You are here

The Mathematics Lesson-Planning Handbook, Grades K-2

The Mathematics Lesson-Planning Handbook, Grades K-2
Your Blueprint for Building Cohesive Lessons

NCTM stock number 15647

Additional resources:

July 2018 | 248 pages | Corwin

“This book brings together the best of Visible Learning and the teaching of mathematics. The chapters on learning intentions, success criteria, misconceptions, formative evaluation, and knowing thy impact are stunning. Rich in exemplars, grounded in research about practice, and with the right balance about the surface and deep learning in math, it's a great go-to book for all who teach mathematics.”
—John Hattie, Laureate Professor, Deputy Dean of MGSE, Director of the Melbourne Education Research Institute, Melbourne Graduate School of Education

Your blueprint to planning K-2 math lessons for maximum impact and understanding

Not sure of tomorrow morning’s lesson plan? Or maybe you feel it isn’t tailored enough for your students’ needs. What do you do? For that and more, help is here. The Mathematics Lesson-Planning Handbook, Grades K-2: Your Blueprint for Building Cohesive Lessons guides teachers step-by-step through the decision-making process of planning K-2 math lessons that are purposeful, rigorous, and coherent. 

Instructional experts Beth McCord Kobett, Ruth Harbin Miles, and Lois A. Williams streamline and deepen the lesson-planning process showing teachers how to access students' complex needs, clarify learning intentions, and select tasks that will best lead to student understanding of mathematical concepts and skills. Along the way, teachers create an individualized blueprint for planning K-2 math lessons for maximum student learning.  

The lesson-planning process guides teachers to:   

  • Identify the mathematical content, language, and social learning intentions for a lesson or unit, and connect goals to success criteria
  • Determine the purpose of a math lesson you’re planning by distinguishing between conceptual understanding, procedural fluency, and transfer
  • Select worthwhile tasks and materials that make the best use of representations, manipulatives, and other instructional tools and resources
  • Choose the format of your lesson using reasoning and number routines, games, whole-class discussion, and pairs, or small-group work
  • Anticipate student misconceptions and evaluate understanding using a variety of formative assessment techniques
  • Decide how you’ll launch your lesson, facilitate questioning, encourage productive struggle, and close your lesson

Included is a lesson-planning template and examples from kindergarten, first-, and second-grade classrooms. Chapter by chapter, the decision-making strategies empower teachers to plan math lessons strategically, to teach with intention and confidence, and to build an exceptional foundation in math for all students.  


Book at a Glance
Praise Page
Publisher’s Acknowledgments
Letter to K–2 Teachers
Letter to Elementary Principals
Letter to Mathematics Coaches
Letter to Preservice College and University Instructors
How to Use This Book
Part I: You Are the Architect of Your Classroom
Chapter 1: Surveying Your Site: Knowing Your Students
Why Is It So Important to Know Your Students?

What Do Access and Equity Really Mean?

What Is Prior Knowledge in Mathematics?

What Do Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Students Need?

What Do Students Living in Poverty Need?

What Are Learning Needs?

What Are the Common Themes?

Chapter 2: Your K–2 Blueprint: Planning Mathematics Lessons for Coherence, Rigor, and Purpose
What Is Coherence?

What Is Rigor?

What Is the Purpose of a Lesson?

What Is Conceptual Understanding?

What Is Procedural Fluency?

What Is Transfer?

How Can You Ensure that You Plan Lessons for Coherence, Rigor, and Purpose?

Lesson-Planning Template

Part II: Drafting Your K–2 Blueprint
Chapter 3: Laying Your Foundation: It Starts with Big Ideas, Essential Questions, and Standards

What Are State Standards for Mathematics?

What Are Essential Questions?

What Are Process Standards?

Building Unit Coherence

Kindergarten Snapshot: Big Ideas, Essential Questions, and Standards

First Grade Snapshot: Big Ideas, Essential Questions, and Standards

Second Grade Snapshot: Big Ideas, Essential Questions, and Standards

Under Construction

Chapter 4: Reinforcing Your Plan: Learning Intentions and Success Criteria
What Are Learning Intentions?

What Are Mathematics Learning Intentions?

What Are Language and Social Learning Intentions?

How Do You Communicate Learning Intentions with Students?

What Are Success Criteria?

How Do Learning Intentions Connect to the Success Criteria?

When Should Learning Intentions and Success Criteria Be Shared with Students?

Building Unit Coherence

Kindergarten Snapshot: Learning Intentions and Success Criteria

First Grade Snapshot: Learning Intentions and Success Criteria Decision-Making Snapshot

Second Grade Snapshot: Learning Intentions and Success Criteria

Under Construction

Chapter 5: Deciding on Purpose: Why Are You Building This Lesson?
What Is the Role of a Conceptual Understanding Lesson?

What Is Procedural Fluency, and How Does It Build from a Conceptual Understanding Lesson?

How Do You Know if You Need a Conceptual Understanding or Procedural Fluency Lesson?

How Do You Create a Transfer Lesson?

Building Unit Coherence

Kindergarten Snapshot: Lesson Purpose

First Grade Snapshot: Lesson Purpose

Second Grade Snapshot: Lesson Purpose

Under Construction

Chapter 6: Choosing Tasks: The Heart of a Lesson
Why Are Tasks Important?

What Is a Worthwhile Task?

How Do You Adapt Tasks?

What Are Some Sources for Worthwhile Tasks?

Building Unit Coherence

Kindergarten Snapshot: Task Selection

First Grade Snapshot: Task Selection

Second Grade Snapshot: Task Selection

Under Construction

Chapter 7: Choosing Materials: Representations, Manipulatives, and Other Resources.
What Is the Role of Representations in Mathematics Lessons?

What Is a Manipulative?

How Are Manipulatives Used?

What Are Other Resources?

Building Unit Coherence

Kindergarten Snapshot: Material Selection

First Grade Snapshot: Material Selection

Second Grade Snapshot: Material Selection

Second Under Construction

Chapter 8: Cementing the Cracks: Anticipating Student Thinking
What Are Misconceptions, and Where Do They Come From?

How Can You Plan to Minimize Misconceptions?

Building Unit Coherence

Kindergarten Snapshot: Student Thinking

First Grade Snapshot: Student Thinking

Second Grade Snapshot: Student Thinking

Under Construction

Chapter 9: Framing the Lesson: Formats
What Are Some Different Lesson Formats?

4-Part Lesson Plan

Game Format

Small-Group Instruction


Building Unit Coherence

Kindergarten Snapshot: Lesson Format

First Grade Snapshot: Lesson Formats

Second Grade Snapshot: Lesson Formats

Under Construction

Chapter 10: Evaluating Impact: Formative Assessment

What Is Formative Assessment?

What Are Specific Formative Assessment Techniques?



Show Me

Hinge Questions

Exit Tasks

Building Unit Coherence

Kindergarten Snapshot: Formative Assessment

First Grade Snapshot: Formative Assessment

Second Grade Snapshot: Formative Assessment

Under Construction

Part III: Pulling All the Pieces Together
Chapter 11: Planning to Launch the Lesson
What Is a Lesson Launch?

How Can You Launch a Problem-Solving Lesson?

See, Think, and Wonder Lesson Launch

Notice and Wonder® Lesson Launch

Numberless Word Problem Lesson Launch

What Kinds of Lesson Launches Focus on Mathematics Concepts?

One of These Things Is Not Like the Others

What Are Number Routine Lesson Launches?

Counting Jar

Number Paths and Number Lines

Number Talks

What Do You Anticipate Students Will Do?

Building Unit Coherence

Kindergarten Snapshot: Launch the Lesson

First Grade Snapshot: Launch the Lesson

Second Grade Snapshot: Launch the Lesson

Under Construction

Chapter 12: Planning to Facilitate the Lesson
What Is Mathematical Communication?

How Do You Facilitate Meaningful Mathematical Discourse?

How Do You Plan for and Pose Purposeful Questions?

How Do You Facilitate Productive Struggle?

How Do You Make Sure You Engage Students in the Process Standards as You Facilitate the Lesson

Building Unit Coherence

Kindergarten Snapshot: Facilitate the Lesson

First Grade Snapshot: Facilitate the Lesson

Second Grade Snapshot: Facilitate the Lesson


Under Construction

Chapter 13: Planning to Close the Lesson
Why Do You Need Closure in a Lesson?

What Are Some Different Closure Activities?

Building Unit Coherence


Under Construction

Chapter 14: Surveying Your Results: Lesson Reflection
Why Is It Important to Reflect upon Lessons?

What Kind of Reflection Cycle Supports Teacher Growth?

Appendix A: Lesson-Planning Template
Appendix B: Further Reading/Resources
Appendix C: Glossary
About the Authors


“This book is a must read for anyone who wants to challenge themselves to reexamine their math instruction. The interesting examples and challenging reflection questions make this book perfect for individual or group reading.”

Janel Frazier, Classroom Teacher
Montgomery County Public School System, Upper Marlboro, MD

“This must-have book has well thought-out lesson plans that combine rich tasks with high quality questions. I am confident that every teacher, administrator, specialist, and math supervisor needs to have a copy of this book.” 

Kathleen Williams Londeree, Math Specialist/Coach
Caroline County Schools, Virginia

“The book is a step-by-step guide for building a cohesive lesson. It is research-based and relevant to what teachers are being asked to do.”

Ann Thomas Lewis, Content Coach
Stafford County Public Schools, Fredericksburg, VA

“In the continuing quest for congruence between the written, taught, and assessed curricula, the weakest link is often the taught curriculum. The Mathematics Lesson-Planning Handbook will help all teachers strengthen the instructed curricula by developing lesson plans with coherence, purpose and rigor throughout. The Handbook is a must for teachers of all levels of experience.”

Deborah Kiger Bliss, K-12 Mathematics Coordinator, Retired
Virginia Department of Education

“The Mathematics-Lesson Planning Handbook will make planning for any mathematics class more meaningful. Reading this book will truly enable any teacher to develop organized and well prepared plan and move from the written objective to quality instructional delivery.  The many grade level examples and templates are a must-have for any classroom teacher.  I highly recommend this user - friendly resource for ALL mathematical teachers and is greatly needed as education meets the many educational challenges ahead.”

Debbie Anderson, Retired Administrator
Washington County, Virginia

“At a time when open educational resources are flooding our classrooms, The Mathematics Lesson-Planning Handbook helps brings focus and intentionality as to why we should choose one task over another. It thoughtfully lays out the smaller nuances that are most commonly overlooked and it helps bring clarity to the art of building coherence.”

Graham Fletcher, Math Specialist
Atlanta, GA

For instructors

Please contact your Academic Consultant to check inspection copy availability for your course.

Select a Purchasing Option

ISBN: 9781506387819