When I lead professional development, I focus on easy-to-implement changes first. Using openers and games are usually my first takeaways for teachers. When I’ve spent longer with them, I move to rich tasks.
I think of rich math tasks as the heartbeat of mathematical thinking, and essential to any classroom. They’re the best way, in my opinion, to offer real math—and the opportunity to thinking like mathematicians—to students.
They’re also tough to implement. They’re simple in a sense, but not easy, and they take practice. I’ve also learned that teachers often find them daunting at first. The good news is, with the right support, they can get comfortable using them in the classroom. Here’s a pre/post survey on comfort with rich tasks from a Math Teacher Circle series I just wrapped up.
To me, this is exciting. Our best tool to offer students rich learning experiences is teachable and learnable.
A new PD video support for rich tasks
This last November I flew to Australia as part of a grant to produce a video series on using rich tasks. The work was in partnership with an innovative math curriculum developer I’ve been collaborating with called Maths Pathway. The goal was to create resources that teachers anywhere would be able to use to support a move into using rich tasks in their classroom.