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How to get started with Math Talks

There has been much written about the value of math talks in the classroom as a tool to engage students and strengthen understanding. Math talks or math discussions is a technique that also helps students see themselves, and their classmates, as valued mathematical thinkers. Research suggests that when students talk more about their math thinking, they are more motivated to learn, and they learn more! It also provides teachers with a valuable form of assessment, giving them insight into what students have mastered and where they still need assistance. Here are a few ideas to try in your classroom to promote more math conversations.

Promote Questioning Throughout the Lesson

The Moving with Math lessons with the Concrete – Representational – Abstract (CRA) instructional model incorporate math discourse into the classroom every day. Manipulatives are used to introduce all math concepts and allow students with varying learning styles to explore, discover and communicate their understanding. Lessons are designed to help foster more student conversation and less teacher talk. Lightly-scripted lesson plans give teachers engaging activities and questions to develop meaningful classroom discussions and foster small group interaction.

Manipulatives are used in the introductory part of the lessons and provide an engaging way to begin classroom discussions. When students are introduced to the base ten blocks, they are asked to find similarities and differences between the blocks. “How are the blocks alike? How are they different? Questioning helps to introduce mathematical ideas and concepts as well as build on those ideas throughout the lesson.

Foster Small Group Conversation about Word Problems
Helping students tackle word problems is a focus for most teachers. Moving with Math’s five-part problem solving model provides a framework that gives students a plan for success. Students are introduced to the steps and strategies and then can work in pairs or small groups to solve problems. This small group setting gives students a chance to share and verbalize their ideas and may help ELL students who might feel more comfortable asking questions in a smaller setting.

Explicitly Teach How to have Math Conversations

Sentence starters are a great way to teach students about meaningful math conversations. Teachers use sentence starters to encourage peer communication and foster language acquisition in small groups or as a whole class. They can also be used to build on knowledge or to discover student strategies. For example, students can explain their moves in a game or strategies for playing a game using teacher provided sentence starters.

In the game “What’s My Secret?”, students select fraction strips that are alike in one way. To guess the secret, students could be given the starter. “The fraction bars are alike because _______________?”

Sentence starts are a great way To Connect Ideas. Teachers could start with “Subtraction and regrouping are connected because_____________? They are also a wonderful way to Extend Thinking, teachers could use the starter “Subtraction and division are similar because_____________?

Insightful Formative Assessment Options
In addition to summative assessments there are many formative assessments built-in throughout the curriculum. There are SUM it Up, Conceptual Understanding, Key Ideas and Journal Prompts that each promote math discussion and give teachers opportunities to assess understanding in different ways.

If you want to learn more about how math talk is woven into our lessons and the Moving with Math Learning System click here to receive our catalog.

Math Teachers Press, Inc. Awarded Department of Defense Educational Activity (DoDEA) Contract for Kindergarten – Grade 5 Intervention Mathematics Resources

Press Release –

On June 05, 2020, Minneapolis, MN – Math Teachers Press, Inc., publisher of the Moving with Math Learning System, was awarded a contract for a base year and 4 option years by the Department of Defense Education Activity (DoDEA) to provide intervention resources and professional development for DoDEA’s Kindergarten through Grade 5 schools throughout the world beginning in June of 2020.

As part of the contract, DoDEA administrators and teachers will have the full compliment of the Moving with Math printed and online resources to support their students. DoDEA will be accessing dedicated online assessment and teaching with the manipulative-based curriculum using the Concrete-Representational-Abstract (CRA) instructional model.

In addition, Math Teachers Press will be providing Professional Learning to ensure the program is implemented with fidelity. The implementation of the professional learning began in June 2020 preparing for DoDEA’s use of the program in the summer and fall of 2021. “For over 40 years it has been our mission to help struggling students learn math, and we are honored to be working with DoDEA to help their students succeed.” said Caryl K. Pierson, President of Math Teachers Press.

The Department of Defense Education Activity, a federally operated school system, is responsible for managing education programs for grades pre-K through 12 on behalf of the Department of Defense (DoD). DoDEA employs approximately 15,000 employees who serve more than 74,000 children of active-duty military and DoD civilian families. DoDEA’s vision is “to be among the world’s leaders in education, enriching the lives of military‐connected students and the communities in which they live.” The agency is committed to ensuring that all school-aged children of military families receive an education that prepares them for postsecondary education and/or career success.

Math Teachers Press, Inc. Awarded Department of Defense Educational Activity (DoDEA) Contract for Kindergarten – Grade 5 Intervention Mathematics Resources

It has been an honor and privilege to work with the many Department of Defense Educational Activity (DoDEA) educational professionals all over the world this past year and a half. Like other educators in the midst of the COVID 19 pandemic, they are working tirelessly to help their struggling students find success in math using the Moving with Math® program.

In addition to hands-on Concrete-Representational-Abstract (CRA) lessons, DoDEA educators have access to e-guides and online assessment which they have used in various virtual and hybrid settings at their schools to keep learning engaging and productive. For them, online assessment allows teachers to track individual student progress on standard objectives and have that information follow them as they travel within the worldwide DoDEA system.

For Math Teachers Press, the partnership has been challenging and exciting as we developed professional development relationships with the DoDEA Instructional Support Specialists and Intervention Teachers in DoDEA’s three regions. Through virtual trainings and recorded modules they have the knowledge, information and skills to implement the Moving with Math Extensions program with fidelity. We are moved by their dedication to the children of military and finding ways to support them throughout their educational journey.

If you wish to learn more about our partnership with DoDEA Click Here to read the full Press Release or email Mary LaBanca at mlabanca@movingwithmath.com

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