# Category Archives: Making Math Accessible

## The Progression of Multiplication

There’s a lot happening in elementary mathematics and it’s really tough for teachers to keep up with it all…let alone parents and administrators. I keep reminding myself that the turtle won the race. It’s my hope that in creating and … Continue reading

## 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

## More Bang for your Buck: The Power of the Estimation Station

Time IS NOT on our side! In a 1st grade planning session I was asked,”How do we fit it all in?” I loved this question because it asked for a solution to problem we know exists. We collectively tackled this question … Continue reading

## 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

## When Student Thinking Hits the Wall: VNPS

First week back to school and I was chomping at the bit to begin working on my #1TMCthing. My quick backstory about Vertical-Non-Permanent-Surfaces (aka VNPS) I first found out about VNPS on Nathan Kraft’s blog which referred me to Alex Overwijk’s … Continue reading

## The Manipulative Whisperers: The model tells a story

If you listen carefully you will hear them. They sit motionless in every classroom, on top of desks, waiting to tell a story. Without the story they are nothing. What’s most difficult is that you can’t speak for them because the … Continue reading

## A number line, number string, and Number Talk walk into a class…

As teachers and students ramp up for testing I was invited to visit a 5th grade class and asked to focus on fractions. Before the lesson, the teacher and I discussed the importance of a number line, which was an extension of … Continue reading

## Difficult Tasks Allow Misconceptions to Shine

Last week I was reminded why I love being a teacher. I’m currently throwing down a PL gauntlet in my district for all our elementary and middle school teachers. For each grade level I’ve focused on 1 or 2 of the big … Continue reading

## 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

## 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