Resources and Tools for Elementary Math Specialists and Teachers
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"The Big Old Conversation": Reflections on Mathematical Tasks and Discourse

The authors of this 18-page article discuss their efforts to explore the implications of using rich mathematical tasks and promoting mathematical discourse, as proposed in the NCTM's teaching standards. While team-teaching in a third grade class, they analyzed the relative merits and challenges of presenting children with convergent and divergent tasks. The article includes anecdotes to illustrate the kinds of thinking and communication that children engaged in, and the empowerment they exhibited, as they explored questions about negative numbers and regrouping in subtraction.
Contributed by: National Center for Research on Teacher Learning (NCRTL) - Publisher, Kathrene Beasley and Helen Featherstone - Author
This resource is included in the following PD Collection(s):
CCSS Practice Standard 3This collection assists teachers as they integrate Mathematical Practice Standard 3 into their classroom routines. Encouraging productive student conversations about mathematics builds the foundation that supports this practice. These resources will help teachers learn methods for creating an environment where constructing arguments and critiquing the reasoning of peers is a common occurrence. Additional resources may be found in a companion classroom collection.
Math TopicNumber Sense, Basic Operations, Number Concepts, Mathematical Practices, Mathematical Processes
Grade Level2, 3, 4, 5
Resource TypeReference Materials, Article

  • Additional Information
    • AudienceEducator, Professional/Practitioner
    • LanguageEnglish (USA)
    • Education TopicClassroom management, Teaching strategies
    • Interdisciplinary Connection
    • Professional DevelopmentYes
    • ContributorNational Center for Research on Teacher Learning (NCRTL) - Publisher, Kathrene Beasley and Helen Featherstone - Author
    • Publication Date1995
    • RightsCopyright (c) 1994 NCRTL
    • AccessFree access
  • Standards
    • Common Core State Standards for Mathematics

      Select a standards document: