Characteristics of an Exceptional Math Classroom

10 Characteristics of an Exceptional Math Classroom
Dr. Sean Akerman, PhD

If you walk through the halls of any school, you might keep your eyes peeled for exceptional classrooms, places where students and teachers are thriving. But what exactly are you looking for? This playbook is here to help you answer that question, specifically about math classrooms.

We will walk you through 10 characteristics that will signal what an exceptional classroom looks like, and what students and teachers are doing to push the boundaries of learning and success. Most of all, we will show you how to create those classrooms!

Table of Contents


  • 3 – Why Should You Read This Playbook?
  • 4 – What You’ll Learn in This Playbook?

What to Look for and How to Create It

  • 6 – Speaking in the Language of Math
  • 8 – Mistakes are Okay!
  • 10 – Making the Struggle Productive
  • 12 – People Helping People
  • 14 – Inclusive Practices
  • 16 – A Good Compass
  • 18 – A Deep Toolkit
  • 20 – A Test to Get Excited About
  • 22 – Using Technology the Right Way
  • 24 – Making the Connection


  • 27 – Achievement & Anxiety