The Mathematics Coaching Handbook: Working with K-8 Teachers to Improve Instruction, 2nd Edition (Paperback) book cover

The Mathematics Coaching Handbook

Working with K-8 Teachers to Improve Instruction, 2nd Edition

By Pia M. Hansen


156 pages | 25 B/W Illus.

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Learn how you can work more effectively with teachers in your role as a math coach or department chair. Coaching can be a rewarding experience both personally and professionally, but it also requires taking risks, being up-to-date on the latest research, implementing best practices, and managing relationships. In this practical book for grades K-8, you’ll gain helpful insight on being an effective mentor, coach, and colleague to your math teachers. You’ll find out how to:

  • Develop relationships with your teachers through one-to-one collaboration;
  • Establish teacher-teams to meet goals effectively;
  • Improve student achievement by implementing best practices for math education;
  • Overcome common challenges faced by coaches and teacher-leaders;
  • And more!

This updated second edition contains new information on empowering teachers to tackle the key shifts of the Common Core. It also offers updated advice on ways to conduct professional development with teachers such as through online chats and book studies. The book’s appendices offer additional resources for math coaches, including rubrics, conference guides, and tools for classroom observations.


"The book is so artfully and fluently written that it is a very quick read, with just enough substance in each chapter to give a reader a thorough understanding of the main ideas. This is an excellent resource that should be required reading for all aspiring, beginning, and current math content coaches and the administrators with whom they work." --Elizabeth Simpson, Instructional Math Coach, The Lamphere Schools, Madison Heights, MI

"I am the leader of the math department at my school, which means that I am in charge of almost 20 teachers within the department, so the section on communication strategies was important to me. Without effective communication, departments and schools can fall apart easily. My principal also comes to me often to handle conflict within my department. The section on conflict resolution was helpful in reminding me how to handle such incidents. The Table of Contents also makes it very easy to find a topic and read up on it very quickly. I like how each chapter is broken down the way it is." --Rebecca Thompson, Math Department Chair, Tomahawk Creek Middle School, Midlothian, VA

Table of Contents

  1. Preface

    1. Examining the Role of a Math Content Coach

    Defining the "Math Content Coach" Position

    Coaches as Leaders in a Professional Learning Community

    School, Classroom, and Student Factors

    Personal and Professional Qualifications of Math Content Coaches

    Final Thoughts □□

    2. Preparing Yourself

    Effective Leadership

    Roles, Responsibilities, and Goals

    Setting Goals for The Year

    Scheduling Time

    Communication Strategies .

    Dealing with Conflict

    Final Thoughts

    3. Collaborating with Administrators

    Meeting with the Principal

    Personalities and Possibilities

    Dialogue and Documentation

    Gathering Data to Drive Instructional Practices

    Observing Coaches in Action

    Taking Part in The Practice

    Staying Out of The Middle Position

    Owning Up to Mistakes and Mishaps

    Final Thoughts

    4. One-to-One Collaboration

    Beginning With a Positive Relationship

    A Resource Relationship

    A Modeling Relationship

    A Collaborative Relationship

    Inquiry Continuum

    Planning a Pre-Conference

    Guidelines for Classroom Observations

    Using Observation Forms

    Planning For the Post-Conference

    Getting Started On a One-To-One Collaboration

    Everyone Participates!

    Planning for Coaching Cycles .

    Final Thoughts

    5. Understanding Group Work

    Developing Collaborative Teams

    Creating Agendas

    Running Meetings Effectively

    Working with Other Teacher Leaders

    Dealing with Resistance to Change

    Monitoring Group Work

    Choosing a Fractal Experience

    Final Thoughts

    6. Working with Groups

    Presenting to the Whole Staff

    Using PowerPoints

    Suggestions for Whole Group Collaboration During the Year

    Implementing a New Curriculum

    Planning Professional Development with Outside Consultants

    Working with Small Groups

    Making Time for Small Group Work

    Utilizing Additional Times

    District Curriculum and Assessment Work

    Final Thoughts

    7. Structures for Examining Teacher Practice

    Looking at Student Work

    Using Lesson Study

    Using Action Research

    Examining Cognitive Demand

    Using Video Clips for Staff Development

    Walk-through Observations

    Planning for Peer Observations

    Getting Book Studies Started

    Final Thoughts

    8. Conquering Challenges, Evaluating and Celebrating Success

    The Challenge of Empowering Others

    The Challenge of Using Manipulatives

    The Challenge of Cooperative Group Work

    The Challenge of Working with Difficult Teachers

    When to Facilitate, Coach, or Become the Expert

    Reflection and Advocacy

    Evaluating Effort and Impact

    Seeking Encouragers

    Celebrating Success

    Final Comments



    Appendix 1: The CCSS for Mathematical Practice

    Appendix 2: The Common Core State Standards: Operations and Algebraic Thinking

    Appendix 3: The Common Core State Standards: Number and Operations: Fractions

    Appendix 4: Instructional Strategies

    Appendix 5: Pre-Conference Guide

    Appendix 6: Classroom Look-Fors

    Appendix 7: Classroom Observation Form

    Appendix 8: Post-Conference Guide

    Appendix 9: Log for Working with Staff

    Appendix 10: Staff Development Feedback Form

    Appendix 11: Common Core State Standards Second Grade Curriculum Map

    Appendix 12: Holistic Mathematics Rubric

    Appendix 13: Reflections on Mathematics Teaching and Learning

    Appendix 14: Evaluating Coaching Progress

About the Author

Pia M. Hansen has been a classroom teacher for twenty-seven years. Currently, she is the director of Professional Development for the Math Learning Center. She is also co-author of Performance Tasks and Rubrics for Early Elementary Mathematics, Second Edition with Charlotte Danielson.

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
EDUCATION / Teaching Methods & Materials / General