Category Archives: Strategy Development

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

Posted in 3-5, Estimation, Fractions, Making Math Accessible, Math Tools, Number Sense, SMPs, Strategy Development | Tagged , , | 6 Comments

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

Posted in Fractions, Making Math Accessible, Math Tools, Strategy Development, Teacher Content, Who Knows? | 2 Comments

Undoing Concrete Models

Students can create models that represent their understanding, but can they undo models that explain the reasoning of others?  It was time to find out.  I showed this picture to a 5th grade class and asked them to write an equation … Continue reading

Posted in 3-5, 6-8, Cheese Mover, Estimation, Math Tools, Modeling, Number Sense, Strategy Development | 5 Comments

Subitizing to Foster Multiplicative Thinking

Learning basic facts through tricks or a mnemonic song lead students down a path of memorization, not understanding.  I previously discussed the idea of conceptual development here.  When students practice their multiplication facts, they’re expected to move from concrete to abstract … Continue reading

Posted in 3-5, 6-8, Estimation, Fact Fluency, Games, Math Tools, Number Sense, Strategy Development | 13 Comments

Take a Math Trick and Make it Bleed

I hate math tricks and avoid them at all costs. Tina Cardone and many members of #MTBOS are huge advocates of conceptual learning which is how we became blessed with this gem. There’s no denying that students love tricks, especially the … Continue reading

Posted in 3-5, 6-8, Cheese Mover, Estimation, Fact Fluency, Math Tools, Number Sense, Strategy Development, Teacher Content | 2 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

Pulling the Plug on a Lesson (The Do-Over)

I returned to the class where I sucked more than Maggie Simpson.  I wrote about it here. The highlights from yesterday’s do-over: For the most part it went way better and the additional pieces I created to scaffold the lesson helped out. Some … Continue reading

Posted in Making Math Accessible, Strategy Development, Teaching in a Context | 10 Comments

From Memory and Memorization: There IS a Difference

Question: If you memorize your basic math facts have you learned them? The term from memory is used twice in the K-5 math standards (here & here) and they continue to be the most misunderstood words I encounter each day.  The term “from memory” does not suggest that … Continue reading

Posted in Fact Fluency, Making Math Accessible, Strategy Development, Teacher Content | Tagged , , , , , , | 8 Comments

Bottoms Up to Conceptually Understanding Numbers

The concept of 10 more/less is a beast in the primary grades.  Last week I realized that I’ve been feeding the monster that I’m continually trying to defeat. Almost every day, in every K-2 classroom across the United States students … Continue reading

Posted in Against the Norm, Making Math Accessible, Math Tools, Strategy Development, Teacher Content | 28 Comments