How often does your planning for math involve searching for the "best" problem and then thinking about how you want to teach the problem? It's safe to say this is how most of us approach(ed) lesson planning. The problem with this approach is that it is focused on how you plan to explain the problem and doesn't consider how students might think about the problem. In contrast, anticipatory planning focuses on how students might respond to a problem and uses the anticipated student thinking to develop "How?" and "Why?" questions that can push and clarify student ideas. By sequencing how and when students share their thinking with the class, teachers can facilitate a discussion about the underlying mathematical ideas using student problem solving strategies as the basis for discussion.
If you've ever tried to facilitate constructivist math learning in your classroom and fell short of your expectations, it's likely because the key factor, anticipatory planning, was missing! The templates below can help you prepare to facilitate constructivist math learning in your classroom. Grab a planning buddy and give it a try!
"A turning point for me was when we sat down and did the math together. When we chose a problem and then anticipated the different ways students would approach the problem."
- Middle school math teacher