MTLT July Issue ”From Rules That Expire to Language That Inspires”

June 19, 2020

July Issue of NCTM’s New Journal ”From Rules That Expire to Language That Inspires”



Contact: Christine Noddin, 703.620.9840,


RESTON —June 19, 2020—The June issue of Mathematics Teacher: Learning and Teaching PK–12 (MTLT), the new practitioner journal from the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM), features useful articles for every grade level, with topics that can be put into practice immediately in your classroom.


In “From Rules That Expire To Language That Inspires,” Patrice Waller and Alison Marzocchi, both assistant professors at California State University, Fullerton, extend the work of Karp and colleagues (e.g., Dougherty, Bush, and Karp 2017; Karp, Bush, and Dougherty 2014, 2015) to include language that affects student agency. Waller and Marzocchi describe three categories of language to avoid and include samples of problem language and alternative language. 


“Though we wrote this article with a face-to-face classroom in mind,” says Waller, “The ideas hold in an online setting. We are now separated from our students by screens, finding new ways to use language for creating an inclusive classroom community. Tools such as breakout rooms, VoiceThread, Padlet, and Google Classrooms can be leveraged to create equitable practices and places where students have the opportunity to showcase their individual expertise and to work collectively in the (online) classroom community.”


“Mathematics Makes Robots Roll,” is by Kyle Dunbar, a technology integration specialist in an Alexandria, Virginia middle school as well as a PhD student at Michigan State University; and Kathryn Rich, a doctoral candidate in educational technology at Michigan State University and a curriculum developer with University of Chicago STEM Education. Dunbar and Rich suggest that students who engage with authentic tasks that illustrate the purpose of the mathematics they are learning make connections between the subject matter and their everyday lives because their curiosity and interest increase.


Dunbar and Rich share that “when we return to face-to-face learning, we’ll be looking forward to seeing students interact with codable robots. It is wonderful to watch students move past their initial focus on naming the ‘cute’ robots and start to use academic language to describe what the robots are doing and explain mathematical concepts in new ways.”


Patrick Sullivan, an associate professor at Missouri State University; Stefanie Livers, an assistant professor at Missouri State University; and Whitney Evans, a middle school mathematics teacher and learning coach in Missouri, wrote “Navigating the Uncertainty of Sharing Mathematical Authority” as a result of their work with K–12 teachers from small rural and suburban public schools to support their efforts to improve the quality of their classroom discourse through professional development and coaching conversations.


Sullivan shares, “We believe that sharing mathematical authority with students is an important aspect of high-quality classroom discourse. Although there is great ‘fruit’ in having students share their thinking, it does require us to navigate unanticipated moments. In this article, we share one teacher’s journey and provide tools to help you and your colleagues navigate similar challenges in your own classrooms.”


Other articles of interest in this issue include these:


“Dominoes: Promoting Units Construction and Coordination” by Beth L. MacDonald, Diana L. Moss, and Jessica H. Hunt

“Fact Strategy Instruction + Meaningful Discourse = Student Understanding” by Deborah M. Thompson and A. Susan Gay

“Hands-on Conics Worked for Me” by L. Jeneva Clark and Jonathan M. Clark

“Build a Bridge: Provide Access to Grade-Level Content for All Students” by LauraMarie K. Coleman




Dougherty, Barbara J., Sarah B. Bush, and Karen S. Karp. 2017. “Circumventing High School Rules That Expire.” Mathematics Teacher 111, no. 2 (October): 134–39.

Karp, Karen S., Sarah B. Bush, and Barbara J. Dougherty. 2015. “12 Math Rules That Expire in the Middle Grades.” Mathematics Teaching in the Middle School 21, no. 4 (November): 208–15. 

Karp, Karen S., Sarah B. Bush, and Barbara J. Dougherty. 2014. “13 Rules That Expire.” Teaching Children Mathematics 21, no. 1 (August): 18–25.


NCTM encourages those interested in contributing to the publication to review the writing guidelines.




The National Council of Teachers of Mathematics is the public voice of mathematics education, supporting teachers to ensure equitable mathematics learning of the highest quality for each and every student through vision, leadership, professional development and research. With 40,000 members and more than 200 Affiliates, it is the world’s largest organization dedicated to improving mathematics education in prekindergarten through grade 12. NCTM is dedicated to ongoing dialogue and constructive discussion with all stakeholders about what is best for students and envisions a world where everyone is enthused about mathematics, sees the value and beauty of mathematics, and is empowered by the opportunities mathematics affords.