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Social Supports are the perception and presence of a support network available to help a student if needed. People are social creatures, and our happiness is in part based on having supportive friends and family. The power of Social Supports extends to learning: a student's perception of the strength of the support they have, even if they do not end up calling upon their supports, is a key contributor to their academic success, including learning math.
Key sources of Social Supports include parents, friends, classmates, teachers, and other school resources and staff. These sources offer different types of support to a student:
Social Supports can be beneficial even when students do not take advantage of the support. Rather, it is important that students perceive that these Social Supports are available to them.
Unfortunately, children can experience traumatic events that erode their actual and/or perceived Social Supports.
Building positive relationships with other sources of Social Supports, such as with a teacher or family friend, can diminish the effects of this kind of trauma (e.g., by mitigating the negative effects of stress hormones).
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.
Providing math tasks with high cognitive demand conveys high expectations for all students by challenging them to engage in higher-order thinking.
As students solve problems in a group, they learn new strategies and practice communicating their mathematical thinking.
Analyzing incorrect worked examples is especially beneficial for helping students develop a conceptual understanding of mathematical processes.
Students are more likely to come to school when families feel like a valued part of the community.
As students walk through stations working in small groups, the social and physical nature of the learning supports deeper understanding.
In guided inquiry, teachers help students use their own language for constructing knowledge by active listening and questioning.
Learning about students' cultures and connecting them to instructional practices helps all students feel like valued members of the community.
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.
When students have meaningful conversations about math and use math vocabulary, they develop the thinking, questioning, and explanation skills needed to master mathematical concepts.
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.
Multiple writing surfaces promote collaboration by allowing groups to share information easily as they work.
Having students teach their knowledge, skills, and understanding to their classmates strengthens learning.
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.
When students create their own number and word problems, they connect math concepts to their background knowledge and lived experiences.
Students deepen their math understanding as they use and hear others use specific math language in informal ways.
Analyzing and discussing solved problems helps students develop a deeper understanding of abstract mathematical processes.
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