I recently was hanging out with some 6th grade teachers and, as often happens with teachers, we began talking shop. “Fractions…ugh”, said one teacher. “I’m getting into dividing fractions. I don’t know how to explain it to my kids any better than KEEP-CHANGE-FLIP”, she confessed. “I don’t teach that algorithm, because it never makes sense […]

I recently visited a 3rd grade class to share with the teacher ideas for teaching multiplication facts. She was particularly frustrated that her students were struggling with the larger facts – the sixes, sevens, eights, and nines. It was clear that while students had experience connecting multiplication with the idea of equal groups, students did […]

I remember during the era of No Child Left Behind (NCLB), the concept of benchmark assessments took center stage. It seems like everyone was suddenly talking about using benchmark assessments to ensure students from every sub-group were learning. In my school district, the teachers settled on the idea of giving three or four benchmark assessments […]

Many, many years ago I walked into the classroom of a new teacher during her prep time and found this on her chalkboard… Doing my best of embody the famous quotation of G.H. Hardy, “A mathematician, like a painter or a poet, is a maker of patterns.”, I created a table of some powers of […]

Imagine a golf coach who never plays golf. An English Literature teacher who doesn’t enjoy reading books. A lifeguard who can’t swim. Pretty absurd, right? Now imagine a math teacher who doesn’t do math. Unfortunately, this is often the case. Now I’m not talking about the math in the textbook. Of course, math teachers do […]

When I teach new mathematical concepts to my students, I always try to use some sort of visual model to make the learning easier. No duh! But what I have noticed is that over the years I have collected an odd assortment of models to teach everything without any theme to all the models. The […]

It has been a while since Maggie and I have recorded a podcast. We got busy…you know how that goes. There have been some changes…Maggie has gone back into the classroom. She is a 4th grade teacher again! This means there will be some changes to our Infinite Insights podcast. We won’t be able to […]

Recently, I have found myself vociferously advocating for more teachers to use number disks when teaching the four operations of whole numbers: addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division. Clearly my excitement for number disks has not yet rubbed off onto all the teachers I work with, because today I received the following question: Why are disks […]

We’re a math-traumatized people, Jo Boaler says (although she uses the British locution “maths-traumatized”). It’s a belief she sees confirmed in everything from students crying over long division to MRIs that reveal young brains reacting to numbers as if they were snakes or spiders. from Pocket Here is where I got this article from.

Whoa. I just read an article on the Hechinger Report that got me thinking. In the article, Deborah Loewenberg Ball shares a 1 minute 28 second long interaction between two African American female students, in which Ball identifies 20 micro-decisions the teacher present needed to make. Each decision had the power to increase or decrease the […]