I recently finished Jo Boaler’s new book ‘Mathematical Mindsets’ and was, as always, blown away by her work.
I learned a lot from the book and as a result am going to create some add-ons to our lesson plans and videos. Firstly, if you haven’t already been using the differentiated tasks that are in PDF format with each lesson plan and video, try them out! Jo calls them ‘low floor, high ceiling tasks’, which simply means that students of ALL abilities can access and be challenged by the same task. These tasks replace the worksheets and endless textbook questions that focus primarily on procedural fluency and instead offer students a chance to: engage in problem solving, communicate about their understanding, develop conceptual understanding and search for patterns and generalizations as well practice procedures. Some teachers are skeptical as to how one question can be used for an entire block – but trust me, it can be done and the results are very positive as it achieves so much more than procedural practice. Furthermore if you haven’t tried using groups in math class, I highly recommend it!