intervention to better meet the needs of every student (and every teacher) across all tiers of instruction.
Comprehension work is critical work when we engage students with a text. Understanding and enacting the steps for planning a high-level comprehension task will help teachers provide students instructional opportunities that set every student up for success.
While there has been a tremendous amount of schooling loss, students maintain unique funds of knowledge valuable to math classrooms. This article looks at three practices that work in combination to foster safe, student-centered learning environments as students return to school having unique and varied lived experiences.
Examining ways that school systems can rethink preparation for high-stakes testing, so that it does not highjack the rest, can help establish a post-pandemic new normal. Based on our research-informed work in schools and classrooms, no matter how well-intended, the current system of rewards and sanctions tied to test scores has negatively impacted opportunities for meaningful, high-quality learning experiences that prepare learners for college, career, and community engagement. This has disproportionately impacted students of color, those impacted by poverty, and multi-language learners.
Creativity in mathematics abounds at the intersection of belief and practice! When the belief that all learners are doers of mathematics and enter the classroom with valuable lived math experiences intersects with the use of a lesson routine that offers space for students to do the thinking, learners become the creators and authors of the material from which they learn.
“If you cannot read the word problem, you cannot do the math.” This statement is false on many levels! Students who are receiving math instruction in a language other than their native language are doers of mathematics! And as teachers, it is our job to utilize specific strategies that allow every student in each of our classrooms to engage in thinking deeply about the mathematics. In this article we share four strategies for math teachers to use when working with multilingual students who are working on their English skills while also learning math.
A district’s goal for summer reading should be to help students continue to build their independent reading skills and to foster a love of reading. Students who take up summer reading typically have access to compelling books and choice in what they read (Shin & Krashen, 2008). To achieve a reading program with books that engage students, student voice should be central to summer reading lists.
Representations are windows into student thinking and reasoning. In a time of virtual classrooms, using visual representations is more complex, but as important as ever. If a teacher values students’ thinking, they need to consider how to make it possible for all students to represent that thinking. This article addresses the use of representations and the questions that help students connect representations to deepen understanding of math concepts.
Accountable Talk® Discussions: Solidifying Knowledge and Engaging in Rigorous Thinking Alongside Others in a Collaborative Community
Accountable Talk discussions require teachers and their students to support one another and mutually create a classroom community committed to using and building accurate knowledge and engaging in rigorous thinking. Everyone involved understands and is accountable for respecting each other and the learning community, as a whole. This begins with recognizing and honoring each person’s different lived experiences because every person brings vital knowledge and valuable assets to the learning community. This article provides a general understanding of Accountable Talk discussions and serves as a basis to begin exploring this high-leverage practice.
Teachers can use writing routines to support student writers by creating a sort of conversation between the student writer and the text. This article examines how a set of well sequenced student routines allows students to use writing to express what they know in connection with what they learn from the text.
As the need for virtual instruction continues, educators continue to look for ways to make mathematics instruction more equitable and honor students’ abilities and backgrounds. In this article, we examine three teaching practices that work in virtual spaces and offer six strategies for keeping every student invested and advancing in their conceptual understanding.
Every person is a “math person” and using learner-centered routines can support students in seeing themselves as doers of mathematics. This article, the second of a two-part series, shares how’s and why’s of four learner-centered routines that provide opportunities for students to build positive math identity by creating space for voice, agency, and actually doing mathematics.
Learner-centered routines are valuable tools for educators because the routines help to spur discussion based on student input, support students as they construct understanding, improve how students see themselves as mathematicians, and create opportunities for formative assessment. This article, the first of a two-part series, shares four learner-centered routines that work in-person and online during mathematics discussions. The second article, coming out on December 1, explores how these four routines can be used to create space for student voice and agency and support them in developing positive mathematical identities as doers of mathematics.
Remote Coaching for Rigorous and Engaging Online Classroom Discussions: Layering New Forums with Fresh Insights
Coaches have a critical role in assisting teachers in continuing, rather than abandoning, important pedagogies while teaching online. Read about what is being learned through ongoing research at the University of Pittsburgh’s Learning Research and Development Center on how coaches can support teachers remotely to engage students in rigorous and interactive online discussions.
A story about the art of teaching and the process of translating and refining practice to ensure rigorous learning opportunities for students through collaboration and productive talk.
Many school districts have moved to virtual or hybrid models of instruction and we recognize that using the typical Learning Walk routine, which asks district and school leaders to visit classrooms and provide targeted feedback, doesn’t quite fit in a virtual space. However, we also recognize the need to continue to support district leaders in helping teachers provide high-quality instruction to every student.
Disrupting inequitable practices, examining biases, creating inclusive and sustainable school environments for students, and finding and cultivating the assets and interest that every student brings to school are part of what is needed for all students to develop to their full potential in and out of school.
Accountable Talk® discussions are discussions that promote learning. They are discussions that have evidence of accountability to the learning community, accurate knowledge, and rigorous thinking.
Children are born with the innate capacity to reason beginning at a very young age (Carey, 2009; Gopnik and Wellman, 2012; Spelke and Kinzler, 2007). Very young children build explanatory systems—implicit theories—that organize their knowledge. These theories enable children to predict, explain, and reason about relevant phenomena and, in some cases, intervene to change them.
Many educators name student agency as something they want to work to develop within their schools and classrooms. But what is student agency? And, more importantly, what can we as educators do to foster student agency?
In her article “Framing Equity: Helping Students ‘Play the Game’ and ‘Change the Game’” (2009), Rochelle Gutiérrez lays out the four key dimensions of equity: Access, Achievement, Identity, and Power, which sit on two axes. Access and Achievement create the dominant axis, and Identify and Power create the critical axis.
English learners (ELs)—or emergent bilinguals (EBs) as educators now refer to these students to remove the deficit stigma from their identity (Garcia et al., 2008)—must engage in academic conversations every day to gain access to the world of knowledge. Their educational mission is the simultaneous acquisition of knowledge and English.