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Strengths-Based Teaching and Learning in Mathematics
Teaching turnarounds encourage productive struggle by identifying teacher and student strengths, designing strengths-based instruction, discovering students’ points of power, and promoting strengths in the school community.
- Grade Level: PreK-12
- ISBN: 9781544374932
- Published By: Corwin
- Series: Corwin Mathematics Series
- Year: 2020
- Page Count: 272
- Publication date: March 10, 2020
“This book is a game changer! Strengths-Based Teaching and Learning in Mathematics: 5 Teaching Turnarounds for Grades K- 6 goes beyond simply providing information by sharing a pathway for changing practice. . . Focusing on our students’ strengths should be routine and can be lost in the day-to-day teaching demands. A teacher using these approaches can change the trajectory of students’ lives forever. All teachers need this resource!
Connie S. Schrock
Emporia State University
National Council of Supervisors of Mathematics President, 2017-2019
NEW COVID RESOURCES ADDED: A Parent’s Toolkit to Strengths-Based Learning in Math is now available on the book’s companion website to support families engaged in math learning at home. This toolkit provides a variety of home-based activities and games for families to engage in together.
Your game plan for unlocking mathematics by focusing on students’ strengths.
We often evaluate student thinking and their work from a deficit point of view, particularly in mathematics, where many teachers have been taught that their role is to diagnose and eradicate students’ misconceptions. But what if instead of focusing on what students don’t know or haven’t mastered, we identify their mathematical strengths and build next instructional steps on students’ points of power?
Beth McCord Kobett and Karen S. Karp answer this question and others by highlighting five key teaching turnarounds for improving students’ mathematics learning: identify teaching strengths, discover and leverage students’ strengths, design instruction from a strengths-based perspective, help students identify their points of power, and promote strengths in the school community and at home. Each chapter provides opportunities to stop and consider current practice, reflect, and transfer practice while also sharing
· Downloadable resources, activities, and tools
· Examples of student work within Grades K–6
· Real teachers’ notes and reflections for discussion
It’s time to turn around our approach to mathematics instruction, end deficit thinking, and nurture each student’s mathematical strengths by emphasizing what makes them each unique and powerful.
Table of Contents
Introduction – An Invitation to Turnaround
Why Strengths-Based Instruction?
Who is Strengths-Based Mathematics Teaching For?
What are Mathematics Strengths we See in Students?
Exploring Your Own Math Identity
Moving to a Strengths-Based Perspective
Practices that Build a Strengths Cycle
The Five Teaching Turnarounds
Chapter 1 - Identify Your Teaching Strengths
What Do You Believe About Your Students' Learning?
What Do Students Think You Believe?
Chapter 2 - Turnaround Mathematical Proficiencies, Processes, and Practices
Building Mathematical Proficiency Through a Strengths-Based Lens
Building Mathematical Practices and Dispositions Through a Strengths-Based Lens
Building Strengths in Problem Solving
Building Strengths in Communication
Building Strengths in Reasoning and Proof
Building Strengths in Connections
Building Strengths in Representations
Chapter 3 - Your Students’ Mathematics Content Strengths
Building Mathematical Content Knowledge Through a Strengths-Based Lens
Building and Recognizing Strengths in the Meaning of Number and Operations and Algebraic Thinking
Count to show how numbers represent quantity
Count to show how numbers represent quantity
Develop Strategies to Add, Subtract, Multiply, and Divide
Building and Recognizing Strengths in Understanding Number and Operations - Fractions
Building and Recognizing Strengths in Geometry
van Heile’s Geometric Conceptual Understanding Level 0: Visualization
van Heile’s Geometric Conceptual Understanding Level 1: Analysis
Chapter 4 – Turnaround Grouping Practices
Planning Effective Strength-Based Instruction
Fixed versus Flexible Grouping Practices
Long-Term Whole-Class Ability Grouping
Small-Group In-Class Ability Grouping
Flexible Grouping Strategies
Strength’s Based Flexible Grouping Practices
Mixed-Strength Whole-Group Instruction
Homogeneous-Strength Small Groups
Targeted Small Group Instruction Through a Strengths-Based Lens
Chapter 5 – Turnaround Tasks
High Cognitive Tasks
Turnaround a Task: Designing a Personalized, Strengths-Based Instructional Task
Funds of Knowledge
Three Perspectives for Adapting a Task to Support Student's Strengths
Access and Equity
Promoting Strengths Through Parallel Tasks
Exploratory Discourse About Tasks
Math Amendments: Revising the Task Solution
Chapter 6 - Turnaround Feedback
The Importance of Feedback in a Strengths-Based Classroom
Teacher-to-Student Feedback From a Strengths Perspective
Teacher to Student Feedback Loop
Elements of Teacher to Student Feedback
Student-to-Teacher Feedback from a Strengths Perspective
Prior to the Lesson
During the Lesson
Closing the Lesson
Student-to-Student Feedback from a Strengths Perspective
Classroom-Based Formative Assessment and Feedback
Chapter 7 - Turnaround Students’ Identities
Windows and Mirrors
Our Teacher Mirror
Don't Miss an Opportunity to Recognize a Student's Points of Power
Students' Productive Dispositions
Students Self Analyze their Strong Points
Chapter 8 - Turnaround Professional Learning Communities
Supporting Teachers' Strengths
The Appreciative Inquiry (AI) Framework
Whole School Agreement
Chapter 9 - Turnaround Family Communication
Engaging Families in Strengths-Based Talk
Incorporating Family and Community Strengths
Working Together to Share Mathematical Ideas
Family Math Resources
Conferences with Family Members from a Strengths-Based Perspective
Epilogue - Turnaround Reflection
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"Too many of us perseverate on “fixing” our students and ourselves. Focusing instead on the strengths students bring to the classroom and redirecting the effective practices we already employ, Kobett and Karp turn this thinking on its head. By leveraging their tools and protocols we can confront and unpack our beliefs, transform our instruction, and create the positive and supportive learning environments our students deserve. This is an indispensable resource for educators committed to ensuring that each and every student experiences joy, wonder, and success in mathematics!"Matt Larson
National Council of Teachers of Mathematics
"Rarely does one find a text that provides both the aspirational vision and inspirational mission to transform both the striving mathematics educator and the student mathematician. Educators will be moved to embrace, then promote change through their work with Drs. Kobett and Karp’s innovative strengths-based approach to teaching and learning mathematics. Kobett and Karp invite all math stakeholders to discover their own strengths from which to build a stronger foundation in the teaching and learning of mathematics."Richard Cox, Jr.
Bullitt County Public Schools, Kentucky
"I love this book! More and more people are talking about the need to build on student strengths instead of focusing on their deficits, but doing this can seem unrealistic to a teacher. The authors not only elaborate what it means to build on student strengths, they offer concrete strategies for how to do it. Starting with the necessary step of looking at one’s own teaching strengths, they offer practical guidelines and examples that lay out a path teachers can use to turn around their teaching and their students’ learning."Cathy Seeley
National Council of Teachers of Mathematics
"This book is a must-read for every stakeholder in the education system! The authors challenge us to acknowledge the damaging impact of deficit-based beliefs and provide concrete ways to leverage strengths in ourselves and in our students to create mathematics classrooms where students flourish."Delise Andrews
Lincoln Public Schools, NE
"This book provides teachers with a wealth of resources for uncovering and nurturing students mathematical strengths. By focusing on recognizing and building on students’ strengths rather than identifying their deficiencies, the authors have mapped out a pathway for creating instructional experiences that support the learning and identity development of each and every student. This is a must-have for all elementary teachers!"Margaret (Peg) Smith
"This book provides a clear, rich, strong rebuttal to “my kids can’t.” Kobett and Karp help us focus on our students’ unique perspectives, talents, and strengths as well as our students’ capabilities with mathematics practices and content. More important, they help us take stock of who we are. They help us identify aspects of our practice that are strong and those that are ready for a turnaround. They teach us about these turnarounds and describe how we can realize them effectively. This is a must-have for transforming “they can’t” into “they can.”"John SanGiovanni
Howard County Public School System, MD
"Where do beliefs and pedagogy meet? In a world in which we are often asked to find flaws and weaknesses, this book is a breath of fresh air and reminds us that the best way to teach is to build from our strengths. Filled with research-based ideas, practical strategies, and tools, this book provides a comprehensive approach to creating asset-based learning environments by identifying and leveraging the strengths of students, teachers, schools, and caretakers."Cathery Yeh
Chapman University, Orange, CA
"This well-written book is a game changer! Strengths-Based Teaching and Learning in Mathematics: Five Teaching Turnarounds for Grades K–6 goes beyond simply providing information by sharing a pathway for changing practice. The authors start with reflective activities allowing teachers to examine their beliefs and explore their teaching strengths. Using the Teaching Turnarounds will transform classrooms. Focusing on our students’ strengths should be routine and can be lost in the day-to-day teaching demands. A teacher using these approaches can change the trajectory of students’ lives forever. All teachers need this resource!"Connie S. Schrock
Emporia State University, KS
"Drs. Kobett and Karp offer teachers a positive and practical way of using Appreciative Inquiry to put spotlight on teachers’ instructional practices to celebrate their strength and support teachers to dream, design and deliver innovative ways to bring more equitable teaching practices to the forefront. By reimagining instruction focused on strengths-based teaching that leverage and put spotlight on students’ abilities to use representations and reasoning, the authors unpack rich tasks by delving into the development of learning progressions in important mathematics as well as situate mathematics within contexts that students can relate to while bridging mathematics closer to students’ lived experiences."Jennifer Suh
George Mason University, Fairfax, VA
"Strengths-Based Teaching and Learning in Mathematics: Five Teaching Turnarounds for Grades K–6 forces the reader to become extremely reflective about their own individual identity in mathematics and implementation of effective teaching practices/strategies. How many students have we lost or have allowed to feel defeated in learning mathematics because we didn’t teach by harnessing the power of their strengths? This book intersperses time for this type of reflection as one identifies your own strengths, your individual math identity, as well as the inclusion of the numerous “spotlights on practices” to support successful implementation in the classroom. As one considers how to help students develop a growth mindset in mathematics, this book must become an essential resource. There are concrete examples to illustrate how this becomes visible in the classroom—all with the goal of helping students develop their identity, authority, and agency in mathematics. We lose too many students in mathematics; too many students hear that they have gaps, are deficit, or are stigmatized by having to endure endless intervention programs in mathematics. Instead this book uses subtleties, helps you focus on yourself as a teacher of mathematics, and provides explicit examples to harnesses the strengths of all students in mathematics. This will do a lot to change negative student self-images. I love this book!"Denise Walston
Council of the Great City Schools, Washington, DC
"Finally the book that good teachers have been waiting for: a book that focuses not on what students cannot do, but on what they can. This needed book offers teachers a positive, productive way to rethink teaching and learning in mathematics and would be ideal for a school- or districtwide book study."Jeff Shih
University of Nevada, Las Vegas
"Anytime you purchase a resource book in mathematics, you hope that it does an inspirational delivery of its title. In Strengths-Based Teaching and Learning in Mathematics: Five Teaching Turnarounds for Grades K–6, the authors have gone above and beyond the book’s high expectations.Sunil Singh
Kobett and Karp have masterfully tapped into the zeitgeist of contemporary math education and written a book that oozes with not just empathy, reflection, and candor but with clear and motivating practicality that will transform any math classroom into a place of community, hope, and unbridled strength."