Math Practices that Energize Your Classroom

Course Number: EDU 5626 C05
Instructor:  Melinda Robinson
Location: Online
Dates and Times: September 18 through November 27, 2017
Credits: 3 credits
Tuition: $900

Note: Please register online. Purchase order or payment of $900, payable to RRWIB, is due at the time of registration. Please mail check to the Castleton Center for Schools, PO Box 6049, Rutland, VT 05701. If you wish to pay by credit card, please call the Center for Schools at (802) 770-7060.

Course Description

In this online course we will be exploring the 8 Standards for Mathematical Practices that will make all of our students better mathematicians and thinkers. We have all felt the frustration of teaching students the math that they are required to know and yet this doesn’t seem to translate into making them better math students. We will explore each of the math practices that are outlined in the Common Core and look at how each of the practices can change the students into becoming “math thinkers” and allow them to adapt their learning to any situation. Our focus will be on how to teach our students to think deeply and apply mathematics to any area of their life. 

Technology Requirements: 
This course will be on a Google Site. If you are concerned about your access to sites, please email me and we can do a test site for you.

Course Objectives

Essential Questions:
What are the 8 Common Core Mathematical Practices?
What can we do in our classroom to foster the use of these practices by our students?
What is my role as the facilitator of a math class that has the use of rich mathematical practices?
What is the difference between the way that my math class is currently functioning and the way that a highly effective math class functions?

Course Expectations

Weekly focus and expectations:

Week of September 18th-
● Introduction to the overall 8 Mathematical Practices.
● Explore classrooms where these practices are at work daily.
● Introduce classroom journals and their benefits to a rich mathematics classroom.
● Post a mini bio about your math experiences and the class you currently teach.

Week of September 25th and 29th-
● Explore the first mathematical practice: Make Sense of Problems and Persevere to Solve them.
● Look at multiple examples and read articles on putting this practice into place in the classroom.
● Students will create a lesson that uses this practice and then journal the result by the 2nd week of our discussion on this mathematical practice.

Week of October 2nd-
● Explore 2nd Math Practice: Reason Abstractly and Quantitatively
● Look at multiple examples and read articles to explore how this practice differs from simple calculations.
● Participants will create a lesson or series of lessons that explore this
practice in their classroom. They will journal the results by the second week and show students’ work and thinking.

Week of October 9th and 16th-
● Explore 3rd Math Practice- Construct viable arguments and critique the reasoning of others.
● Look at multiple examples that shows how this practice evolves in a mathematics classroom. Explore the role of teachers in this process.
● Participants will create a lesson or series of lesson that explore this practice. They will audio or video tape (depending on their districts policy) a discussion in their classroom where students are constructing a viable argument or critiquing the argument of someone else.
● Participants will journal the results of their lesson(s) and post the video by the second week of our discussion on this practice. \

Week of October 23rd-
● Explore the 4th Math Practice- Model with Mathematics.
We will look at several videos and scenarios that put this practice into
place in a classroom.
● Participants will create a lesson that requires the students to model with mathematics.
● Participants should journal the results of their lesson by the deadline.

Week of October 30th-
● Explore the 5th Math Practice- Use Appropriate Tools Strategically.
● We will explore lessons that require students to select tools and judge for themselves the appropriateness of the tools. We will explore articles that show different ways to bring mathematically tools into more than just the geometry portion of our year.
● Participants will create a lesson that requires the students to select for themselves a tool and reflect on their choice.
● Participants should journal the results of their lesson by the deadline. 

Week of November 6th-
● Explore the 6th Math Practice- Attend to Precision.
● We will explore lessons and articles that focus on this practice.
● Participants will create a lesson(s) that require their students to attend to precision. Explore as a class why this practice should be given its own isolated practice.
● Post a journal reflection of the results of your classroom discussion and lesson by the deadline.

Week of November 13th and 20th—
● Explore the 7th and 8th Practice- Look for and make use of structure and Look for and express regularity in repeated reasoning.
● We will explore lessons and articles that address these two Practices.
● Participants will create lessons that will explore each of these practices.
● They will journal the results of their lessons by the 2nd week.

Week of November 27th-
● We will review the 8 Practices and how they work together in a classroom.
● Participants will reflect on any changes they have seen in their students over the last 12 weeks as mathematicians. 

Course Requirements:

1. Attendance and Participation (25%):

This course requires the students to participate on-line. Students should respond to the questions and/or prompts by the specified date each week. Students who miss more than one class response may be required to drop the course. Much of the course will be devoted to creating lessons that will explore the different Math Practices in their classroom. Students are expected to collaborate as a professional with the other students in the class, advocate for themselves if there is confusion, and communicate effectively. 

2. Student Learning Prompts (15%):

Students will be responsible for responding weekly to the prompt or questions that are presented for that week. Students are also responsible for responding to at least 2 other classmates’ prompts weekly. It is important that we communicate and discuss what we have learned with our colleague so that the group can grow in our knowledge together. There will be a rubric that will be used to assess the professional level of discourse being shared each week. 

4. Instructional Project: (40%):

Participants will work by themselves, with a partner or a group to create lessons or a series of lesson to explore each of the math practices. Each week there will be at least one lesson that will be required to be taught and reflected on. Each participant is required to create a minimum of 8 lessons that will require the students in their class to work on each of the math practices. The lesson can be written in whatever format is most useful to each participant, but whatever format is used should be sent as a google doc to each participant by the deadline. 

5. Presentation(20%) :

Each participant will be required to submit one video recording by the deadline in the week of March 14th that shows the students having a discussion that clearly demonstrates the students’ arguments of critiques of a math problem.


1. Attendance and Participation 25
2. Student Learning Prompts 15
3. Instructional Project 40
4. Presentation 20

Total: 100

Required Texts

Articles and Websites that will be used in the course:
“A Guide to the 8 Mathematical Practice Standards,” Scholastic, Top Teacher Blog Meghan Everrette, March 15, 2013. http://
“How to Get Students Talking,” Math Solutions, deGarcia, Lisa Ann. http://
“Developing a Classroom Culture that Supports a Problem Solving Approach to Mathematics,” NRICH Enriching Mathematics, University of Cambridge, Sept. 2013.
“Common Core State Standards Initiative” Mathematics Standards. http://, Buchheister, Kelley, Jackson, Christa and Taylor, Cynthia. “An Inside Track: Fostering Mathematical Practices.” Teaching Children Mathematics, Aug. 2015

For additional course information

Melinda Robinson

For additional registration information

Bethany Sprague
(802) 770-7060

Register online now!