Preservice elementary teachers (PSTs) often enter their teacher preparation programs with procedural and underdeveloped understandings of area measurement and its applications. This is problematic given that area and the area model are used throughout K–Grade 12 to develop flexibility in students’ mathematical understanding and to provide them with a visual interpretation of numerical ideas. This study describes an intervention aimed at bolstering PSTs’ understanding of area and area units with respect to measurement and number and operations. Following the intervention, results indicate that PSTs had both an improved ability to solve area tiling tasks as well as increased flexibility in the strategies they implemented. The results indicate that PSTs, similar to elementary students, develop a conceptual understanding of area from the use of tangible tools and are able to leverage visualizations to make sense of multiplicative structure across different strategies.
Corey Webel and Sheunghyun Yeo
In this article, we share results from a field experience model in which junior-year methods classes were held in an elementary school and preservice teachers (PSTs) worked with a single student (a “Math Buddy") on mathematics for 30 minutes per day. We focus on the development of PSTs’ skills for exploring children’s thinking and the structures and tools that we used to support this development. Data sources include screencast recordings of interactions with Math Buddies and written reflections completed by PSTs. Although the responsiveness of interactions varied across individuals and interactions, in general, PSTs showed improvements in exploring children’s thinking. We share implications of these findings for similar field experience models and for practice-based approaches to teacher education generally.
Katherine Baker, Naomi A. Jessup, Victoria R. Jacobs, Susan B. Empson, and Joan Case
Productive struggle is an essential part of mathematics instruction that promotes learning with deep understanding. A video scenario is used to provide a glimpse of productive struggle in action and to showcase its characteristics for both students and teachers. Suggestions for supporting productive struggle are provided.
Julie M. Amador, David Glassmeyer, and Aaron Brakoniecki
This article provides a framework for integrating professional noticing into teachers' practice as a means to support instructional decisions. An illustrative example is included based on actual use with secondary students.
Lauren J. Rapacki and Dionne I. Cross Francis
Share a teacher's ultimately empowering experience of transitioning into an ill-defined, unanticipated leadership position.
Deann Huinker, Steven Leinwand, and Daniel Brahier
The knowledge of fractions and decimals that children develop in the elementary grades provides an essential foundation for the study of algebra and more advanced mathematics, but most teachers and students consider the topic challenging. Share your approaches to facilitating children's understanding of fractions and decimals. What classroom activities and ideas do you use to help children make sense of fractions and decimals as numbers, benchmarks, measures, quotients, or as operators? The TCM Editorial Panel invites you to share your ideas on developing K–grade 6 students' number sense for fractions and decimals. We are especially interested in manuscripts that describe ideas that have been informed by research and implementation in classrooms.
Shiv Karunakaran, Ben Freeburn, Nursen Konuk, and Fran Arbaugh
Preservice mathematics teachers are entrusted with developing their future students' interest in and ability to do mathematics effectively. Various policy documents place an importance on being able to reason about and prove mathematical claims. However, it is not enough for these preservice teachers, and their future students, to have a narrow focus on only one type of proof (demonstration proof), as opposed to other forms of proof, such as generic example proofs or pictorial proofs. This article examines the effectiveness of a course on reasoning and proving on preservice teachers' awareness of and abilities to recognize and construct generic example proofs. The findings support assertions that such a course can and does change preservice teachers' capability with generic example proofs.
Andrew Tyminski, Corey Drake, and Tonia Land
Despite the prevalence of mathematics curriculum materials in elementary classrooms, most current mathematics methods texts provide little or no support for preservice teachers (PSTs) learning to use curriculum materials. To meet this need, we have designed and studied several modules intended to provide PSTs with opportunities to learn about and from the use of curriculum materials. This article describes our research related to 1 of these modules–Addition Starter Sentences. Our results examine the nature of PSTs' developing content knowledge and pedagogical content knowledge, evidenced through their interactions with and reflections on Standards-based curriculum materials. We conclude with implications for mathematics teacher education research and practice.
Kimberly M. Lilienthal
Collections of short activities, Math by the Month articles aim for an inquiry or problem-solving orientation focused on a unifying theme and include four activities each for grade levels K–2, 3–4, and 5–6. In anticipation of October's Fire Prevention Week, September's problems involve firefighters and real-life math applications.
Renee Parker and M. Lynn Breyfogle
This student-friendly rubric helped improve third graders' competencies when explaining solution strategies in writing.