# Category Archives: Patient Problem Solving

## 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

## 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

## More than one way to skin a task!

I tried “the Big Pad” with a 4th grade class and my anticipation of possible solutions was way off!!! I mean, c’mon Graham, think outside the box. Our students attacked this problem in more ways than a charter bus filled with senior citizens attacks an … Continue reading

## Undressing Tables, Naked Numbers and Modeling

I had the 2nd grade names and the information I needed, so I created this table and asked the students WDYN? Immediately students recognized the names of their 5 classmates and the perplexity session began! Lots of different ideas and “noticings” were floating … Continue reading

## A Thief in Teacher’s Clothes

I’ve stolen so many great ideas from the #mtbos and I have no idea what “teacher clothes” look like, but I know what educational awesomeness looks like…and it has inspired me over the past 2 years. If imitation is the sincerest form … Continue reading

## Let the Good Struggle Begin (Georgia’s K-12 CCSS Math Units)

These are really exciting times to be a math educator in Georgia. In March, a group of K-12 educators came together to Be Less Helpful and create more Open Middle tasks. Over the past 3 months we hunkered down in front … Continue reading

## Purposeful Numbers: Accessing Complex Tasks in Elementary School

When was the last time your students wanted to forego lunch so they could continue working through a task? When was the last time your students “high-fived” during math class? Unfortunately, timed tests and the majority of elementary math curriculums do … Continue reading

## Area: Keeping the Context Real and Making Math Accessible

Our 3rd grade team has been working on area the past few days. This team of teachers is awesome to work with because (A.) they put up with me and (B.) their willingness to try “new ideas” and push themselves as educators. … Continue reading