NCTM – San Francisco

Math with Intent:The Power of Intentional Instruction Strategies

Stuart Murphy

Visual Learning Strategist and author

Boston MA

“Early childhood educators must establish specific goals to assure that their students gain the foundational mathematical knowledge and skills they require to succeed. This session will focus on the practice of intentional instruction, teacher- and child – driven learning opportunities, modelling thinking and behaviours, and visual learning strategies. “

“I thought all instruction was intentional”

S Murphy is the author of

  • Math Start – storied with maths concepts
  • I see I Learn – social emotional skills Pearson Education
  • enVisionMATH
  • Prentice Hall High School Math digits
  • I SEE I LEARN at school

Visual Leraning , Project Based Learning, Literacy in Maths, Principals in Action, STEM to STEAM

Ann Epstein – The Intentional Teacher 2007  Choosing the best strategies for young children’s learning.


“To be intentional is to act purposefully with a goal in mind and plan for accomplishing it intentional teaching is not an accident” 

“Intentional teachers use their knowledge, judgments and expertise to organise learning experiences for children ”

5 Step Framework – Ann Epstein

  1. Establish purpose
  2. Model thinking
  3. Guide student thinking by the use of questions, prompts and cues
  4. Provide learning tasks for small group work and practice
  5. Provide independent assignments that require students to apply what they have learnt.

Intentional learning in Problem Based Learning

Key elements of PBL-

  • a challenging problem or quest
  • sustained inquiry
  • authentic
  • student voice and choice
  • reflection
  • critique and revision
  • public product

Project by Goodnoe Elementary school, Counici Rock  Newtown PA

Book – Bug Dance and using Beebots to do the bug danceIMG_9971

demonstrates all the 5 Step Framework

  1. program the beebot
  2. do the dance
  3. paperwork
  4. try it out
  5. talk about it – showed others at school and home


Child Guided Instruction

Experiential. Children’s interests. Play. Exploration. Questions

But : Strategic teacher support .Suggestions Questions. Discussion

Adult Guided Instruction 

Planned.  Goal-oriented. Lesson-oriented. Delivered. Teacher – shaped.

But: Children’s engagement and input. Questions.  Discussions.

The Bird Project  by a Year 4  using the 5 Step Framework



Additional support  for Intentional Teaching

Australian Society of Evidence Based Teaching

Principals of Actions

  • What are teachers doing?
  • What are students doing?
  • Unproductive beliefs
  • productive beliefs

4 Games X 5 Ways = 20 Differentiated Activities

Jane and John Felling and Nancy Paulson

Edmonton, Alberta. Canada

Box Cars and One Eyed Jacks

Flipping out – cards and dice game

Horse Race ( make a board to be the race track 6×6 squares)  – data /graph the results

Reach for the Top – 2 dot dice and number dice to 9 – multiplication or division  9  3  2

9 divide 3 – 2

9 – 3 x 2

9 x 2 divide 3

just like shut the box

K-2 Reach the Top – roll trap reveal  write the numeral or word

plus 1 -roll add 1 and write in column



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