Why I Love Common Core Math - Eight Standards For Mathematical Practice, Part 2

Light Bulbs and Laughter - Eight Standards for Mathematical Practice, Part 2
In my last post, I discussed how I use these Math Practice Standards when I begin to teach a new math standard or unit.  You can find that post HERE.  It's a fabulous way to activate prior knowledge and check for understanding.

Now, let's talk about sunglasses.  Third graders love them.  They also love the idea of magic.  So if we put on our magic mathematical glasses to look at something, we see things differently.  We FOCUS on a particular math practice.  How fun is that?

Since I'm all about having fun while we learn, I'm now on the lookout for some colorful, inexpensive sunglasses to use with next year's students.  (If you know a good place to find them, please let me know in the comments!)

So, let's step back in time to the beginning of last year.  I found the 8 Standards for Mathematical Practice at the CCSS website.  I typed them up and put them vertically on the whiteboard that I use to teach math.

And they sat there.  I did nothing with them.  They did not engage me.  They did not engage the students.  In fact, in six months, not one student asked me what they were or what they meant.  And they were right in front of us!!

Around January, I was talking to a math specialist at our County Office of Education (Hi, Kim!), and she made me realize how important they are.  I went back to my classroom, determined to make them work.

But here's the problem: young children don't understand the words!  I then set out to adapt them.  I worked with the K - 3 teachers at my school, asking for input and getting feedback.  After several months and what felt like fifty different tries (but was probably only around twelve), I was ready to visit Kim and her cohort Tracey.  These math specialists gave me more to think about, and helped me dig deep into what the standards really mean for children.  More changes were made.

And that is how these particular Adapted Standards for Mathematical Practice came to be.  I used clip art that matches the standard and the age group, since these are available for Kindergarten, Grades 1-2, Grades 3-5, and Grades 6-8. 

These will be in every classroom in my K-8 school on the first day of the new school year.  Beginning in Kindergarten, I hope to encourage every teacher to say these words with their students as they begin their math lesson for the day.  (And in a nod to Whole Brain Teaching, I am working on gestures to go with each, so that students can engage all parts of their brain as they learn them!)

Beyond the posters for the wall or whiteboard, I have also made a one-page list for each grade level, and cards that can be cut out and put on a ring for each student to keep in their desks.  If you would like to see these, please check them out in my Teachers Pay Teachers store Light Bulbs and Laughter.

In conclusion, I have a question for you!  I believe that every math lesson will include a few of these practices.  Maybe there are lessons that include them all.  (Not introductory lessons, but the regular, every day kind.)  I have been told in math training that Number Talks are the only type of lessons that include every one of these.  Do you agree?  Have you ever used every one of these practices when teaching a lesson?

Happy Math Teaching,


  1. Nice graphics to go along with kid language standards. These will be perfect for my problem solving and math talks.

  2. These needs to be in every classroom on the very first day of the new school year also in Kindergarten, it will encourage every teacher to say these words with their students as they begin their math lesson for the day http://www.dumblittleman.com/2016/03/pros-cons-writing-life-plan.html this post is very interested in how we can learn kids language standards. Thanks for sharing

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