What an interesting question, and one my students ask in one form or another–usually as, “When are we ever going to use this?”. How fitting that Jo Boaler (@joboaler) chose this very question as the title of her book, and the second professional book I read this summer.
1) Be more intentional with what students do mathematically in the classroom. If they can interact with the math–do it. Worksheets have a place–don’t get me wrong. But if students can touch the math, then they should.
2) Be more intentional with feedback. Don’t slap a grade or point value on a paper and call it a day. That isn’t going to help anyone improve–teacher and students alike.
3) On that same train–be more intentional with what you grade. Don’t be pressured to grade EVERYTHING. Choose what will give you the best picture of your students’ progress, and go from there.
This was a quick read and I highly recommend it for math teachers of all levels. Although the content of the book covers the middle grades and up, primary teachers will come away with some good information, particularly in regards to WHERE their students are going mathematically. It will start them thinking about how they can change their instruction to better prepare their students for future grades.