Math Coach Resources

Teachers looking at coaching conversation queue cardsThe role of a mathematics instructional coach is both exciting and challenging. When schools invest in a mathematics coach, they see growth in teachers' content and pedagogical knowledge, increased student engagement, and rising assessment scores.

Professional learning for a coach should span several dimensions including mathematical content knowledge, including content standards and standards for mathematical practice; pedagogical knowledge, including a deep understanding of effective mathematical practices; and knowledge of effective coaching practices and leadership skills. Here are some of KCM's favorite resources for mathematics coaching.

Developing Coaching and Leadership Skills

  • Cognitive Coaching by Thinking Collaborative is an 8-day professional learning experience that develops the coach as a mediator of thinking and focuses on developing reflective and self-directed teachers

  • In Content Coaching, the coach works side-by-side with the teacher through a three-part coaching cycle of preconference (planning), co-teaching, and postconference (reflecting). For another example of content coaching, read this white paper.

Everything you Need for Mathematics Coaching book by Maggie McGatha and Jennifer Bay-Williams This book provides K-12 math coaches and teacher leaders a condensed explanation of critical mathematics coaching and teaching actions along with the tools to needed to do the work of navigating a coaching conversation and planning, facilitating and evaluating professional development.

Agents of Change book by Lucy West and Antonia Cameron The primary audience for this book is K-8 coaches and teacher leaders and their administrators. It provides these educators with a big-picture understanding of the potential of content coaching for transforming the culture within their schools and for improving student learning and achievement. In addition, it gives the coaches and teacher leaders specific techniques, tools and strategies for working with teachers.

Effective Mathematics Teaching Practices (NCTM)

Principles to Actions book from NCTM Effective coaching is anchored in growing teachers' understanding and implementation of the Effective Mathematics Teaching Practices (EMTPs) outlined by NCTM in Principles to Actions (2014). Below are resources from NCTM for understanding and supporting teachers in implementing the EMTPs. For a brief introduction to the recommendations outlined in Principles to Actions, see the NCTM website and NCTM President Robert Berry's blog Examining Equitable Teaching Using the Mathematics Teaching Framework.

Taking Action: Implementing Effective Mathmeatics Teaching Practices in K-Grade 5
Taking Action: Implementing Effective Mathmeatics Teaching Practices in Grades 6-8
Taking Action: Implementing Effective Mathmeatics Teaching Practices in Grades 9-12

The Taking Action books support a coach in facilitating professional learning experiences to foster teachers' understanding of the Effective Mathematics Teaching Practices and their ability to apply those practices in their own classrooms. These books examine in depth what each teaching practice looks like in classrooms of various levels, with narrative cases, classroom videos, and real student work, with ready-to-implement professional learning experiences.

Catalyzing Change in Early Childhood and Elementary Mathematics
Catalyzing Change in Middle School Mathematics
Catalyzing Change in High School Mathematics

The Catalyzing Change Series initiates the critical conversations on policies, practices, and issues that impact mathematics education at all levels. Mathematics education must provide a just, equitable, and inclusive system for each and every child. These books address why the status quo is unacceptable, what collective actions should be taken to change it, and how to make a difference!

Content Knowledge and the Kentucky Academic Standards

Developing Essential Understanding Series

Putting Essential Understanding into Practice Series To deepen either a teacher's or coach's content knowledge, NCTM offers their over 15 books in their Developing Essential Understanding Series, spanning all grades, K-12, and content areas. For a discussion of how those understandings are implemented in a classrooms, see the Putting Essential Understanding into Practice Series.

Math Fact Fluency book by Jennifer Bay-williams and Gina Kling Mastering the basic math facts for addition, subtraction, multiplication and division is a cornerstone of the Kentucky Academic Standards. This book and the Math Fact Fluency Companion Website offer everything a teacher needs to teach, assess, and communicate with parents about basic math fact instruction.

Figuring Out Fluency in Mathematics Teaching and Learning Grades K-8
Figuring Out Fluency - Addition and Subtraction with Whole Numbers
Figuring Out Fluency - Multiplicaiton and Division with Whole Numbers
Figuring Out Fluency - Addition and Subtraction with Fractions and Decimals
Figuring Out Fluency - Multiplication and Division with Fractions and Decimals

Fluency in mathematics is more than deptly using basic facts or implementing algorithms. Real fluency involves reasoning and creativity. The Figuring Out Fluency Series offers educators a deeper understanding of procedural fluency, along with pragmatic tools for shifting a classroom toward a fluency approach.

Instructional Routines and Building Number Sense

Small changes can have a huge impact! Implementing instructional routines, including number talks, can be that small change. With just a few minutes per day, teachers build number sense and a classroom community in which student-reasoning, sense-making,and discourse are valued.

Number Talks

Jo Boaler discusses “Why Number Talks” in this video.

Making Number Talks Matter by Cathy Humphreys and Ruth Parker

KCM produced visual prompts and supports for implementing number talks, organized by grade band: KCM Virtual Number Talk Resources

Problem Strings

Problem Strings are a variation of number talks in which a series of related computation tasks are presented and discussed to elicit a specific property, computation strategy, or idea.

Contexts for Learning Minilesson Books
Grades K-6: Minilesson books are yearlong resource guides containing over seventy 10-15 minutes lessons that support the development of mathematical understanding and a growth-mindset. These math minilessons can be used to launch your daily instruction, as content for number talks, or with small groups of students as you differentiate instruction.

Building Powerful Numeracy for Middle and High School Students

Lessons and Activities for Building Powerful Numeracy Grades 6-12: Building Powerful Numeracy for Middle and High School Students brings the world of research on numeracy at the elementary level to the secondary level, helping teachers build numeracy in their students and showing how that work supports students in understanding higher math. Lessons and Activities for Building Powerful Numeracy continues the work by offering lessons and activities that promote strategies for teaching as much mathematics as possible with as little memorization as possible.

Other Instructional Routines

Routines for Reasoning book This book provides instructional routines focused on helping students develop their mathematica thinking and reasoning skills. It provides guidance for incorporating the Standards for Mathematical Practice into classroom instruction.

Daily Routines to Jump-Start Math Class, Elementary School book
Daily Routines to Jump-Start Math Class, Middle School book
Daily Routines to Jump-Start Math Class, High School book

The Daily Routines to Jump-Start Math Class Series provide practice routines designed to jump-start reasoning, reinforce learning, and instill math confidence in students at the various levels of instruciton.

Online Resources for Routines

  • Number Sense Routines from Steve Wyborney includes Esti-Mysteries, Splat, Hundred Chart Mazes, and more.

  • Which One Doesn't Belong? provides thought-provoking puzzles for math teachers and students.

  • Same But Different Math from Looney Math showcases two mathematical images and asks student to attend to what is the same, and what is different, in both images. By highlighting shared features and attending to differences, students deepen their understanding of abstract mathematical ideas and underlying mathematical structures.

Additional Recommended Resources

Strengths-Based Teaching and Learning in Mathematics book Teaching turnarounds encourage productive struggle by identifying teacher and student strengths, designing strengths-based instruction, discovering students' points of power, and promoting strengths in the school community.

Mastering Math Manipulatives, Grades K-3 book

Mastering Math Manipulatives, Grades 4-8 book These books provide hands-on and virtual activities for making math manioulatives meaningful so math learning is concrete, profound, and effective for students. The books are designed to support a year-long PLC structure, with each chapter aligned to a particular type of manipulative.

5 Practices for Orchestrating Mathematics Discussions book This book presents five practices that provide a framework for orchestrating mathematically productive discussions rooted in student thinking. The framework helps teachers achieve high-demand learning objectives by using the work and thinking of students as the launching point for discussions in which important mathematical ideas are brought to the surface, contradictions are exposed, and understandings are developed or consolidated.

Mathematical Discourse: Let the Kids Talk book This book provides teachers with the tools needed to facilitate mathematical discourse in the classroom and create opportunities for students to think constructively, communicate effectively, and increase their mathematical proficiency.

Rough Draft Math book by Amanda Jansen Talking and writing about unfinished ideas is vital to learning mathematics, but most students only speak up when they think they have the right answer - especially middle school and high school students. This books shows teachers how to create a classroom culture where students readily participate and share their evolving understanding while engaging in math talk, collaborative problem solving, and ongoing revision of ideas.