Sunday, December 13, 2015

Fraction Fix It

Great activity for working with fractions where all students can have success.  Good to practice their reasoning and communication in math.

Fix It - An Activity for ordering fractions. - Marilyn Burns

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Scaffolding that is just right

Good article modeling how the way we scaffold lessons need  to include productive struggle.

Goldilocks Discourse - math scaffolding that's just right - by Rachel Dale and Jimmy Scherrer

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Using interactive (student, not a device) number lines

Great visual tool for students to gain a greater understanding of the number line.

Using interactive number lines

Friday, October 9, 2015

Getting parents to talk math with their kids

Great story from NPR on why it is powerful for parents to talk with kids about math.  Pass it on to all the parents in your lives.

Where the Wild Fractions Are: The Power of a Bedtime (Math) Story

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Math and Children's Literature

I know you all know this but this is just a reminder. This is a good idea for a "flex day" activity or for a center.

Using children's literature to teach math

Thursday, September 10, 2015

How to Assign Student Content to your Connect Ed Account

Steps 4 & 5- if you scroll down the screen, you should see all the students you have already put in your class.  You can then click on the topmost check box to check ALL your students.

Continue to step 6.

Friday, September 4, 2015

Thinking about trying an open number line . . .

Check out how Marilyn Burns tells about it.

A short read from Marilyn Burns on how to discuss the Math Practice - Constructing Viable Arguments . . .

Construct Viable Arguments - how to share with students

Need to change a lesson day on your planner?

If you need to change a lesson day on your planner:
You have four options in the drop down "cog" in the upper right hand corner of the date on the planner.  

Extend Lesson - this will move ALL following lessons forward
Change to Non-Teaching Day - this will move ALL following lessons forward
Move lesson forward - this will STACK multiple lessons on the next day
Move lesson backward - this will STACK multiple lessons on the previous day

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Four Strikes and You're Out!

Fantastic game to play at any grade level to encourage communication, number sense, critical thinking, and interest.

Thanks, again, to Marilyn Burns.

Sunday, July 26, 2015

EM 4 Technology Notes

You may find these notes helpful as you work with the online aspect of EM 4.

EM 4 Technology Notes

Saturday, July 4, 2015

Need an engaging math activity for the first few days of school?

This will get students engaged and thinking mathematically in your classroom.  It is a great set up for group work that encourages asking questions, finding ways to represent thinking, and is accessible to all. What a great way to start the year!

The 1-10 Card Investigation

We are always on show . . .

“The questions we ask in class teach students how to ask questions. How we pursue dialogue models reflectiveness. Students watch who we call on, or don’t, and learn about fairness. We teach them when and how to interrupt by when and how we interrupt. We teach them how to listen by how carefully we listen. If they see us admitting that we don’t know something, we encourage intellectual honesty as well as humility. We are always modeling. And students are always watching.”
            Barry Schwartz (ibid.)

Sunday, June 7, 2015

3 Steps to Mastering Multiplication

Great article on multiplication facts - reiterating that conceptual understanding and strategies are key to mastering facts.

Three Steps to Mastering Multiplication Facts

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Monday, May 25, 2015

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

EM 4 - Videos of changes in updated program

Great videos that highlight changes in math program. It is a good idea to watch them all to get a big picture of the changes.  These will be helpful to know as you receive students from prior grade levels. K video is the longest (@12 min), but most are @ 5 minutes.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Want to find a cool new useful and effective app or website?? Check out Common Sense - Graphite

Have you checked out Common Sense Media's - Graphite?

What is Graphite: clearinghouse for apps, websites and console and pc games for education.

Why was Graphite created? There was:
  • no centralized marketplace
  • no standard ratings system
  • a need to reduce time spent by teachers
  • no clearinghouse by teachers for teachers 
Take a look and check out:
Review and Ratings - you can see reviews and rating of material.  You can filter by type of device, subject, grade and price.

Top Picks - scroll down on left to isolate content.

Common Core Explorer - can search by grade and standard.

Teacher Center - how to videos, webinars, lesson flows, get certified (you can earn up $170 in an itunes gift card).

Boards - pre-created boards from other teachers (similar to Pinterest, I believe - I'm not a big Pinterest user)

Lesson Flow- customized framework to integrate tech tools. Some are good, others not so much.

It is best to create a free account to get full access. It is free, easy and I have found they don't send any emails (yay!).


Love this game for number sense and math facts!

I recently attended a national math conference where I was reminded once again of how important it is to know not just math facts, but to have the number sense that goes along with it.  We want our kids to be able to compose and decompose (put together and take apart) numbers fluently.  I was introduced to a fantastic online or app game called Kakooma created by Greg Tang. It is available online here or search for Kakooma on your phone apps (available on apple and android). You have options of Addition, Times, Addition Pro, Time Pro, Legacy and Negative Numbers. Best of all, they are free and great for all ages.

Thursday, April 2, 2015

53 Ways to Check Understanding

Edutopia put out this list of 53 Ways to check for understanding.  They are applicable across the curriculum.

Some of my favorites are:

#3 - The 411 - Describe the author’s objective. Or better yet, the teacher's objective of the lesson.

#35. Tagxedo - What are key words that express the main ideas (or concepts)? Be ready to discuss and explain.

#53. Misconception Check - Given a common misconception about a topic, students explain why they agree or disagree with it.

53 Ways to Check for Understanding

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Using the Empty Number Line as a Mental Math Teaching Strategy

By now, you know how much I love these open/empty number lines! Here is an article that explains the value of empty number lines and provides lessons to get you started using them in your classroom or small group.

Using the Empty Number Line as a Mental Math Teaching Strategy

Word Problems from Marilyn Burns

This is a good, short article from math guru, Marilyn Burns, about word problems.  She references a book that I have here, Good Questions for Math Teaching: Why Ask Them and What to Ask, if you want to borrow it.

Marilyn Burns - Word Problems

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

"Mixing in Math" at home

Looking for more ways to integrate math into your home and into your child’s daily life?  Check out Mixing in Math, a great resource for simple, research based activities to do at home.  One simple suggestion is to take the date of the month and find ways to make that number.  Ex. March 6.  Depending on the age of your child (and this is great activity for everyone in the family), you could get answers such as 3 + 1, (9 x 6) - (8 x 6), or (96 ÷ 8) - 6. The possibilities are endless.  This activity also taps into a student’s fluency with numbers.  Students can begin with using the math facts to reach the number but then use their fluency of numbers to produce more solutions. Fluency is having the flexibility in knowing and understanding how to do the math (at whatever level you are working at) and finding efficient and effective methods to do so.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

"Good Questions for Math Teaching. Why Ask Them and What to Ask, Grades K-6" by Peter Sullivan and Pat Lilburn

Book cover
What a great resource!  This book is teacher friendly and super easy to use as a quick go-to resource. The first 15 pages are dedicated to discussing what Good Questions are, how to create them and how to use them. The rest of the book is dedicated to providing Good Questions in each of the 6 topic areas (money, fractions, decimals, place value, counting and ordering and operations) by grades bands (K-2, 3-4, 5-6).

excerpt from p. 34, Place Value for grades 3-4
excerpt from p. 40, Operations for grades K-2

Friday, February 20, 2015

Array model for multiplication

Students confused by the multiplication grid?  Doesn't make sense to them? Try this activity to introduce the idea of the multiplication grid before you give them one with the numbers.  This activity from Donna Boucher provides a visual of the array model of multiplication.

Donna Boucher,

Get the kids perspective on math fact practice

Bored with the same old math fact practice . . . frustrated the students still don't know their facts . . . try this!

By the end of grade 3, according to the Common Core, students should be fluent with their math facts.

  • K- add/subtract within 5
  • 1st - add/subtract within 10
  • 2nd - add/subtract within 20 (know single-digit sums from memory)
  • 3rd - multiply/divide within 100 (know single-digit products from memory)
We know from experience, however, that not all students are as fluent as they should be.  They need to practice their facts (after you have taught them to understand the meaning behind the symbols and strategies to solve unknown problems).  Here is an idea to help . . . 

Homework assignment - (thanks Dan Hupp for this idea). Have each student find a way they like to practice their facts and present this to the class.  The activity can be focused on a certain strategy (doubles facts, multiples of 3, etc) or on general fact practice. It can be a card game, practice sheets, interactive web based game, orally with an adult, etc,  but it must be a way the student enjoys practicing and is proving effective for that child.  Students can then present to the class (choose one or two per day to share) or in a small group.


  • Students will practice communicating about strategies used in the activity.
  • Students fact fluency will increase.
  • This will increase the variety of resources for your students to practice their facts.  Variety is the spice of life!

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Should We Stop Making Kids Memorize Times Tables?

Interesting article by Jill Barshay from the Hechinger Report. Should We Stop Making Kids Memorize Times Tables?

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Enrichment resources

AIG~IRP - Public Schools of North Carolina.  Activities for gifted and talented students, listed by grade level and content standard.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Multiplication Fact Practice Printables

Adaptable multiplication charts for practice.  You can print multiplication tables to be complete, blank multiplication tables, partially completed multiplication tables, etc

Sunday, January 25, 2015

How is math different now?

Dr. Raj Shah explains why math is taught differently than it was in the past and helps address parents' misconceptions about the "new math".
Dr. Shah is the owner and founder of Math Plus Academy ( an academic enrichment program with two locations in Columbus, Ohio. Math Plus Academy offers class in math, robotics, programming and chess for kids from KG to 9th grade. Math Plus Academy is on a mission to show kids the joy of mathematics and science.

Why is Math Different Now from raj shah on Vimeo.
Dr. Raj Shah explains why math is taught differently than it was in the past and helps address parents' misconceptions about the "new math".

Dr. Shah is the owner and founder of Math Plus Academy ( an academic enrichment program with two locations in Columbus, Ohio. Math Plus Academy offers class in math, robotics, programming and chess for kids from KG to 9th grade. Math Plus Academy is on a mission to show kids the joy of mathematics and science.

"Putting the Practices into Action; Implementing the Common Core Standards for Mathematical Practice, K-8" by Susan O'Connell and John SanGiovanni

 Putting the Practices into Action; Implementing the Common Core Standards for Mathematical Practice, K-8 by Susan O'Connell and John San Giovanni. - Love this book. Concise and to the point. Provides good activities that you can use in your classroom easily.

Mathematical Practice #1 - Make Sense of Problems and Persevere in Solving Them-overview and activities

Geometric Solids Interactive Tool

Geometric Solids Interactive Tool - great tool to model 3 dimensional shapes.  You can view shape as a solid or a net.

Interactive Pan Balance

Interactive Pan Balance - great way to show equivalencies.

Pan Balance - Shapes. Drag and drop shapes to make the scale balance.  Sets up a way to model the standard, "Understand the meaning of the equal sign" (grade 1 standard).

Pan Balance - Numbers. Use this tool to strengthen understanding and computation of numerical expressions and equality

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Create a Graph

Want to create a graph to project? Want to put the data you gathered durng sign in time on a graph? 

Check out this online graphing tool:

Saturday, January 10, 2015