5 Concerns for Inquiry-Based Instruction

For 14 years I have been reinventing my instructional wheel each summer to build student achievement.  I’ve used creative images and rhymes (anchors), interactive games (engagement), 3-Acts, Notice & Wonder, Front Loading, and constant review. However, I am not happy with just high scores on state exams. What I teach, too often, doesn’t stick in … More 5 Concerns for Inquiry-Based Instruction

Word Problems: when math students can’t solve them

For the first decade of my teaching career, I never saw a math textbook that didn’t relegate the “story problems” to the C section…and teachers didn’t expect many of their students to get them right. With the advent of the Common Core State Standards, though, teachers are feeling a compelling push for students to be … More Word Problems: when math students can’t solve them

Changing the Students We Have: Motivating productivity

I have not stopped thinking about this quote as I have seen and heard it several times over the past year including here.  As an algebra teacher, I feel compelled to motivate students to reach their potential because understanding math tends to have a lifetime effect in terms of confidence and workplace opportunities.  In more recent … More Changing the Students We Have: Motivating productivity

Examining Structure in Special Quadratics with Google Drawing

I have taught “difference of squares” and “perfect squares” for over ten years using various traditional instructional techniques including “compare and contrast;” but this year I tapped into Google Drawing to increase the intensity of student engagement.  I copied and pasted a group of expressions from the exploration in our CPM textbook so when my … More Examining Structure in Special Quadratics with Google Drawing

Teacher Confidence: why it’s crucial and how we get there

It took a long, long time to really feel comfortable wearing a “teacher hat.”  Getting certified after staying home with kids for almost two decades provided few clues as to how to fit into the high school culture. My supervising teacher’s answer to classroom management questions was to take students out in the hall, chew … More Teacher Confidence: why it’s crucial and how we get there

Homework as a Path to Equity

Every time I read a tweet by another educator who has given up assigning homework, I wince.  Their reasons vary from feeling demonized to feeling enlightened.  If homework is evaluated based on “completion,” I would agree we should abandon homework because of the unintended consequences.  However, thoughtfully assigned homework can pave pathways to higher levels … More Homework as a Path to Equity