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Emotions are complex psychological states stemming from our positive and negative experiences. They can affect our minds and bodies and therefore can support or hinder learning. Feeling safe and accepted has particular impact on learning, as anxiety can overtax the brain, making it harder for a student to reason with numbers and solve math problems.
Several aspects of Emotion can drive mathematical development:
Evidence suggests that Emotion knowledge is vital for Emotion regulation, and Emotion regulation impacts many academic skills, including the development of math skills.
Students' positive (e.g., enjoyment) or negative (e.g., frustration, anger) emotional reactions during and after they've completed math tasks can also contribute to their Math Mindset and Motivation to engage. Math anxiety is a specific Emotion associated with discomfort around doing math and can negatively impact math performance and self-efficacy. Math anxiety increases from about sixth grade to ninth grade, when it peaks. Guiding students to reframe their struggles with math as normal can help shift their mindsets and boost their self-efficacy.
Content that is provided in clear, short chunks can support students' Working Memory.
Building positive and trusting relationships with learners allows them to feel safe; a sense of belonging; and that their academic, cognitive, and social and emotional needs are supported.
As students solve problems in a group, they learn new strategies and practice communicating their mathematical thinking.
CRA is a sequential instructional approach during which students move from working with concrete materials to creating representational drawings to using abstract symbols.
Students activate more cognitive processes by exploring and representing their understandings in visual form.
Daily review strengthens previous learning and can lead to fluent recall.
Teaching students how to label, identify, and manage Emotion helps them learn Self-regulation skills.
Overtly encouraging all students to seek support and ask questions creates a safe space for risk-taking and skill development.
Writing freely about one's emotions about a specific activity, such as taking a test, can help students cope with negative Emotion, such as math anxiety.
Students are more likely to come to school when families feel like a valued part of the community.
Teachers can help students understand that learning involves effort, mistakes, and reflection by teaching them about their malleable brain and modeling their own learning process.
As students walk through stations working in small groups, the social and physical nature of the learning supports deeper understanding.
Setting overall goals, as well as smaller goals as steps to reaching them, encourages consistent, achievable progress and helps students feel confident in their skills and abilities.
Attributing results to controllable aspects (strategy and effort) fosters students' beliefs in self.
In guided inquiry, teachers help students use their own language for constructing knowledge by active listening and questioning.
Spending time with new content helps move concepts and ideas into Long-term Memory.
Learning about students' cultures and connecting them to instructional practices helps all students feel like valued members of the community.
Practicing until achieving several error-free attempts is critical for retention.
Having space where students can go supports Self-regulation and individual deliberate practice.
As students work with and process information by discussing, organizing, and sharing it together, they deepen their understanding.
Math centers support learner interests and promote the development of more complex math skills and social interactions.
Rhyming, alliteration, and other sound devices reinforce math skills development by activating the mental processes that promote memory.
When students have meaningful conversations about math and use math vocabulary, they develop the thinking, questioning, and explanation skills needed to master mathematical concepts.
Through short but regular mindfulness activities, students develop their awareness and ability to focus.
Short breaks that include mindfulness quiet the brain to allow for improved thinking and emotional regulation.
Multiple tables and chairs on wheels allow for setting up the classroom to support the desired learning outcomes of each activity.
By talking through their thinking at each step of a process, teachers can model what learning looks like.
Teachers sharing math-to-self, math-to-math, and math-to-world connections models this schema building.
Brain breaks that include movement allow learners to refresh their thinking and focus on learning new information.
Multiple display spaces help develop oral language skills as well as Social Awareness & Relationship Skills by allowing groups to share information easily as they work.
Visualizing how ideas fit together helps students construct meaning and strengthens recall.
Providing physical and virtual representations of numbers and math concepts helps activate mental processes.
Multiple writing surfaces promote collaboration by allowing groups to share information easily as they work.
Research shows physical activity improves focus and creativity.
Maintaining consistent classroom routines and schedules ensures that students are able to trust and predict what will happen next.
When teachers connect math to the students' world, students see how math is relevant and applicable to their daily lives.
Students deepen their understanding and gain confidence in their learning when they explain to and receive feedback from others.
Providing space and time for students to reflect is critical for moving what they have learned into Long-term Memory.
Response devices boost engagement by encouraging all students to answer every question.
Children's literature can be a welcoming way to help students learn math vocabulary and concepts.
Multicultural resources, such as posters with different types of people and word problems based in different settings, allow all students to see themselves in their math work.
When students engage in a dialogue with themselves, they are able to orient, organize, and focus their thinking.
When students monitor their comprehension, behavior, or use of strategies, they build their Metacognition.
When students give themselves positive self-statements after reaching a goal, they acknowledge their progress and reward their small successes.
Sentence frames or stems can serve as language support to enrich students' participation in academic discussions.
Providing students a voice in their learning is critical for making learning meaningful.
When students create their own number and word problems, they connect math concepts to their background knowledge and lived experiences.
Transforming written text into audio activates different parts of the brain to support learning.
Students deepen their math understanding as they use and hear others use specific math language in informal ways.
Spaces that are structured, organized, and clean provide increased room for collaboration and active learning.
Untimed tests provide students the opportunity to flexibly and productively work with numbers, further developing their problem-solving abilities.
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