Snapshots of Practice

Bringing Joy to Uninspired Teachers of Math

Two graduate students using math manipulatives

This publication explores how to inspire teachers to find the joy in math so they can help their students do the same. Through a variety of tools, techniques, and helpful hints, the resource illustrates what high quality math instruction looks like and how teachers can reframe their own thinking about math to create deeper learning opportunities for their students.

This resource outlines eight Touchstone Strategies for teacher educators to use in their work with math teachers.

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Melnick, Hal. (November 2018). Bringing joy to uninspired teachers of math. New York, N.Y.: Bank Street College of Education.

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Touchstone Strategy #1: Math Autobiography
Explores how to use a math autobiography as an in-class assignment to assess each teacher’s personal memory of learning math
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Touchstone Strategy #2: “Do” Math
Details ways to wow” students on the first night of class by doing lab-type experiential tasks
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Touchstone Strategy #3: Collaborative Math
Examines collaborative group work as a unique kind of group work that can enhance the learning experience
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Touchstone Strategy #4: Honoring Mistakes
Shares how honoring mistakes and seeing them as opportunities rather than failings can help students grow
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Touchstone Strategy #5: Journaling
Introduces how math journals linked to class readings can help monitor everyone’s learning
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Touchstone Strategy #6: Work a Problem to Death
Demonstrates why working one intentionally perplexing problem “to death” unearths confusions as well as creative problem solving
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Touchstone Strategy #7: Non-Dominant Language
Describes how teaching one night’s class in a language other than the dominant one led to discussions about equity and privilege issues
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Touchstone Strategy #8: Concept Teaching Games
Explores the process for designing and sharing a concept teaching game
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