Category Archives: Intellectual Need

3-Act Task: A 5th-grade lesson captured

A while back I shared a kindergarten lesson and I was really happy with the way it turned out.  The 5th-grade lesson below, not so much.  The students did great but there are definitely some things I need to improve. We recently finished up … Continue reading

Posted in 3-5, 3-Act Tasks, 6-8, Estimation, Fractions, Intellectual Need, Math Progressions, Modeling, Teacher Content | 10 Comments

The Task Graveyard

It’s where my ideas go to die.  But like the mighty phoenix, I have one idea for a task that keeps rising from the ashes. It just won’t die. If Bruce Willis was a math task, I’ve seen his face. … Continue reading

Posted in Against the Norm, Intellectual Need, Making Math Accessible, Modeling, Planning, SMPs, Teacher Content, Teaching in a Context | 7 Comments

I’m Placing a Hit on the Pseudo-Context

This robs students of everything mathematics should be… The “real world” connection The step-by-step procedure Circle the numbers you need to solve the problem The pseudo-context word problem. Lesson 19.2 infers that this unit is front-end load with procedures and formulas … Continue reading

Posted in 3-5, 3-Act Tasks, 6-8, Against the Norm, Cheese Mover, Intellectual Need, Measurement and Data, Modeling | 21 Comments

Beginning a Unit with a 3-Act Task

I’ve recently spent a lot of time visiting 3rd grade classrooms as they begin to dive into division. Here’s what I encountered on one of my first visits which was a crippler for everyone involved. Saw this today & was crushed. For … Continue reading

Posted in Cheese Mover, Intellectual Need, Making Math Accessible, Teacher Content, Who Knows? | 4 Comments

Get Your Model On: Modeling in the Elementary Grades

Dan Meyer’s work on mathematical modeling has been instrumental in shaping my own understanding.  I’m super thankful for Dan’s commitment to SMP #4 over the years. So when he recently posted that he was shifting gears, I was bummed.  It was like … Continue reading

Posted in 3-5, 3-Act Tasks, 6-8, Intellectual Need, K-2, Making Math Accessible, Modeling, Patient Problem Solving, SMPs, Teacher Content, Teaching in a Context | Tagged , , , , | 11 Comments

Perplexity Drives Productivity

I think about the question mark every time I teach a lesson.  I’ve been so carefully to get to this point.  Yet sometimes my question mark comes from a path that looks like this. The opening part of the lesson is over … Continue reading

Posted in 3-Act Tasks, Intellectual Need, Modeling, Patient Problem Solving, Planning | Tagged , , , , , | 3 Comments

The Algebrafication of Kindergarten

Counting and cardinality is critical in kindergarten. Without it, all math fails. With that being said, counting can be extremely boring which causes many students to quickly lose focus. One thing I’ve tried to do this year is identify ways to engage … Continue reading

Posted in counting, Intellectual Need, Making Math Accessible, SMPs, Strategy Development, Teacher Content | Tagged , | 3 Comments

Teaching Keywords? Forget About it!

I received an email from a principal in my district last Tuesday: Please send me info on why teachers should be careful about teaching kids to pull out keywords from word problems as a key way to define what operation to … Continue reading

Posted in Cheese Mover, Intellectual Need, Making Math Accessible, Modeling, Planning, SMPs, Strategy Development, Teacher Content, Who Knows?, Word Problems | 9 Comments

Using Ten Frames: A means to modeling math

Grinding through testing season and I found a minute to get back in the classroom. Today, I was able to make it in a kindergarten class to wrestle with something Dan Meyer mentioned during his NCSM Webinar (my world rocked @ 7 minutes and 15 seconds).  Dan said … Continue reading

Posted in Intellectual Need, Teaching in a Context | 8 Comments

Chicken or Egg? Area or Perimeter?

I took some time last night to look through 3rd grade units from all over the map.  I was amazed to see that about 95% of them suggested teaching perimeter first. Why is that? The two most common definitions 3rd … Continue reading

Posted in Against the Norm, Intellectual Need, Measurement and Data, Teacher Content | 2 Comments