Standards for Mathematical Practice
The presenters also emphasized the need for balance between conceptual understanding and skills proficiency, as well as between direct teaching and exploratory teaching. I find that this balance is something that often gets lost in the effort to "cover the standards" and prepare students for the assessments they will face. This reminded me of the importance of keeping this balance at the forefront of my instruction.
I was also struck by their definition of rigor. In all the professional development I have attended and all the work I have done in my classroom I don't know that I have ever actually seen a good definition of mathematical rigor. This definition as an interaction of content and instruction that focuses on the depth and breadth of mathematical understanding and student reasoning has changed how I interpret rigor and will impact how I plan my instruction in the coming school year.
Reflection of the Webinar Experience
Scholastic - A Guide to the 8 Mathematical Practice Standards: Blogger Meghan Everette lists and summarizes the Standards for Mathematical Practice, and for each one she links to resources available to teachers that provide ideas and help for implementation. The original statement of the SMP is very formal, long, and cumbersome; in order for them to be effectively implemented teachers must be able to translate this education speak into classroom-friendly language. Everette's presentation of the SMP encourages this, which I find to be incredibly helpful.
As teachers we work to implement the the Standards for Mathematical Practice, but rarely do we include students in the discussion of how this is done. Having students analyze how their work fits into the SMP encourages self-reflection and analysis of their own processes, which can only lead to better mathematical understanding and engaged students.
Student Spaghetti Pasta Tower by Wesley Fryer from http://kidblog.org/2014Jeffrey/b45a4639-f335-4852-b954-3b71fc57d322/the-tower-we-built-was-a-success/. Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License.