Student-centered math instruction. That’s what we all want, right? If only we didn’t have this hectic race to “cover” so many topics, now exacerbated by snow days (at least in our neck of the woods). Teaching Student-Centered Mathematics: Developmentally Appropriate Instruction for Grades 3-5 by de Walle et al. is a terrific guide for teachers who want to get it right. It’s not light reading, but I would highly recommend it and its partner volume for Pre-K -2.
Teaching Student-Centered Mathematics focuses on teaching math through problem-solving. The authors recommend using authentic contexts for instruction instead of what they refer to as “naked” numbers. They address the intricacies of teaching content from number sense through fractions, decimals, measurement, geometry, and data. They also describe common misconceptions as students learn math and strategies for addressing those problems.
What makes this volume so effective?
- The authors reference the latest neuroscience and math research
- They focus on the diversity of learners, including those with math disabilities
- They deal specifically with how to incorporate parents in the learning process
- Technology is incorporated throughout
- Specific activities are provided
- There are ample opportunities/suggestions for reflection
- Multiple visuals provide explanations of how to present math concepts and the ways students might solve problems
- The authors clarify common teacher mistakes in math instruction for each topic
- Purchase of the book provides online access to black line masters for downloading and printing
I do find it ironic that this excellent book is published by Pearson, a giant in the educational publishing world and responsible for enVisionMATH, one of my least favorite math programs! EnVisionMATH, often introducing new topics every 10 days or less, seems to be the antithesis of what de Walle et al. are recommending. Perhaps enVision was written for snow days.