Math should be accessible to all students in our classrooms. As teachers it is our job to give all students the opportunity to explore math in a meaningful way. Our ultimate goal is to build a positive math culture that encourages every student to love math.
As math teachers our goal is to make our math program more student centred by building a positive culture around mathematics. By building a positive math culture our hope is that students will be able to develop their number sense, operational and computational fluency as well as to build the confidence to take on more challenging problems. Before we can address student understanding and fluency, we must first address the culture around mathematics. Math anxiety is common in many classrooms, and this acts as a barrier to students reaching their full potential. By first creating a positive culture around math we are able to reduce anxiety. Building a positive culture sounds simple but like any change affecting a large group of people it will require time, grit, collaboration, and a willingness to try new things. When reimagining our math culture to something that is more positive and makes math something students look forward to, we will need to consider many stakeholders, teachers, administration, other school staff, students, parents, and community members. Change may be slow, it might be one classroom at a time or one lesson a week. Together we can change the math culture in our schools. Start by picking one thing to change in your own classroom and build from there.
The question for us is how are we going to do this in our classrooms? What can we refresh and update to improve our math culture?
While this is not an exhaustive list I am suggesting:
- Low threshold high ceiling tasks
- Number talks
- High Yield Math Routines https://www.nctm.org/Store/Products/High-Yield-Routines-for-Grades-K-8/
- Number Corner https://www.mathlearningcenter.org/curriculum/number-corner
- Rich tasks
- Carol Fullerton resources https://mindfull.wordpress.com/visit-the-online-store/
- Building thinking classrooms https://buildingthinkingclassrooms.com/14-practices/
- You Cubed https://www.youcubed.org/tasks/
- NRICH https://nrich.maths.org/
- Three act math tasks https://blog.missyounger.com/2022/08/21/three-act-math-tasks/
- Mindset Mathematics https://www.youcubed.org/mathematical-mindset-teaching-resources/
- Math stations / Guided Math
- Building Thinking Classrooms
- Math Games