Monday, October 31, 2016

Top Ten Things I heard from Math Heroes while at #ohioctm16, a Math Conference! {Math Monday}

This past Thursday and Friday I had the privilege to attend our local state math conference.  This wasn't my first time to attend and it won't be my last.  This year the conference had more attendees, more sessions, big ideas, and I found myself finding great ideas shared and/or new learning in each session.  Passion fosters excitement and the presenters I spent time with were passionate, positive, and became my heroes.  This list will just touch the surface from my two days, if you would like to know more about something let me know.

Top Ten Things I heard from Math Heroes while at #ohioctm16, a Math Conference!

10. - is interactive and has relevant media to promote mathematics.  It can be personalized and is aligned to the common core.  The layout is much like Discovery Education.

9.  Mathematical Mindsets by Jo Boaler is a must read and her website has a wealth of low floor to high ceiling type problems we should be using in our classrooms.  These types of problems can be presented to the whole classroom and allow for varying levels and needs be successful.

8.  RTI doesn't mean same materials for all but watered down or taught again in smaller groups.  Tier 1 groups might get some front loading for the next lesson.   Tier 2 students might need some reteaching and a little detective work to figure out where their breakdown is for the concept being taught.  Tier 3 students need different instruction and lots of reteaching in very small groups, 1 - 3 students. 

7.  For Tier 2 students you might want to look at Cognition Based Assessments by Mike Battista to figure out the understandings your students have and need.  Mike Battista is a professor at The Ohio State University.  In each of his books, he offers an assessment and suggestions for activities based on student responses.  There is also an insightful trajectory for learning.   

5.  Zearn is a computer system that goes well with Eureka Math aka ENY.  You have to register for it but it's free and is based around a growth mindset.  These videos are about the mini lesson being taught and offers another way for students to learn via reteaching a concept, a possibility for Tier 3 students along with Do the Math by Marilyn Burns.  

6.  Engage NY was written for the state of New York and is now found with big updates in K, 2, and 6 at  They have parent components, videos, all the lessons and things needed to teach their lessons.  There are even some games included.  You have to register for an account but again this is a free resource.

5. "data can look good, but we might be teaching them shortcuts instead of learning the mathematics" from Carl Jones.  He has been a long time member of OCTM and is now a professional development coordinator with a website to check out.   He spoke a lot about mathematical mindsets too and things to make instruction better.  

4. Fact fluency is more than the basic facts.  It's subtizing, unitizing, ten frames - any visual recognition of number arrangements.  Sprints by Eureka Math were the only suggestion offered to help with fact fluency involving paper and pencil.  Games were mentioned in several sessions because they offer practice in a fun, engaging, and meaningful way.

3. "remembering is a different part of your brain than rote memorizing" in a session where Char Shryock spoke about the importance of using games and offered suggestions for hosting Family Game nights with a concept focus to help parents understand different strategies. You will want to catch her blog

2.  No more timed fluency tests came up in several sessions.  This fact was shared by Kim Sutton, "Timed math fact test are good for 17% of the learners, these students thrive on getting faster."  Jon VandeWalle found in his research; if you must do fluency test 3 seconds per problem orally and if written 5 seconds per problem.  

1.  The conference, #ohioctm17 will be in my hometown next year, Columbus Ohio.  I hope you'll consider joining us and watch the OCTM website for more information.  

Monday, October 3, 2016

Pondering Math Representations {Math Monday}


When I saw this drawing last week, I wanted to jump for joy because I was looking at an example of how a student was able to make sense of a problem.  We often encourage our early mathematicians to draw as a way to make sense of their math work.  With time and as their computation skills improve students want to dive right into working with numbers and quite often they don't understand the problem enough to make sense of what to do with those numbers.  I also think as students grow drawing is seen as something younger students do.  

I loved how E was able to connect these three numbers as one; a sum.  His drawing made me think about bar models and wonder if we tried to draw  the problem with a bit more reality could bar models make more sense.  A couple of years ago I tried to jump right into modeling and encouraging students to use bar models as a way of making sense of their math problems.  It was challenging and harder than I thought.  I knew better but the district resource made it look so easy.  I'm wondering now, if we encourage more drawing prior to introducing bar modeling would there be a deeper understanding and easier transition to using bar models as one problem solving strategy.