Cover of Eyes on Math: A Visual Approach to Teaching Math Concepts
Eyes on Math: A Visual Approach to Teaching Math Concepts
By Marian Small, Illustrations by Amy LinTeachers College Press, 2012. 240 pages, $30.50 (paperback)
Reviewed by Christine Stone

This professional resource focuses on how educators can present important mathematical ideas pictorially at all levels, from kindergarten to grade 12. Marian Small and Amy Lin have organized the book to make it easy for teachers of any grade to quickly find the information that is most relevant to their teaching assignment.

The preface begins the conversation about how to use the book for differentiated instruction and in conjunction with other resources. The book opens by providing the theory and research behind using visual representations for understanding math concepts, finding the most important focal points within the math we are teaching, and providing learning experiences that connect across strands using big ideas and essential understandings. Recognizing that communication in math goes a long way to improving understandings, Small argues that connecting math to oral, visual, and written communication is a key part of supporting student learning. Teachers are encouraged to include rich tasks and open-ended questions in their lessons.

The rest of the book is organized by grade level. Each chapter has visual aids and questions that can be used for discussion on a variety of math topics. Teachers are encouraged to use the visuals to help build a rich math environment that promotes higher- level student thinking where meaningful questions support students in developing understandings of the big ideas and essential concepts. The appendix organizes the topics and curriculum connections to support teachers in their planning. The online component is a great additional perk. Colour pictures can be downloaded for use in the classroom, either electronically or in hard-copy form.

I believe this professional resource would be a great asset to any teacher. The multitude of visuals and questions provided would be extremely useful and easily used in planning. Teachers could pick this book up and immediately find it to be a valuable tool in their professional practice.

Christine Stone is a member of Elementary Teachers of Toronto


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