Book Study 2014: Mathematics Discussions

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Online Book Study Fall 2014

5 Practices for Orchestrating Productive Mathematics Discussions

By Mary Kay Stein, Margaret Schwan Smith

book coverLearn the 5 practices for orchestrating productive mathematics discussions:

Anticipating what students will do–what strategies they will use–in solving a problem 
Monitoring their work as they approach the problem in class
Selecting students whose strategies are worth discussing in class
Sequencing those students’ presentations to maximize their potential to increase students’ learning
Connecting the strategies and ideas in a way that helps students understand the mathematics learned

This book presents and discusses an framework for orchestrating mathematically productive discussions that are rooted in student thinking. The 5 Practices framework identifies a set of instructional practices that will help teachers achieve high-demand learning objectives by using student work 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. By giving teachers a road map of things that they can do in advance and during whole-class discussions, these practices have the potential for helping teachers to more effectively orchestrate discussions that are responsive to both students and the discipline.

Participants will have an opportunity to:

  • Link the ideas from the book to their classroom practices

  • Engage in discussions with other educators about how to make effective connections to mathematical ideas

  • Reflect on how growth mindset affects questioning in the classroom

All sessions will be through video conferencing from 4:00-5:15 pm with connection to the conference starting at 3:45 pm. Session dates are Tuesday October 21, Tuesday November 4 and Wednesday November 19, 2014. You can order the book at


"It has been a very good experience and I thought that the book was excellent. It provides a way forward with problem solving and 3-part lesson that I think was missing before."  - John P. Mooney, Vice-Principal, Limestone DSB