How is Elementary and Middle School Math Instruction Changing?

This summer, I was participating in a webinar about using area models for division. A fellow participant asked, “If students know the algorithm but not the model, how do we motivate them to care about the model?” The answer was a “eureka” moment for me: We have to change the definition of success in mathematics.

Some students (and adults!) are used to thinking that getting the right answer is all you need to do to succeed in math. We need to emphasize that it’s equally important to explain your thinking. Students can do this by drawing a model or a picture.

I think about this all time while I’m editing DynaMath—Scholastic’s classroom resource connecting literacy with real-world math for grades 3 through 5. We create the problem sets and lesson plans with these specific objectives in mind.

For example, in a lesson plan about ordering decimals, we’ll introduce the strategy of ordering decimals on a number line. Then we’ll close the lesson by showing students how to order decimals by lining them up according to place value. Finally, we’ll ask students to compare each method and explain which they prefer.

Learn teaching tips from real educators and math editors at Scholastic

With states adopting new, higher standards, kids are being taught math in new ways. But communicating these changes to parents and others, and keeping students engaged can be a daunting challenge.

Which is why I’m teaming up with Karina Hamalainen, editor of MATH (our classroom math magazine for grades 6 through 9) and Olga Tsoupros, a talented New York City teacher and Scholastic adviser, to host a free webinar on November 10 from 4 p.m. to 5 p.m. EST.

We’ll share how math in elementary and middle school can be both rigorous and fun using real-world connections. RSVP to the webinar.

We’ll discuss:

  • An overview of how math teaching and learning has evolved in the Common Core era.
  • Ways to use novel, real-world examples to motivate your students so they will want to persevere through difficult concepts.
  • Tips to expand learning in the classroom and let our real-world math do the cross-genre work for you.