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
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
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