I haven’t been blogging for a long time. As you can imagine, the pandemic took a toll on teachers, and at least for me and my teacher friends, we were working insane amounts of time, and it was so hard. Emotionally, physically, intellectually. At the time, I just didn’t have it in me to blog about the experience.
But now we’re about to start a new school year. And I’m vaccinated. And my students are vaccinated. And we’re wearing masks. And my classes are going to be with all my kids together in a single room , which is such an awesome thing compared to last year.
One of the classes I’m teaching this year is Advanced Precalculus. Another teacher, my friend James, is also teaching the same course. And he’s new to my school this year, and so when talking about the course, he shared with me how he formally incorporated Mathematical Habits of Mind in his teaching in previous years. And interestingly, last year, I toyed with the idea of formally getting kids to be metacognitive about problem solving strategies — but decided to focus on something else instead. So when James shared this idea with me, I got excited.
Right now I have an inchoate idea of how this is going to unfold. Hopefully I’ll blog about it! But for now, I wanted to share with you posters I made using James’ Mathematical Habits of Mind. Most importantly, here is a link to James’ original blogpost with his habits of mind and rubric.
Photo of the posters hung up in one of my rooms:
I know, I know, the lighting is terrible. The key words are:
Experimenter, Guesser, Conjecturer, Visualizer, Describer, Pattern Hunter, Tinkerer, Inventor
If you want these posters, the PDF file is here.
And here are all of them shared as a single sheet, and not as a poster.
Of course, if you’re a math teacher, you know there are a lot of lists of mathematical habits of mind. We agreed to use the ones James had already been using. But there are many alternative or additional things we could have included.
- Common Core has their Standards of Mathematical Practice.
- NCTM’s Process Standards
- Cuoco, Goldenberg, and Mark’s Habits of Mind
- Park School of Baltimore’s Mathematical Habits of Mind
- And this outline by Kien Lim of so many different schemes.
At the very least, I know that as we get kids to think about what strategies they’re using to solve problems, we’ll also see where there are lacuna in our curricula in terms of using those strategies. Or maybe we’ll discover it doesn’t have as much problem solving as I imagined in it. All entirely possible, since we — the kids and James and I — will all be looking through what we’re doing through our metacognitive Mathematical Habits of Mind lens.
 The reason I note this is because at the end of last year, I was teaching students live simultaneously in three places: they were in two different classrooms and there were a few at home on zoom. Yes, seriously. When I mention that to teachers and non-teachers alike, they asked how that was even possible. It was… a lot.