Sunday, June 22, 2014

Second Book Review

The second book I chose to read was "Accessible Mathematics: 10 Instructional Shifts That Raise Student Achievement" by Steven Leinward. I chose to look at this book for the second book choice because I was interested at looking at some of these shifts for myself. After listening to Joe and Karen talk about the book, I thought it might offer some good insight on what I could do in my teaching methods to possibly be more effective, especially with my student teaching coming up in the fall.

Now onto my review. I really liked what I got from the book when I skimmed/read the book. I think the author really picked out the obstacle of teaching mathematics, the fact that there is a "lack of direction and will to make powerful instructional shifts in how we plan, implement, and assess daily mathematics instruction." This to me is so true! We all were taught math as certain way, mostly through the teacher packing us with information on the lesson for the day, finishing the lesson with a couple of examples, and sending us home with problems 1-30 even (or something like that) for "practice." We are so aware that this is not effective for children to learn mathematics and lacks a deep understanding in the mathematics behind the math that we are teaching. Yet, I still see and hear  that this is still the way a lot of teachers teach mathematics. There has to be an answer to better was of teaching, and Leinward tells us that "the answer lies between the place of what we know and what we actually do."

The author offers 10 instructional shifts that math teachers can make to help students better understand mathematics. All of these shifts that he suggests are solid and are something that I would definitely want to try out and can see myself trying. The author explains that shifts 1, 2, and 10 all deal with review, discourse, and stimulation in-depth understanding of mathematics. Shifts 3, 4, and 5 target the use of representations, communication, and number sense, which all are important for students to demonstrate understanding. Shifts 6, 7, and 9 ground the mathematics in the world around us and build understanding from data measurement and apply key mathematical ideas. Lastly, shift 8 is a reminder that we can't do it all and we need to focus on what is important. All of these shifts are focused on understanding, something that is lacking in mathematics curriculum today and needs to be focused on if we want students to actually learn mathematics.

Lastly, I would like to comment on the set up of this book. It is very easy to read, understand, and apply everything that the author has in this book! The chapters are set up nicely so that each shift is addressed in its own chapter. The reader is given an explanation of the reasoning of the shift, the benefits it can have, was to incorporate it, examples of direct dialogue and activities, and at the end of each chapter it gives a "So What Should We See in an Effective Mathematics Classroom" box offering goals for classrooms to have that are incorporating these shifts. This is so awesome for a teacher because the author is making it almost effortless to incorporate these shifts! They also have 5 appendices at the end of the book that offers more support and examples of how you could incorporate these into your teaching. Overall, this book is really setting teachers of mathematics for success in making these shifts. Shifts in teaching are easy to make, rather than whole method changes, and the book really wants you to try them!

1 comment:

  1. Good review. I like his structure of shifts instead of wholesale changes.