Cover of book Math Sense: The Look, Sound and Feel of Effective Instruction
Math Sense: The Look, Sound and Feel of Effective Instruction
By Christine Moynihan; Stenhouse Publishers, 2012. 144 pages, $19.00
Reviewed by Kit Luce

Math Sense helps new and veteran teachers and administrators look at, listen to, and feel what is happening in their classrooms. This book helps identify what educators are already doing well, and select a few elements for deeper focus.

The book is carefully organized around a number of different topics. First, is the connection to the word sense in the title, and what math instruction looks like, sounds like and feels like in the classroom. The author takes us through the landscape of math teaching, detailing the materials essential to an effective mathematics classroom.

The next two chapters consider the look of the lesson, focusing on the visual features of engaging math lessons. Discussion of the “feel” of a math classroom focuses on the importance of students being active in solving problems and taking risks. This is made less abstract by numerous examples from classrooms the author has visited. The last chapter provides reproducible self- assessment charts for teachers to examine each of the elements discussed in the preceding chapters.

The straightforward format of each chapter allows readers to clearly understand the support and justification for each of the components. There are examples of each component from lessons, teachers, and students, which provide concrete representations of the component in action. Chapter 5, “The Sound of the Lesson,” provides a chart to help teachers understand how the language they use can support student discourse. The author has also chosen to embed recommended resources into each chapter, allowing the reader to make an immediate note of where to look for further support.

This book is a valuable tool for all teachers who want to know more about how to engage students in the joy of learning mathematics.

Kit Luce is a member of The Simcoe County Teacher Local.


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