NCTM Roundtable Supports Transition to Online Learning

August 19, 2020

NCTM Roundtable Supports Transition to Online Learning


Contact: Christine Noddin, 703.620.9840,


RESTON —August 19, 2020— The National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM) sponsored a roundtable discussion about best practices to encourage small group student discussion during online instruction in its community platform, MyNCTM. Led by Sarah Quebec Fuentes, an associate professor in mathematics education at Texas Christian University, and Theresa Wills, an assistant professor in mathematics education at George Mason University, Virginia, the roundtable, held August 12, 2020, at 4:00 p.m., focused on Quebec Fuentes’ book, S3D: Fostering and Improving Small-Group, Student-to-Student Discourse and Smith and Stein’s 5 Practices for Orchestrating Productive Mathematics Discussions, 2nd Edition. Quebec Fuentes and Wills gave guidance and tips for productive support of small-group work, classroom discussion, and how those practices can transition from face-to-face to online learning. 


“Productive small-group work affords many opportunities for student to develop a deep understanding of mathematics,” says Quebec Fuentes. “As teachers, our role is to understand what productive small-group discourse looks like, learn strategies and tools to foster and improve such discourse, and persevere in supporting our students as they become capable communicators.”  


Wills added, “When using the five practices, consider technology integration, virtual manipulatives, physical manipulatives, and shareability of representations during the anticipation stage. Breakout rooms and interactive recording spaces deliver the collaborative environment for implementing the five practices online. Model patience and persistence as you learn to use new technology tools so that students observe positive behaviors for productive struggle.”


NCTM members have access to the recording of the discussion and to the PowerPoint slides on MyNCTM.




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.