Your role as a “More Knowledgeable Other” and the three Foundational Math Teaching Practices.
Welcome to the new school year! We trust that you will be bringing the essence of the “More Knowledgeable Other” into your classroom this year. For some, that role resembles that of a driver’s ed teacher; you are there to provide support and advice, but the students are driving the car (doing the thinking, reasoning and connecting with the math they already know). You still are the one who knows the rules of the road and how to drive and you retain access to an emergency break so you can take the wheel when necessary. As the “more knowledgeable other” in the math classroom it is your role to establish this kind of quality relationship with your students. Remember to prioritize making a personal connection with each and every student these first few weeks.
A quick review of the concept map of the connections between the eight math teaching practices that was shared at the Phase II workshops (shown below) can help ground your work all year. Notice that the three foundational teaching practices at the top; 1. Establishing goals 2. Using quality tasks and 3. Moving from conceptual to procedural must be in place for the other five practices to occur.
Keep in mind that the program is designed with lessons that contain rich tasks to promote reasoning and develop understanding. When teachers decide to rewrite or reorder lessons or chapters, or when they choose to skip some lessons, they may inadvertently be removing these three crucial teaching practice components. If you change or reorder lessons, your students may not clearly grasp the conceptual understanding needed to move to procedural fluency or to make sense of the entire course. To help students see a clear goal and purpose for each lesson, experience tells us, it is best to use the lessons in the order they are given.
Keep the concept map in mind as you plan, teach, and reflect on your lessons this year.