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

Embedding Honors Math (or any other subject) within Regular High School Classes

There has been quite a discussion about the difference between regular math classes and honors on Robert Kaplinsky’s blog over the past year.  When he first posted it, I was just getting my feet wet with inquiry learning and didn’t really understand how the algebra book I was piloting was building knowledge.  Now that I get … More Embedding Honors Math (or any other subject) within Regular High School Classes

3 Challenges for Teacher-Generated Math Curricula

When the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) were initially released, there were virtually no math textbooks available to fill the need for close alignment.  Some publishers managed to continue marketing their textbooks by doing little more than placing a CCSS sticker on the front.  Teachers who recognized CCSS shifts began heroically filling the gaps by … More 3 Challenges for Teacher-Generated Math Curricula

Four challenges students need to understand to improve their learning

My students and I have had much to learn much about how we learn since I started piloting an inquiry-based-learning (IBL) algebra textbook this year.  Our context for teaching and learning is drastically different for all of us.  From my research into the science of learning, I was confident IBL would be the best improvement I … More Four challenges students need to understand to improve their learning

5 Concerns for Inquiry-Based Instruction

For 14 years I reinvented 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 the long-term…regardless … More 5 Concerns for Inquiry-Based Instruction