Explain what this Mathematical Practice means Decoding what this mathematical practice means to the teacher and student is an essential first step. Calculating precisely is obviously an important part of attend to precision. In addition, this practice also asks for communicating using appropriate Math terminology, labeling quantities correctly, and understanding various symbols. Students need to fist get all that the practice involves before they start actively practicing it.
Be a role model One of the most effective ways teachers can help is to model – attending to precision themselves in their communications with students. As Michelle Douglass explains in her blog about Helping Math Students Attend to Precision, getting children to use the correct Math vocabulary is not the easiest task and it takes time to develop this skill. For starters, teachers need to be consistent in the use of precise language in their instruction and students will pick it over time.
"I CAN" statements
For all the good intent that went into creating this mathematical practice, the purpose is not served if students do not adopt it. Get students to develop I-CAN statements related to “Attend to Precision”. Depending on the grade level of students, different strategies can be used from fun activities like Word Walls by Steve’s Classroom to getting students to explain their own thinking using the appropriate Math language.
Ask deeper questions
Questions are probably the most powerful tool in the teacher’s arsenal to develop this practice. Ask deep probing questions, get students to speak and develop a habit of using the right Math language when answering or discussing in class.
Do you have suggestions of how to implement this practice? Would love to hear from you.