Accept and publish a framework for your teaching. Know why you choose to use tasks as part of the curriculum and why you choose your particular model(s) for using them. Are your students learning to work like a mathematician or just trying to reproduce the skills of a mathematician?
Ensure that the administration, kids and parents are clear about your curriculum's purpose. By default, requiring students to purchase a text book is a statement of your framework. An alternative begins when everyone recognises that these tasks contribute to learning to work like a mathematician because they represent an invitation to work on a problem ... and trying to solve interesting problems is a mathematician's work.
Feature the use of tasks in the written syllabus material. Reinforce the framework and make the 'when and how' of use clear. Build on the metaphor that a collection of tasks is as important to numeracy as a collection of books is to literacy.
One learns to love literature/problem solving through a balance of both.
- A student can select a task from the shelf to explore, extend and enjoy for themselves.
- Equally a teacher can select the same task from the shelves to use with the class for all to explore, extend and enjoy together.
In-coming teachers (...and students and parents) need to know why and how you are using tasks. Make time to work with them on understanding the tasks and the principles and practice behind their use. Introduce them to this web site.
Keep the framework and the documentation in front of the school population. Perhaps the most important way to do this is to look for and celebrate student work. For example, our Sphinx Album celebrates the work of many students and teachers, and you will find more in our Recording & Publishing Album. Consider using the school newsletter and/or web site and relaxed but purposeful 'maths nights'. Maths displays in hallways can be very powerful.
Don't just talk about the Working Mathematically principles detailed in your framework. Build in appropriate assessment to show how kids are in fact learning to work like a mathematician.
Build in-house and external professional development into your regular professional learning program. Show each other kids' work. Play with some tasks together.
Make a feature of new tasks added to your collection and familiar tasks extended, or developed into whole class lesson explorations. For example, Task 116 Who Owns The Monkey? is in our collection because it was included in one school's collection after a pupil found it in a magazine. Change displays.
And you don't have to do it all yourself. Maths With Attitude kits are a collection of years of teachers' work designed to support you with framework, structure, content, assessment and professional learning in a week by week program.