Exploring Teacher Noticing of Students’ Multimodal Algebraic Thinking (NSF #1942580)

This project will design and analyze a video club PD using a novel video tagging tool to support preservice teachers’ noticing and interpreting of student multimodal (verbal, gesture, action) algebraic thinking. The project will explore teacher’s multimodal noticing in the video club PD as well as in their own classrooms.

Target Audience: 
K-12 Mathematics Teachers and Teacher Educators
STEM Discipline(s): 
What Issue(s) in STEM Education is your Project Addressing?: 

Students’ success in algebra is a key factor for college admission and the potential access that a college degree offers for the future (Moses, 1995). Unfortunately, many students are not succeeding in algebra classes. Research over the past decade has shown that not only can young children think algebraically, but encouraging them to do so is beneficial to future learning of formal algebra.

In order to capitalize on this emergent algebraic thinking, however, grade 6-8 teachers of pre-algebra and algebra courses need to be able to recognize opportunities to elicit the algebraic character of arithmetic and pre-algebraic thinking during instruction. Work in this area has begun. Blanton and Kaput (2003) discuss developing teachers “algebra eyes and ears,” and in prior work I discuss developing teachers’ attention to children’s algebraic thinking. However, this work has primarily focused on children’s ideas as expressed verbally or in writing. Focusing only on verbal and written expression of ideas has limitations, especially for English learners and students who are neurodiverse.

In this project, I will investigate teachers’ attention to multimodal student algebraic thinking and design and investigate a video club PD that uses novel video annotation tools to help support teachers’ multimodal noticing.


This project will produce:

  • A framework for articulating children’s multimodally expressed algebraic resources,
  • A six-session video club PD curriculum, and
  • A model for teacher noticing to help teacher educators better support teachers in learning to identify and take up the multimodally expressed seeds of algebraic thinking in middle grades.
Janet Walkoe