# Category: BlogPosts

## Sorting decimals with ACTUAL understanding

The other day I was in a class doing a demonstration on what a lesson looks like in the style of Building Thinking Classrooms. The concept we wanted students to learn was sorting decimals. Here was the task… At first, we asked students to simply sort the decimals from least to greatest in order to […]

## The Four Principles of Adult Learning

Years ago I was invited by my district office to leave my classroom of 26 years to become an instructional coach serving 300 K-5 teachers as they transitioned to Common Core. Up to that point I was happily and successfully teaching math to middle school students. I also coached the golf team and was one […]

## Teaching Through Problem-Solving

The report, Adding It Up: Helping Children Learn Mathematics, begins with a strong statement, “All young Americans must learn to think mathematically, and they must think mathematically to learn.” Adding It Up breaks down what it means to think mathematically into several strands of proficiency. These abilities are described as five interwoven and interdependent strands. The […]

## Timed math activities: Walking or Sprinting?

While perusing the What Works Clearinghouse (WWC) website to learn about – go figure – what works for improving math instruction, I stumbled upon the gem of a document called Assisting Students Struggling with Mathematics: Intervention in the Elementary Grades. You can download the document here. The name of the document is unfortunate because the title suggests it is […]

## What to look for in online math fluency apps

The other day I received a text from a school district I serve. It read, “On a scale of 1-10, how important is math fact fluency?” My answer:  11 In a follow-up text, they asked for my thoughts on fluency instruction, fluency practice, and whether there are any online apps to support the development of […]

## What is MKT and why do we want it?

I recently had two exhilarating conversations with teachers I work with: one with high school teachers and the other with second grade teachers. First the high school conversation: I posted this problem on the board and asked the teachers to solve it on their own before sharing their thinking with the others. A few moments […]

## Math Anxiety, Parents, and Children

There is substantial evidence that throughout the school years children benefit when parents are involved in their learning. What more could a school want than parents who are actively involved in supporting their children at home with their math homework? Well…it turns out the answer to that question is a bit more tricky that you […]

## Narrow door or Wide door

Recently I saw this post and it really got me thinking about the idea of everyone being a math person.   If we are going to believe that EVERYONE can be a math person, we must also consider clarifying some things… Tradition has it that the phrase “Let no one ignorant of geometry enter” was […]

## Fractions are nutria

I’ll bet you are wondering two things: What does the title mean? What the heck is a nutria? Today I did a demonstration with a wonderful 6th grade class. We were comparing and ordering rational numbers. I grabbed this lesson from Open Up Resources. (It is an amazing free curriculum, but you might need to […]

## Give Students a Moment to Be Mathematicians

Recently I was asked why it is important for students to experience productive struggle during a math lesson. This is a very fair question, since historically the role of math teacher has been to explain math concepts so clearly that students can’t help but understand. Why would we ever want to intentionally cause students to […]