By Shari Kingston

The examples of activities and conversations explored in this chapter have helped me to see how presenting a purposefully planned mathematical situation can promote mathematizing in students. If I was to “popcorn” some ideas about chapter 2 here is my not-so-short, short list: context, big ideas, strategies, models, constraints, community, dialogue, and messy.

When I read how the teachers in this chapter facilitated the conversation around a mathematical situation it caused me to reflect on my own classroom management practice from a different lens. Traditionally, classroom management conversations tended to focus on how to minimize poor behaviour and maximize compliance. That is not what I am talking about here.

Fosnot states that teachers “facilitate conversation around mathematical ideas and strategies for the community to consider” (p28) and that we “walk the line between supporting individuals and planning for the community” (p30). How do I manage this?

There are resources of great contextual questions or, I can create my own. I can intentionally choose numbers and build in constraints to elicit the thinking that I am trying to support. Then, I will present the idea to the community for consideration and I can guarantee it will get messy!

But it may not be messy in a good way. I struggle with my community of learners wanting to consider the mathematical idea that I am sharing. So for me, this is my next step. Reflecting on how I can facilitate the learning and math workshop process so that students are engaged in the activity and are willing to tackle challenging tasks that will push their thinking forward. Lots of questions, not so many answers, this will be messy for sure, but in a good way!


Featured image by Alice Achterhof on Unsplash