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Common Denominators

Cultivating Engagement and Belonging in Secondary Mathematics

Edited by: Cathy Seeley, Jennifer Bay-Williams

By: Jennifer A. Lenhardt

Common Denominators is a collection of stories braided together with research-informed strategies and tools,” writes author Jennifer A. Lenhardt. Make sense of student engagement and belonging by using mathematics concepts that illustrate our common humanity and illuminate a clear, sustainable path for honoring and meeting all students’ needs.

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Reengage students in mathematics by creating spaces where all students belong

Engage students in learning mathematics while cultivating a sense of belonging. This helpful guide for secondary mathematics teachers shows you how to shape equitable classrooms by evaluating beliefs and practices that keep students and teachers stuck. Research-backed strategies and personal stories illustrate effective ways to resolve unproductive power dynamics, promote emotional literacy, and create a classroom environment conducive to optimal learning.

This book will help secondary mathematics teachers:

  • Develop strategies to discern the reasons students are struggling with mathematics
  • Learn sustainable methods for perceiving unasked questions and target solutions focused on underlying needs
  • Navigate challenging classroom behavior
  • Cultivate a supportive classroom environment and reframe zero-sum interactions with students
  • Evaluate traditional grading and assessments and reform current practices to align with research-based best practice and students’ best interests

Related Topics

Classroom Management & BehaviorMathematicsStudent Engagement


Additional Information

Product Code: BKG179, EKF723

ISBN: 9781960574343

Published By: Solution Tree

"A gifted storyteller, Lenhardt shares stories of students and teachers from the mathematics classroom that are authentic, relatable and clearly grounded in her experience as a middle-level math intervention teacher. Lenhardt digs deeply into some of the common things we hear from our students and what we say to one another that stand as obstacles to students’ engagement and sense of belonging in mathematics—prerequisites for equitable classrooms and academic success. By leveraging analogies and weaving in the research literature, Lenhardt outlines practices, structures, strategies and tools that support middle and high school teachers in building their understanding of the importance of engagement and belonging. Ultimately, Lenhardt reminds us that we teach people mathematics—human beings who need a sense of belonging to believe in themselves and experience success in mathematics. In our increasingly contentious society this message has never been more important. Common Denominators is a must read for anyone committed to creating environments that promote the success of each and every student in mathematics."

Matt Larson, past president, National Council of Teachers of Mathematics

"Amazingly thought-provoking and written from a wide relevant scope, Common Denominators: Cultivating Engagement and Belonging in Secondary Mathematics begs all the right questions of a modern mathematical classroom, both of teachers and students alike. The part-whole model of what each student carries with them into a math classroom drives their success or failure. Ms. Lenhardt effectively explores empathetic paths educators can choose to cultivate trust and a sense of community. Mathematical defeatism and a low sense of belonging, if set in at an early developing age, will reach far into the secondary level for today’s students. Teachers must reach students’ hearts first if they aspire to open their minds to believing that they can find success with math. PLCs should read this as a team to reflect upon their approach with connecting students to their mathematical content!"

Rebecca Fausett

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