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Mathematics Tasks for the Thinking Classroom, Grades K-5

Mathematics Tasks for the Thinking Classroom, Grades K-5

Illustrations by Laura Wheeler

May 2024 | 440 pages | Corwin

Practical and proven math tasks to maximize student thinking and learning

Building upon the blockbuster success of Building Thinking Classrooms in Mathematics, Peter Liljedahl has joined forces with co-author Maegan Giroux to bring the Building Thinking Classrooms (BTC) framework to life in this new book, Mathematics Tasks for the Thinking Classroom, Grades K-5.

But this book is so much more than simply a collection of good thinking tasks. It delves deeper into the implementation of the 14 practices from the BTC framework by updating the practices with the newest research, and focusing on the practice through the lens of rich math tasks that address specific mathematical learning outcomes or standards. Across the 20 non-curricular tasks and 30 curricular tasks used as models, this book:

  • Helps you choose tasks to fit your particular math standards, goals, and the competencies you want your students to build
  • Walks you through all the steps and scripts to launch, facilitate, and consolidate each task
  • Shares examples of possible student solutions along with hints you might offer to help their thinking along
  • Offers tasks for consolidation, example notes to my future forgetful self, and mild, medium, and spicy check-your-understanding questions (CYUs) for every thin sliced sequences of curricular tasks
  • Imparts reflections from the authors on each task

The book closes with specific guidance on how to find more tasks or craft your own non-curricular and curricular tasks, along with answers to educators’ frequently asked questions. It includes access to a companion website that includes downloadables and a task template for creating your own tasks.

Whether you are new to BTC or a seasoned user, Mathematics Tasks for the Thinking Classroom, Grades K-5 will help teachers, coaches, and specialists transform traditional math classrooms into dynamic and thought-provoking learning spaces.

Part 1 In Review and In the New
Chapter 1: What Kinds of Tasks to Use
Chapter 2: How, When, and Where to Give Tasks
Chapter 3: How to Build and Utilize Student Autonomy
Chapter 4: How to Use Hints and Extensions to Maintain Flow
Chapter 5: How to Consolidate the Task(s)
Chapter 6: How to Have Students Make Meaningful Notes
Chapter 7: How to Have Students do Check-Your-Understanding Questions
Chapter 8: How to Use Tasks as the Context to Improve Student Competencies
Chapter 9: What Does a Lesson Look Like in a Thinking Classroom?
Part 2 Non-Curricular Tasks
Part 3 Curricular Tasks
Part 4: From Page to Practice

BTC just got easier to do in your classroom! We have said for years and years that students need to be doing the thinking and talking in the math classroom. This book gives you the tools to actually do it! Whether you’ve read the original Building Thinking Classrooms book or not, this book gives you MORE . . . more tasks, more insights, more ideas. If you
want to get kids thinking, add this book to your collection.

Christina Tondevold
Build Math Minds
Orofino, ID

Mathematics Tasks for the Thinking Classroom, Grades K–5 doesn’t just offer tasks; it intentionally provides the fuel for transforming classrooms into dynamic critical thinking and collaboration hubs. From task selection to empowering student autonomy, this book equips educators with the tools and knowledge to create vibrant learning environments.

Graham Fletcher
Atlanta, GA

It was love at first sight when I read Building Thinking Classrooms in Mathematics: 14 Teaching Practices for Enhancing Learning. Though it might sound cheesy, it changed my life. While it was a transformational game changer in my classroom, it left me wanting more, especially in regard to the early elementary world. I longed to sit down with Peter and pick his brain concerning how some of the 14 practices might look in my first-grade class. Well, this book answers those questions, and I’m confident it will do the same for all the elementary teachers who have been waiting on the edges of their seats for this book to arrive. Peter and Maegan have hit it out of the ballpark.

Tammy McMorrow
Indian Creek Elementary
Meridian, ID

This follow-up to Building Thinking Classrooms in Mathematics will be a must-have book for every elementary math educator! Not only does it offer a comprehensive guide to a wealth of classroom-tested non-curricular and curricular tasks, and an expansion of many of the practices included in the original book, the presentation for each task takes you from an offered launch to begin the task, to hints and extensions during the task, to examples of student work to help educators consolidate the task, suggested examples of Check-Your-Understanding questions, and even advice from Peter and Maegan on what they have learned during their facilitation of these tasks within classrooms over and over again. Pure gold! This will be such a valuable addition to math educators’ professional libraries. I predict facilitation of positive math journeys for each and every student fortunate enough to be in a thinking classroom.

Ann Elise Record
Ann Elise Record Consulting LLC Concord, MH
Concord, MH

He’s done it again! Peter Liljedahl continues to take the math world by storm by answering our most frequently asked questions about building our own thinking classrooms, continuing to share his research findings, and providing us with examples of thinking tasks that fit the criteria of the 14 BTC practices.

Kimberly Rimbey
KP Mathematics
Phoenix, AZ

This is the Building Thinking Classrooms companion book that we have been waiting for! From the beginning to the end, readers will absorb every word. This book has the latest and greatest research that is easy to read, understand, and implement right away. This book will be sitting on my desk right beside the original Building Thinking Classrooms in Mathematics book so that I can share the information with teachers right away!

Laura Vizdos Tomas
West Palm Beach, FL

Building Thinking Classrooms in Mathematics revolutionized the way I taught mathematics in my fifth-grade classroom. Mathematics Tasks for the Thinking Classroom is sure to strengthen teachers’ craft as they continue to progress in their own learning journey. The tasks are engaging and detailed. This book is a great follow-up to the first and a must have for every BTC teacher.

Karina Cousins
Lake Worth, FL

This book is a must-read for all K–5 math educators. Whether you are just starting to build thinking classrooms or have been implementing BTC for many years, this book provides valuable insight into the original research along with new moves and practices that have emerged from continued research. The 50 Thinking Tasks included in the book will provide all your students access to engaged learning, while providing you with an increased
understanding and framework for continued success in leading a thinking classroom.

Melisa A. McCain
Franklin Community Schools
Franklin, IN

This follow-up book to the transformative Building Thinking Classrooms in Mathematics is the perfect next step. This book will help teachers continue on the path toward building a thinking classroom, but more importantly, building thinking students.

Jared Sliger
Middleton Middle School
Caldwell, ID

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