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What Is Your Role?

You can help your students become comfortable with – and successful in – mathematics throughout their school years and for the rest of their lives, by:

  • instilling in your students positive beliefs and attitudes about mathematics
  • valuing students’ prior knowledge and helping them to make connections to new mathematical learning
  • focusing on important mathematical concepts (the “Big Ideas”)
  • teaching through problem solving
  • using resources that help students understand concepts
  • building a community of mathematics learners in your classroom
  • delivering a balanced math program
  • conducting regular, sound assessment of students’ skills and comprehension
  • building strong school-home connections

Lay the Groundwork for Success

Talk about mathematics. Encourage your students to talk about mathematical concepts with each other, with their families, and with you.

Provide concrete and visual representations of mathematical concepts. Manipulatives, diagrams, pictures, and symbols help students understand abstract concepts.

Incorporate problem solving into mathematical learning. Problem-solving situations provide students with relevant and meaningful contexts for learning mathematics.

Provide experiences with a range of resources to suit different learning styles. Young students especially benefit from working with number lines, base ten blocks, interlocking cubes, and calculators, and they respond well to math games, songs, and stories.

Nurture the use of reasoning skills. Students need to realize that math "makes sense", and that they possess the skill to navigate through mathematical problems and computations. Encourage estimation and pattern identification, skills that will help students handle more complex concepts later on.

Allow time for reflection. Having time to reflect on their learning helps students to make their own connections and increases their level of comprehension.

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