Basic fact fluency has always been of interest to elementary school teachers and is particularly relevant because a wide variety of supplementary materials of varying quality exist for this topic. This article unpacks eight common unproductive practices with basic facts instruction and assessment.
Gina Kling and Jennifer M. Bay-Williams
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.
Crystal Kalinec-Craig, Emily P. Bonner, and Traci Kelley
This article describes an innovation in an elementary mathematics education course called SEE Math (Support and Enrichment Experiences in Mathematics), which aims to support teacher candidates (TCs) as they learn to teach mathematics through problem solving while promoting equity during multiple experiences with a child. During this 8-week program, TCs craft and implement tasks that promote problem solving in the context of a case study of a child’s thinking while collecting and analyzing student data to support future instructional decisions. The program culminates in a mock parent–teacher conference. Data samples show how SEE Math offers TCs an opportunity to focus on the nuances of children’s strengths rather than traditional measures of achievement and skill.
Esther M. H. Billings and Barbara A. Swartz
Theresa J. Grant and Mariana Levin
One of the challenges of teaching content courses for prospective elementary teachers (PTs) is engaging PTs in deepening their conceptual understanding of mathematics they feel they already know (Thanheiser, Philipp, Fasteen, Strand, & Mills, 2013). We introduce the Diverge then Converge strategy for orchestrating mathematical discussions that we claim (1) engenders sustained engagement with a central conceptual issue and (2) supports a deeper understanding of the issue by engaging PTs in considering both correct and incorrect reasoning. We describe a recent implementation of the strategy and present an analysis of students’ written responses that are coordinated with the phases of the discussion. We close by considering conditions under which the strategy appears particularly relevant, factors that appear to influence its effectiveness, and questions for future research.