Much fuss has been made about the Common Core Standards. While the roll out has been less than stellar, and the professional development provided to many teachers has been shaky, the standards themselves are great for improving the math instruction in our schools. In particular, one aspect of the math standards that I believe should be even more of a focus in every classroom are the Standards for Mathematical Practice.

The math practice standards are really the core skills and traits that students need to have in order be proficient mathematicians, regardless of what topic they are learning. The standards involve being able to problem solve, persevere through difficult problems, use appropriate tools, communicate your reasoning, justify your answer, and more. When you really think about it, these are skills that will make students successful in their future careers and life, not just in their math classroom.

The math practice standards are really the core skills and traits that students need to have in order be proficient mathematicians, regardless of what topic they are learning. The standards involve being able to problem solve, persevere through difficult problems, use appropriate tools, communicate your reasoning, justify your answer, and more. When you really think about it, these are skills that will make students successful in their future careers and life, not just in their math classroom.

However, we cannot just expect students to come to us with these traits. As teachers we need to develop these skills within our students, and to do so we need to make students aware of what these Standards for Mathematical Practice are and make them a part of our everyday teaching. In order to do that we need to:

The math practice standards need to have a prominent place in your classroom, along side the other posters and decor that you have. I'm not artsy, but you can find some great math practice standards posters on Pinterest. Some of my favorites are:

*1) Make them visible*The math practice standards need to have a prominent place in your classroom, along side the other posters and decor that you have. I'm not artsy, but you can find some great math practice standards posters on Pinterest. Some of my favorites are:

*2) Help students understand what they are*Students should be taught what the practice standards are, and what exactly they mean. Have your students think about what each standard is saying and how that looks in the classroom. You can do this as a whole class, or in small groups. You can do all of the standards at once in the beginning of the year, or introduce a standard a week. Either way, dedicate specific classroom time to teaching students about the standards. Have them brainstorm ways in which they can demonstrate these standards. Have them write the standard in their own language. Discuss ways in which they see these standards being applied in other subjects and in their future. Incorporate those ideas into your classroom decoration, so that you can…

*3) Reference the standards constantly!*Any time you see a student demonstrating the skills highlighted in the standards, make a big deal out of it. Praise what they are doing and connect it to the standard. Shout it out to the entire classroom. Did a student remember to include their units in an answer - they are attending to precision! Did they try a different strategy when their first method didn’t work - they are making sense of the problem and persevering! Did they use a table or graph to figure out their answer - they are modeling with mathematics! By constantly referencing the standards, you are reinforcing their importance and demonstrating to students how important they are in their math class. And by praising students, you are encouraging the behaviors you want to see.

How do you incorporate the Standards for Mathematical Practice into your classroom?