My Professional Development Math Book Recommendations
There are so many different professional development books out there that it can be overwhelming to choose ones that will actually help in the classroom.
I am betting you have read, just like I have, professional development books that are not that practical for today’s classrooms or your particular students. I want to share with you the 5 Math professional development books that have impacted my teaching and that I have found the most useful and practical.
They are in no particular order but the 1st one is definitely one that I think ALL MATH teachers should read in university or at the very beginning of their career.
Another thing to note is that all links below are affiliate links which means that if you use them I get a few cents back (great financial literacy lesson😉). They do not change the price in any way for you!
Mathematical Mindsets: Unleashing Students’ Potential through Creative Math, Inspiring Messages and Innovative Teaching 1st Edition
by Jo Boaler
I am sure you have heard about Carol Dweck and her work on Growth Mindset. Well Jo Boaler has taken Dweck’s ideas and applied them to Math in her book Mathematical Mindsets .
One of the biggest deterrents to success in math is a student’s (and sometimes their parent’s) mindset. For this reason (and because it is a fabulous resource) Boaler’s book is my all-time favourite professional development math resource and the one I believe will help your students the most.
Boaler argues that a growth mindset, which emphasizes the belief that intelligence and mathematical ability can be developed through effort and practice, is crucial for students to succeed in math.
This book is aimed at anyone who teaches math and wants to transform their approach to teaching it. Drawing on extensive research and her own experiences, Boaler provides practical strategies to foster a mathematical growth mindset.
Boaler encourages teachers to create a classroom environment that promotes collaboration, risk-taking, and the exploration of multiple solution pathways. She advocates for the use of open-ended, real-world problems that engage students in meaningful mathematical thinking.
Boaler emphasizes the importance of embracing mistakes as valuable learning opportunities and provides techniques for effective feedback and assessment.
Building Thinking Classrooms in Mathematics, Grades K-12: 14 Teaching Practices for Enhancing Learning
by Peter Liljedahl
If you want a book that will help get your students REALLY thinking about math tasks and working collaboratively, this is the one for you! Building Thinking Classrooms has so many practical examples and math tasks for all grade levels.
Liljedahl introduces the concept of a “thinking classroom,” which focuses on developing students’ mathematical thinking, problem-solving skills, and collaboration. The book offers practical strategies and classroom-tested techniques to create an environment where students actively engage in constructing their understanding.
The book emphasizes the importance of student-centered instruction, where students take ownership of their learning and actively participate in discussions.
I was excited to see that he agrees with me (or I agree with him 😉) that the ideal group size to get full collaboration is 3 students and that random groupings are important to student success! Read chapter 2 for more details on this.
An added bonus is that Liljedahl has many examples of his math tasks on his YouTube channel! These came in handy when I was trying to figure out the more advanced tasks…lol
by Kennifer M. Bay-Williams & John J. SanGiovanni
Figuring Out Fluency in Mathematics was almost my top book pick because it has so many relatable ideas that a math teacher at any point in their career can use immediately.
This book explores the concept of fluency in mathematics and offers strategies for teaching and developing fluency skills in students.
The authors explain the definition and importance of fluency, emphasizing that fluency goes beyond speed and accuracy. I was surprised to read that fluency is much more than being able to say math facts fluently.
They provide guidance on how to foster fluency development and how to support students at different grade levels and understanding.
The book provides MANY instructional strategies and activities that can be implemented to promote fluency in mathematics. It covers topics such as number sense, mental math, computational fluency, and mathematical reasoning. Sometimes books are focused on 1 or 2 grades when they give their examples or activities but this book has all grades covered.
There is something in here for all K-8 teachers. Keep reading to see copies of the notes I took while reading this book!
by Laney Sammons
When I was researching how to start guided math in my own classroom, this was the first book I read and I am glad it was this one! Guided Math outlines the essential components of guided math, including flexible grouping, meaningful math tasks, and strategic questioning techniques.
The book outlines a step-by-step framework that helps teachers organize and deliver targeted math instruction to small, flexible groups. Sammons explains various instructional strategies and approaches that can be used during guided math lessons, such as mini-lessons, math workshops, math centers, and individual conferences.
Throughout the book, Sammons gives sample lesson plans, activities, and instructional routines that teachers can adapt and implement in their classrooms immediately.
The book also addresses the role of technology in guided math instruction and suggests ways to integrate digital tools and resources to enhance student learning and engagement.
If you are thinking of implementing guided math into your math routine, I HIGHLY recommend you read this one!
by Wendy Ward Hoffer
Minds on Mathematics provides a detailed (yet easy to read) explanation of what math workshops are, as well as great strategies for putting workshops into your daily routines.
Sorry primary teachers, this one is focused on upper elementary/middle school grades.
This book provides a comprehensive framework for structuring math instruction that promotes student engagement, conceptual understanding, and mathematical thinking. Hoffer guides teachers through the process of planning, organizing, and managing a math workshop. She also emphasizes the importance of individualized instruction, small-group activities, and independent practice.
There’s more! Many practical strategies and techniques for differentiating instruction, assessing student progress, and integrating problem-solving are also included.
The book highlights the significance of fostering a positive, inclusive classroom culture, where students feel safe to take risks and share their thinking. Don’t we all want our students to take risks and participate in our lessons?!
Note Taking Pages for you!
When I am reading a new professional development book I always underline parts of the book (yes I write in my books!), flag pages, and take notes.
It can be overwhelming to take in all the new information so I created a note taking document that helps keep me focused.
I print 1 copy, double-sided and have it ready with my book and many colourful pens!
Here is a copy for you to use the next time you are reading a professional development book. I always use the 1st page and then mix it up for the 2nd page depending on my mood. Just print the ones you want and start reading!
The last book I used these pages for was Figuring Out Fluency in Mathematics. You can click on the image below to take a closer look at everything I wrote down for this book!
Have you read any of these or any other great math resources? I would love to read your thoughts on them and I am always looking for recommendations for my next reads. Leave a comment and we can start a conversation about both of these!
Here is an image to pin if you want to save this post for later!