Feb 07
Math Tasks

As a school and as a system we are working on learning and developing ‘high impact math tasks.’ In other words, we are studying math lessons demonstrated by research to have the biggest impact on student learning. This year we are working on studying the latest research from John Hattie and Jo Boaler. 

Both of these authors have done extensive research in the area of high impact strategies.  Hattie’s research group conducted a study involving over three million students that fount some of the best strategies for learning.  These were then ranked for their effectiveness within his book Visible Learning For Mathematics.  These include teacher clarity (making sure students understand what and why they are learning), building good math tasks, student collaboration, direct instruction and effective assessment.

Math is an area of considerable stress and anxiety for many students.  Much of the research states that all students can and should do well in math if they have the right mindset to do so.  A mindset is a way of thinking that believes that we can be successful.  In many ways, it refers to the power of positive thinking and self-confidence, but it is more than that.  It is actually a way to believe we can accomplish our goals because we are able to grow and learn.  This idea is based in “brain plasticity,” that our brain can and will build new connections as we learn. 

In Jo Boaler’s book Mathematical Mindsets, she outlines the strategies, tasks and ideas that support students in building their growth mindsets in math.  These include mathematical growth mindset, flexibility in thinking, assessment and seeing the beauty in numbers. 

It is my hope, as we move through this work, that these ideas will be visible and evident throughout our school as this will show that it is truly having an effect on our school culture. 

-Mr. Scott Robinson

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