Today's math teachers have a lot to balance. From following the Standards for Mathematical Practice, to incorporating real-life application into math problems, to finding resources that are flexible enough to meet a range of students' needs.
Cathy Fosnot's Contexts for Learning Mathematics is a rigorous K-6 classroom resource that uses a workshop environment to bring the Standards for Mathematical Practice to life. Rich, authentic contexts provide a backdrop for fostering the use of mathematical models as thinking tools, tenacious problem solving, and the reading and writing of mathematical arguments and justifications to ensure the development of a positive growth mindset.
In the following video, Cathy Fosnot describes how modeling the problem in a way that provides applicable context to the children's own life is critical to helping them understand mathematical concepts.
Catherine Twomey Fosnot is the Founding Director of Mathematics in the City and former Professor of Education at The City College of New York. She has twice received the "best writing" award from AERA's Constructivist SIG and she was the recipient of the "young scholar" award by Educational Communication and Technology Journal. She is the lead author of the Contexts for Learning Mathematics series as well as the Young Mathematicians at Work series.