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Let’s try something new this year – book discussion via blog! Hopefully this will make it easier for more folks to participate.

The focus of this year’s book study will be Visible Learning for Mathematics: What Works Best to Optimize Student Learning by John Hattie, Douglas Fisher, and Nancy Frey, with Linda M. Gojak, Sara Delano Moore, and William Mellman.

The book is divided into seven chapters, with reflection and discussion questions at the end of each. Read the book at whatever pace is comfortable for you, and we’ll set “target dates” for posting your thoughts on the reflection and discussion questions. Click the appropriate link below to comment on a chapter.

Target Dates

Chapter 2 ~ November 22

Chapter 3 ~ December 20

Chapter 4 ~ January 24

Chapter 5 ~ February 14

Chapter 6 ~ March 13

Chapter 7 ~ April 3

Feel free to share the blog with other K-12 mathematics educators! Let’s get a conversation started!

Chapter 4 ~ Surface Mathematics Learning Made Visible

Here are the reflection and discussion questions for chapter 4. If you choose to comment on more than one, please use separate comments to keep the conversation organized.

  1. Consider the mathematical discourse in your classroom. What opportunities do students have to explain and justify their thinking? What questioning strategies could you use to provide additional opportunities for students to show their deep learning through explanation and justification?
  2. Consider the important mathematical topics for your grade level. What is the surface learning phase of each topic? What would that look like in the uni-/multi-structural levels of a SOLO chart? What specific strategies might you use to help students develop surface learning for each of these topics?
  3. How do you use manipulatives in your mathematics instruction? Are students encouraged to use multiple representations as they work on mathematics collaboratively? What strategies can you use to make these tools more available to your students?

Chapter 3 ~ Mathematical Tasks and Talk That Guide Learning

Here are the reflection and discussion questions for chapter 3. If you choose to comment on more than one, please use separate comments to keep the conversation organized. Comments for this chapter will be accepted until December 20th.

  1. Make notes of the questions you typically ask in your math lessons. Think about them in terms of the focusing and funneling questions framework discussed in this chapter. Which way does your questioning sequence lean? How can you make focusing questions a stronger presence in your mathematics classroom?
  2. Identify two or three mathematics tasks you’ve asked your students to work on recently. Think about each task in light of its difficulty and complexity (see Figure 3.1). In which quadrant does each task fit? Is each the right kind of task given your learning intentions?
  3. Think about these same tasks in terms of the cognitive demand they make on students (see Figure 3.2). How could you revise or reframe the tasks to require a higher level of cognitive demand?

Chapter 2 ~ Making Learning Visible Starts With Teacher Clarity

Here are the reflection and discussion questions for chapter 2. If you choose to comment on more than one, please use separate comments to keep the conversation organized. Comments for this chapter will be accepted until November 22nd.

  1. Learning intentions can help students make connections between current learning and previously learned content. Identify the learning intention for a lesson you have recently taught. What previously learned content is connected to this learning intention? Did your students see the connection? If so, how did this impact their engagement in the learning? If not, how might you modify the learning intention and experience to bring more attention to this connection?
  2. Learning intentions should be intentionally inviting to students. Look back over your learning intentions from recent lessons and rewrite them to be more inviting to students. Use the examples in Figure 2.1 for guidance.
  3. A lesson can have mathematical content and/or practice learning intentions, language learning intentions, and/or social learning intentions. Consider again your recent lessons and learning intentions, keeping in mind that not every lesson will incorporate every type of learning intention. Which relevant types of learning intentions did you make known to students? What other types of learning intentions might you consider? How can you determine where you want to focus your lessons?
  4. Review the list of Tier 2 words in Figure 2.2. Download the blank template and make a list of the specific general academic (Tier 2) words that are important in your mathematics course(s) along with any Tier 3 (domain-specific) words your students must master. What are your strategies for helping students find success with this vocabulary?
  5. Look at Mr. Stone’s general math rubric in Figure 2.6 and consider one of your learning intentions with its success criteria. Make notes about the specific things you would expect to see from your students in each of the three areas of the rubric, Conceptual Understanding, Explanation and Justification, and Math Terms and Notations.

Chapter 1 ~ Make Learning Visible in Mathematics

Here are the reflection and discussion questions for chapter 1. If you choose to comment on more than one, please use separate comments to keep the conversation organized. Comments for this chapter will be accepted until November 1st.

  1. Think about the instructional strategies you use most often. Which do you believe are most effective? What evidence do you have for their impact? Save these notes so you can see how the evidence in this book supports or challenges your thinking about effective practices.

  2. Identify one important mathematics topic that you teach. Think about your goals for this topic in terms of the SOLO model discussed in this chapter. Do your learning intentions and success criteria lean more toward surface (uni- and multi-structural) or deep (relational and extended abstract)? Are they balanced across the two?

  3. A key element of transfer learning is thinking about opportunities for students to move their learning from math class, to use their knowledge to solve their own problems. Think about the important mathematical ideas you teach. For each one, begin to list situations that might encourage transfer of learning. These might be applications in another subject area or situations in real life where the mathematics is important.
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