What is Cognitively Guided Instruction? Why do we do it?
Early on a Saturday morning a few weeks ago, I had a conversation with more than 200 teachers and administrators (and a few school board members) about Cognitively Guided Instruction (CGI). The conversation started when I posed the questions, “What is CGI and why do we do it?”
The response was inspiring, thought-provoking, and humbling.
Inspiring because the ideas shared highlighted the wisdom and commitment to young people.
Thought-provoking because the response pushed me to reconsider my own ideas of CGI.
Humbling because it reminded me about the power of collective work and how even in the most challenging times for education, together we can push back and work to change the status quo.
Before sharing what the group came up with, I want to explain why I began this conversation. Over the last year I have found myself needing to define or position CGI in particular ways. As I considered how I might do this, I recognized that CGI is not mine to define. CGI is not mine. It’s not even Tom Carpenter and Eliz Fennema’s. And it never has been.
Adapted from Young Children's Mathematics: Cognitively Guided Instruction in Early Childhood Education
by Thomas P. Carpenter, Megan L. Franke, Nicholas C. Johnson, Angela Chan Turrou, and Anita A. Wager
Supporting the Development of One-to-One Correspondence
Developing one-to-one correspondence occurs as children work to coordinate the counting of each object with one and only one number word. You can support the development of one-to-one correspondence by counting together with children, emphasizing matching the action of pointing, touching, or moving each object with the saying of a single number word. Or you might pose a question to the student such as, “How will you keep track of which ones you’ve counted and which ones you haven’t counted yet?” Some children benefit from putting the objects into a container as they count (such as during clean up), as it slows down their count and focuses them on one object at a time. Other children find that spreading out their collection or working with a partner is helpful. However, supporting children to use strategies to keep track of the objects counted will not immediately move children to use the one-to-one principle. Developing understanding of and the ability to use the one-to-one principle takes time and a range of experiences.
The philosophy of Cognitively Guided Instruction (CGI) has helped hundreds of thousands of teachers learn more about children’s intuitive mathematical thinking and teach math more confidently. In today’s blog, which is adapted from Thinking Mathematically, Tom Carpenter, Megan Franke, and Linda Levi talk about the value of viewing arithmetic in elementary school as an essential foundation for algebra.
The philosophy of Cognitively Guided Instruction (CGI) has helped hundreds of thousands of teachers learn more about children’s intuitive mathematical thinking and teach math more confidently. In today’s blog, which is adapted from Extending Children’s Mathematics: Fractions and Decimals, Susan Empson and Linda Levi look at the importance of helping students build an authentic understanding of fractions through solving and discussion word problems before introducing them to fractional symbols and notation.
Children’s Mathematics, Extending Children’s Mathematics, and Thinking Mathematically are essential reading for teachers who want to understand how children learn mathematics. Grounded in the Cognitively Guided Instruction (CGI) philosophy pioneered by the authors, these books have helped hundreds of thousands of teachers learn more about children’s intuitive mathematical thinking and teach math more confidently. In today's blog, co-author Linda Levi talks about the connections between the three books in the CGI family.
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