Journal Title: Teaching Children Mathematics
Description of Journal: Teaching Children Mathematics is a monthly journal focused on math education at the K-6 level. The journal includes regular features as well as articles on the pedagogy of math teaching and learning. The articles focused on math teaching and learning include research-based best practices, strategies for specific math content areas, and integration of the math subject. The regular features are: (1) News & Views – current issues related to math education, (2) Problem Solvers – math problems and instructional notes submitted to the journal by math teachers and then student solutions submitted to showcase student work in next month’s issue, (3) Math by the Month – collections of short activities focused on a monthly theme, and (4) iSTEM (Integrating Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) – authors publish engaging, hands-on activities across these topics for grades K-6.
Reaction to Journal: I would highly recommend this journal to any teacher who teaches math at the elementary level because of both the variety of content and the length and level of depth. This journal has a great balance of teaching resources (articles on instruction) and learning resources (features with problems and math integration ideas) to provide development and ideas as a teacher. That said, and maybe more importantly, is that each issue contains enough to strengthen math teaching approaches and pedagogy without being overly dense or containing an overwhelming amount of research. When reading through several issues, it is evident that examples are integrated into the articles, important strategies are typed out with explicit directions, and resources are identified at the end with titles, authors, and a brief overview/summary. The features that appealed to me most were the articles on best practices and math teaching strategies because in my current professional development as a pre-service, and soon to be new, teacher I am most interested in learning how to teach math well and how to help students learn better.
Article Summary: When looking to integrate ELA Common Core Standards, specifically writing, across different content areas, there are incredible opportunities for using it as a tool to increase math learning. The article “Moving Math in the Write Direction: Reflect and Discuss” provides insight into how math writing can be used to help students articulate their thoughts for the purpose of self-evaluation, advanced reasoning, and sharing critical thinking with their peers. In order to incorporate writing, teachers implemented debate journals where students with math prompts that required students to “construct viable arguments and critique the reasoning of others” as well as “to take a position based on different viewpoints and provide evidence supporting their claims” (Bostiga, Cantin, Fontana & Casa, 2016, p. 548). As a teacher, the most important parts of using the debate journal is the prompt itself, which should be written in a consistent format, include meaningful skills and context, and require an appropriate amount of content knowledge. In order to best support the math writing process using the debate journals, the authors suggest engaging in a class discussion about the math content prior to students responding independently in their journals. Beyond just completion of the answer and prompt, the authors emphasize the importance of refining the writing just like teachers wsould do in an ELA lesson. The prompts most helpful for guiding this student writing are: “state who you agree and disagree with, address both sides of thinking, be clear, use details, explain fully, use pictures to support your thinking, and make sure you are answering the question!” (Bostiga, Cantin, Fontana & Casa, 2016, p. 552). Overall, this article presents an effective and integrative teaching strategy that advances math understanding to a significantly deeper level by increasing student thinking, self-reflection, and ability to engage in explaining and debating the content with their peers.
Bostiga, Shannon E., Cantin, Michelle L, Fontana, Cristina & Casa, Tutita M. (2016). Moving Math in the Write Direction: Reflect and Discuss. Teaching Children Mathematics, 22(9), 546-554.