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As a new teacher many years ago, I recognized that I didn’t know how to teach math effectively. The experienced teachers I worked with were eager to help me with my reading instruction but had little support to offer for mathematics. Thankfully, I stumbled across a book of problem-solving lessons by Marilyn Burns (@mburnsmath; marilynburnsmathblog.com). The vignettes of classroom lessons included in this book helped me visualize and understand best practice in a math classroom. When I re-enacted these lessons with my own students, I felt that Marilyn was at my side, guiding me as I introduced the problems and supported my students while they shared their thinking and worked together to solve these problems. Marilyn’s written self-reflections shaped my own noticings about my students’ developing math understandings. Lesson by lesson my math instruction became more effective. And along the way my students and I fell in love with doing and learning mathematics. I realize now that Marilyn Burns was my first math coach, long before the role of instructional coach even existed.
Marilyn’s latest book, Welcome to Math Class, offers this same kind of powerful storytelling about math teaching and learning, immersing readers in the dynamics of a thinking-rich, joy-filled math classroom. The sixteen time-tested, math anchor lessons included are appropriate for multiple grade levels and cross math content strands. But Marilyn does more than just share great math lessons. Woven into the vignettes are explanations of how children develop mathematical understanding and hints for teaching strategies that help students learn to reason mathematically and make sense of mathematical ideas. Audio clips of conversations about teaching practices are included for each lesson; these conversations help readers to feel that they, too, are being personally mentored by Marilyn.
Welcome to Math Class is a wonderful addition to the @Math_Solutions library of resources for math teachers. This book will be appreciated by all math teachers who want to continue building their craft and their effectiveness as facilitators of math learning.