I’m always looking for new ideas and/or new ways to structure
my math classroom. So, last summer I bought a couple of books to read. I finished one, but didn’t finish the second:

__The Differentiated Math Classroom, A Guide for Teachers, K-8__, by Miki Murray and Jenny Jorgensen. I got to page 64, but then school started, I put it aside, and never got back to it. So, I’m restarting the book, and plan to post summaries of the chapters as I read, in case anyone else is interested in learning what these authors have to share. If you have read the book already, have implemented any of the ideas from it, or are currently reading the book, please share your thoughts and/or experiences :)
In the introduction to the book, the authors share the idea
that differentiation is not individualized instruction, but rather a process
for adapting teaching to accommodate the needs of all learners. They explain that this book will describe and
illustrate “powerful mathematics curriculum through the lenses of problem
solving and differentiation.”

Referencing Carol Ann Tomlinson, they explain that effective
math teaching includes:

* focusing on the essential big ideas of math

* expecting all students can and will understand math

* continuously assessing student thinking and understanding

* planning and structuring lessons based on student needs and important content

* facilitating high-level conversations with appropriate and timely questions

* focusing on the essential big ideas of math

* expecting all students can and will understand math

* continuously assessing student thinking and understanding

* planning and structuring lessons based on student needs and important content

* facilitating high-level conversations with appropriate and timely questions

The authors explain that they will describe ways to utilize
time efficiently (I hope to find some good ideas here – I have math class for
about 42 minutes each day and though I believe I do a good job of maximizing
that time, I am always searching for improvements!).

The authors point out that, according to Dr. Tomlinson,
there is “no one best way to plan for and implement differentiation in
mathematics,” but that there are general principles (coming in chapter 1) that
provide guidance for teachers.

Murray and Jorgensen briefly discuss an important factor to consider when teaching math - "downshifting" due to the
fear of math. Downshifting
results in individuals becoming less able to access what
they know and less able to engage in complex intellectual tasks. Students
experiencing downshifting due to fear in math may be silent, withdrawn or
cynical. Recognition of this factor is critical when working with students!

In closing the introduction, the authors share that they
have worked together for 20 years, have taught inservice courses, provided
staff development and presented at national conferences. They are inspired to
research and to help teachers feel comfortable differentiating their math
programs.

I'm looking forward to reading what Murray and Jorgensen have to offer!

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