Book Study: Teaching Numeracy

It’s clear that numeracy is all the rage. Teachers complain that students don’t have number sense, and we’re told that the goal of the Common Core State Standards is to develop deep conceptual understanding.

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Well, in my quest for interesting reading material to go with my salad at lunch today, I pulled a book off my bookshelf that promises to be a wonderful combination of equal parts research and practical application.  The book is Teaching Numeracy: 9 Critical Habits to Ignite Mathematical Thinking, by Margie Pearse and K.M. Walton.

I like the layout of the book (you can “look inside” it on Amazon). Part I consists of nine chapters–one for each of the nine habits. Each chapter includes the research and background information about the habit, followed by a How Can I Do This in My Math Class…Tomorrow? section with very practical applications.

While Part I focuses on the what (although I’d argue there’s a lot of how thrown in!), Part II presents the how. It lays out the essential components of a numeracy-based lesson and provides a road map for effective planning.

Finally, Appendix A contains three different lesson plans incorporating the ideas from the book so you can see how it all fits together.

So…..I think it’s time for another book study series!  Grab a copy of the book and join me starting next Monday, June 30, as we explore this terrific resource.  For next Monday, we’ll discuss the Preface and Introduction.  Be looking for your favorite quotes to share!

Reading Schedule

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  1. Looks great! I have been looking for one more math book to read this summer. I just ordered it in Amazon (paper copy) and they let you see the first part on kindle instantly! Looking forward to hearing people’s thoughts on this book!

    1. So glad to hear you’re joining in, Tara! I love going into a new school year with fresh ideas! 🙂

    1. I would say, yes, absolutely! After all, that’s where it all starts! I notice that the How Can I Do This in My Math Class…Tomorrow section is divided into ideas for Early Elementary Ideas and Upper Elementary/Middle School Ideas. The sample lessons in that back are 2-3, 5-6, and 7-8, but I think the point of the lessons is to show how it all looks together so you can then apply it to your own lessons. If your’e not sure, I’d definitely suggest you preview it at Amazon using the Look Inside feature!

  2. I am wondering the same thing for first grade! Is this book applicable to early childhood teaching or is it more appropriate for upper grades 3 and above?

  3. Donna, I am looking forward to joining the book conversation, just ordered the book so hopefully I will have it in time for the first discussion. Do we just come to your site on Monday to join the book talk? Thanks for organizing and suggesting. -Grace

    1. Glad you’re joining in, Grace! So on Monday, I will post a discussion starter about the reading. Chime in with comments! The nice thing about a blog-based book study is that you can participate at your leisure. If you don’t get your book until later in the week, the blog post will still be there waiting for your comments. 🙂

  4. I am in! I have a goal this year of building my skills in teaching numeracy, so this will be a great motivator! And yes, you did clean out Amazon. 🙂 I am getting an ebook. Looking forward to this!

  5. I am honored you are using my research for your book study. I am thrilled you appreciate all the work that went into Teaching Numeracy. I am presently the Math Coordinator at Cabrini College and welcome any questions your group may have in building deeper mathematical thinkers in your students. I am currently in touch with several groups across the country and I love every minute of it.

    My email is margiepearse@gmail.com.


    Margie Pearse

  6. Hi Everyone!

    I am excited about your book study! I contacted Amazon and they promised to get more copies as soon as possible.

    I wanted to offer you all critical thinking strategy posters that I have shared with districts across the country. Many teachers say they are very helpful as they incorporate deeper thinking across the content areas. It is especially beneficial when every class has the same posters up so the children see that critical thinking is critical thinking in every grade and every subject (I love it when the gym teacher, music teacher, etc. posts them as well). They are absolutely free. I am simply passionate about helping our little ones learn how to think, not just what to think. Several kindergarten and first grade teachers tweaked them a bit so they are more “little kid friendly.”

    I loved them because they kept me accountable and reminded me that teaching math conceptually meant that I had to challenge my students to think like a mathematician and mathematicians are critical thinkers.

    If you would like a set, just email me at margiepearse@gmail.com.

    1. Thanks Margie! I can’t wait to share these with the K-3 teachers I work with!

  7. Thanks for hosting this book study. I have my book on order from Amazon…before they sold out:) So, hopefully it will be here soon!

    1. Glad to hear it, Pam! You can read the Introduction using the Look Inside feature at Amazon in case it doesn’t come in tomorrow. “See” you tomorrow night!

  8. I will be joining as well. Hoping to take some ideas into the implementation of a new math program this year in out district!

    1. Welcome, Micah! It’s exciting to see so many dedicated educators willing to use part of their summer to improve their craft!

  9. I am excited to participate! Love this book! I teach 6th grade math and I am always looking for innovative ways to help the students internalize their thinking!

    1. Ooh, 6th grade is a toughie, Susan! I feel that students probably need LOTS of motivation at that stage, so your desire to find new instructional techniques is refreshing!

  10. Excited to participate! Just ordered my copy on my Kindle and can’t stop reading. I will be teaching Kindergarten next year — new for me after 23 years of teaching.

  11. How do you participate in the book study? I think it would be helpful as I will be in the position of Title 1 Math Intervention teacher after teaching 3rd or 4th for the past 16 years!

    1. You just order a copy of the book! Each Monday, I’ll write a blog post with my thoughts on the reading. Everyone else participates by adding comments, either on Monday or whenever they get around to it. You can jump in a any time, because you can always go back and read what everyone has posted. 🙂

    1. I think that depends on your reading habits, Erin. If you’re comfortable with reading on the Kindle, then go for it! I like to highlight (although you actually can do that on a Kindle) and write notes in the margins, so I usually prefer an actual copy of my professional books. That’s just a personal preference, though.

  12. I just found this today- and will be joining you. Doesn’t look like you are too far ahead for me to catch up. Looking forward to chatting with you all.

  13. So far, I like the quote that numeracy is a fundamental literacy, not a discipline. It’s a language crucial to most disciplines. Rather than teaching “math” we should be looking at how to make students critical thinkers by blending it cross content and with real world contexts. We teach reading that way, so why not math.

    One of the issues that I see with numeracy as a literacy is that since numeracy has not been a critical focus, many teachers are unaware of how to best facilitate instruction that blends conceptual understanding and procedural fluency. Since, as Hyde states, “Numeracy empowers people by giving them the tools to think for themselves” and I do agree the Common Core State Standards can help.

    I have also read Hyde’s Book “Comprehending Math: Adapting Reading Strategies to Help Teach Mathematics” and find this to be an excellent resource on using reading strategies to help students think critically in mathematics. (http://www.amazon.com/Comprehending-Math-Adapting-Strategies-Mathematics/dp/032500949X/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1404423826&sr=1-1&keywords=arthur+hyde)

  14. Wow, this looks great. Unfortunately, I am very late, the book is now over $60.00 at amazon and alibris. I did find for a bit less at Sears of all places, but I won’t get it for almost 2 weeks. Will you be keeping the comments open for a while?

    1. I found a gem when I found this book! It’s been sold out at Amazon for a while, but you can still get it from Corwin Press (the publisher). The comments never close, so you can benefit no matter when you join. 🙂

      Here’s the link to the book at Corwin: Teaching Numeracy

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