Productive Math Struggle

  • Title:Productive Math Struggle: A 6-Point Action Plan for Fostering Perseverance
  • Author:John J. SanGiovanni, Susie Katt, Kevin J. Dykema
  • Publication Date:April 2020
  • ISBN:9781544369464
  • Publisher:Corwin Press

Struggle is hard. Productive struggle is power.

All students face struggle, and they should—it is how they learn and grow. The teacher’s job is not to remove struggle, but rather to value and harness it, helping students develop good habits of productive struggle. But what’s missing for many educators is an action plan for how to achieve this, especially when it comes to math.

Persevering through difficult challenges to reach new learning is the core of Productive Math Struggle. When left unsupported, struggle can become unproductive and demoralizing, negatively influencing students’ mathematical identities. The authors guide teachers through six specific actions—including valuing, fostering, building, planning, supporting, and reflecting on struggle—to create a game plan for overcoming obstacles by sharing

  • Actionable steps, activities, and tools for implementation
  • Instructional tasks and vignettes representative of each grade level
  • Real-world examples showcasing classroom photos and student work samples

Revolving around the idea that math is a way of thinking and understanding, and not just the pursuit of answers and procedures, this book empowers students to embrace productive struggle to build essential skills for learning and living—both inside and outside the classroom.


Author Bio

John SanGiovanni is a mathematics supervisor in Howard County, Maryland, an adjunct professor and coordinator of the Elementary Mathematics Instructional Leader graduate program at McDaniel College, an author, and a national mathematics curriculum and professional learning consultant. John is a frequent speaker at national conferences and institutes.

Susie Katt is the K-2 Mathematics Coordinator in Lincoln, Nebraska. Susie is an author for a national mathematics curriculum. She also serves NCTM in a variety of ways which include chair of the Editorial Panel for the Teaching Children Mathematics journal, member of program committees for annual meetings and regional conferences, and speaker at NCTM institutes.

Kevin J. Dykema is an 8th grade math teacher in Mattawan, Michigan and serves on several building and district committees. He is a professional learning consultant and is a frequent speaker at national, regional, and local conferences.

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