Math, Reading

What do Wise Mathematicians Do? Conferring-The Keystone of Reader’s Workshop

I recently started a new book from my summer professional reading pile called Conferring The Keystone of Reader’s Workshop by Patrick Allen (2009). As always when I approach a book I view it through a few different lenses. I look at it as a classroom teacher, and as an instructional consultant. I also look at it through the lens of an educator who is passionate about mathematics. I find that good instruction is good instruction regardless of the subject context it is presented in and for me I can always make a connection to mathematics. In Allen’s book he shares a student generated chart of some beginning of the year thinking about What it means to be a Wise Reader (p.26). In looking at the chart I began to wonder if it could be adapted to read What it means to be a Wise Mathematician. Here is what I have come up with so far…

  • A wise mathematician knows what to do in mathematician’s workshop
  • A wise mathematician takes time to take all the information he (she) has and puts it all together
  • A wise mathematician will use strategies to see what is in the problem to get a better feel of what is going on
  • A wise mathematician thinks about how the situation helps him (her)understand…because if not, how will it help him (her) learn?
  • A wise mathematician always pays attention to the problem
  • A wise mathematician rethinks about his (her) thinking to see if it makes sense
  • A wise mathematician thinks of strategies and tries them out
  • A wise mathematician writes responses to remember her (his) thinking
  • A wise mathematician asks questions so that they can flow through the problem and make more sense
  • A wise mathematician uses strategies and is not passive
  • A wise mathematician stops and thinks
  • A wise mathematician shares his (her) thinking with other mathematicians when he (she) has the chance

For the most part I just substituted wise mathematician for wise reader and changed some of the reading situation to math but the gist of the thinking is still in tacked. It seems to me that it works very well for mathematics. Once again good thinking in one subject area seems to be good thinking in another.

Something to think about.


1 thought on “What do Wise Mathematicians Do? Conferring-The Keystone of Reader’s Workshop”

  1. Jenn,
    I agree with your comment, “I find that good instruction is good instruction regardless of the subject context.” However, I also find it is sometimes a challenge to live this. I’ve been trying to take what I know works in my Reader’s and Writer’s Workshops and move that into math instruction that looks more like a workshop as well. I find it isn’t always easy. I constantly am reminding myself to use what I know from literacy in math. Your blog helps me to remember this. Thanks for the continued connections.


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