This blog is for the Math in Inquiry-Based Learning book study.
I loved the research and ideas brought up in this chapter... because these are often the ways I use in FDK to make sure the children have math exposure. In my first year of FDK, I had a parent ask to meet with me about something that was troubling them - I was panicked for most of the day,l trying to figure out what was wrong, what I did, etc. When she arrived, she said "Why don't you teach ___ math?"This was so comical to me I almost laughed at her - we did math every day!!! I started asking questions, and showing her the very "math" thing we had worked on that day - playing Snakes & Ladders. She was clearly skeptical that Snakes & Ladders was what any "good" teacher would teach her child. It took about 30 minutes, but I was able to help her see that card/dice/board games were all able to teach her child not only to memorize what numbers look like, but what they actually mean. This was an eye-opener for me, because while I was pretty sure I was doing math with the children, maybe this wasn't the only parent questioning HOW the math was being done. So this prompted a Math Newsletter, highlighting research and what we were "playing" in school to help build our math skills. The feedback I got from this was great - one parent even said "I feel like I have permission to play with my child now, and the bonus is, he's learning"!!
While reading this chapter, I couldn't help but think about my own school's math practice. I was a member of our school planning team this year, and we looked at a lot of different areas of the school learning environment, especially math. In previous years, we had adopted a "growth mindset" approach to learning. What came out of our discussions this year was that while growth mindset is important, many students didn't have a mathematical mindset (as Boaler refers to it) - meaning, without confidence in their own math ability, they weren't able to demonstrate a growth mindset towards news tasks/problems. We decided as a team to focus on number talks this year, so it's so encouraging to me to see Boaler discuss them in this chapter, and to highlight how important they are to number sense development. I know there are still teachers that I work with who believe math drills and memorization are the way to go. I hope that I am able to take what I have learned from this book and apply it to my own teaching practice, and maybe inspire others to do the same. I struggled so much with math as a child, and there were definitely parts of this chapter that I felt could have been written by me (specifically the part about math trauma!). I had started doing number talks with my FDK class last year, and am looking forward to really developing my math program this year and encouraging more math talk and number play throughout my class.
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I posted my chapter 4 notes here: http://adventuresinmatheducation.weebly.com/mathematical-mindsets---blogI've been on vacation and need to get caught up!
Two quotes in particular resonated with me in this chapter: "the early years of school are most critical that teachers and parents introduce math as a flexible conceptual subject that is all about thinking and sense making" and "Children need to see math as a conceptual, growth subject that they should think about and make sense of. When students see math as a series of short questions, they cannot see the role for their own inner growth and learning". These quotes confirm everything that I believe about teaching math.I appreciated Boaler's comments about no homework. The reflective homework questions are fantastic! I can't wait to try Number Talks, I know that Kenken will be a part of our math program (my own children love them) and I will definitely try the math apps recommended.