**Hello!**

**This is the first of a series of Blogs about the 8 Math Teaching Practices from NCTM and how they can inform our teaching practice in general and use of tools like Magma Math in particular. **

But first, an introduction! My name is Leslie Nielsen, and I’m a new addition to the Magma Math team. I’m a long time math teacher, having taught in the US (in Pennsylvania, California, and Washington States) and also in Denmark. I’ve taught K - 12 math as well as some undergraduate courses, was the Interim Coordinator for the Secondary Teacher Education Program at the University of Washington, and also was an editor at Key Curriculum Press working with *Geometer’s Sketchpad* and co-author of *Is Democracy Fair: The Mathematics of Voting & Apportionment*. Additionally, I’ve been a district math leader and a regional math coordinator in Washington State. **You can find me on LinkedIn**. I’ve had a long and varied career in mathematics education and am excited to explore topics around math learning and teaching here.

The eight NCTM math teaching practices are grounded in research in mathematics learning and teaching and are often referred to as the *Equitable Teaching Practices. *These practices were initially introduced by NCTM in *Principles to Actions* and then elaborated on in *Catalyzing Change, *which made the key recommendation that:

**Mathematics instruction should be consistent with research-informed and equitable teaching practices that foster students; positive mathematical identities and strong sense of agency.”**

(National Council of Teachers of Mathematics. 2020. *Catalyzing Change in Middle School Mathematics: Initiating Critical Conversations.* Reston, VA: NCTM)

What do we mean by equitable teaching practices? These are practices that support each and every student in developing a positive mathematical identity and a strong sense of agency. In *The Impact of Identity in K - 8 Mathematics: Rethinking Equity-Based Practices,* Aguirre, Mayfield-Ingram and Martin define mathematical **identity** as “the dispositions and deeply held beliefs that students develop about their ability to participate and perform effectively in mathematical contexts and to use mathematics in powerful ways across contexts of their lives” (p 14). I think of this every time someone tells me, “I’m not a math person,” or “I don’t do fractions.” I always feel so sad that people have been denied the opportunity to feel positive about and capable in mathematics, and am at the same time puzzled that I *did* evolve a sense that I could do mathematics even though I suffered the impacts of drill & kill, timed tests, and tracking. What made that difference for me? And how can I support teachers in making a difference for students?

The other component of equitable teaching is supporting students’ sense of agency. Agency refers to how learners express their mathematical identities. In math classrooms, agency is expressed by the ways that students engage (or not) in productive struggle, how they take risks, how willing they are to make their thinking visible, and how they take initiative to try on different problem solving strategies and approaches. Agency is the outward expression of identity, and as a teacher it is a way for me to gauge how my students are feeling about mathematics.

The diagram below is a way of organizing the 8 Math Teaching practices in the way that we might engage with them as we plan, teach, reflect, and revise. I hope you will find these blogs interesting, and please feel free to comment or let me know your thoughts or questions.*Best,Leslie*leslie@magmamath.com