Back to all news

Uncovering Our Students’ Mathematical Thinking

Workshop Spotlight | March 30, 2022

Good teaching is often like detective work – what a student writes or says is only a small piece of what they know. In a matter of seconds, a teacher must hear what a student shares, infer their underlying understanding, and then respond in real-time to facilitate their learning. Reflecting on classroom videos can be a powerful tool to help teachers with this.

“Many teachers are implementing tasks to classes of 34 students, and within the standard class period, there can be a lot of student thinking that potentially goes unnoticed,” said Alex Cristando, MƒA Master Teacher and middle school mathematics teacher at Metropolitan Expeditionary Learning School, who co-facilitated the MƒA PLT “Uncovering Our Students’ Mathematical Thinking” in the fall. In this PLT, also known by the MƒA community as “Video Club,” MƒA math teachers from various grade levels put themselves in their students’ shoes by working together to solve various math problems. Teachers then incorporated the same work into their own classrooms and captured video clips of their lessons to gather evidence about what knowledge students were taking in. 

“This method allowed us to slow down, replay, and really zero in on what a student could have been thinking, which, in real-time teaching, is not always possible,” added Alex. Throughout the PLT, MƒA teachers uncovered what some of their students may be truly understanding, what misconceptions they may have, and how they can help support student thinking in the future. 

“MƒA is a community that supports teachers stepping out of the bubble of their schools to collaborate with other teachers across New York City,” said Alex. “This PLT has taken that idea one step further. Through the use of video clips, we are instantly transported to each other’s classrooms. This type of work has been more meaningful than ever these past two years, where, due to the pandemic, intervisitation has been made a difficult task.” 

To read more about MƒA PLTs, please see our current Course Catalog.