I’m not sure what the official name is for this strategy, but one of my favorite ways to differentiate a problem in a whole group setting is to give students options for the numbers in the problems. It is quick, easy, and you can do this with any problem from any curriculum. I believe the first time I came across this strategy was in the CGI (Cognitively Guided Instruction) book…

Read MoreI don’t have to tell you about all the negative emotions surrounding fractions… Many students hate fractions. Some even FEAR fractions. And honestly? I know several *teachers* that dread any unit having to do with fractions too. Most of us weren’t taught fractions in a way that made sense or had any type of meaning. Some of our students were introduced to fractions in this same type of way as well. So how can we get students to love learning fractions?

I’ve recently wondered when whole group math instruction became the enemy. Somewhere along the line whole group instruction was deemed bad practice. Somehow the assumption was made that if you were teaching your students as a whole group, then you weren’t meeting the needs of all your students. I felt a lot of pressure as a young teacher (honestly, I’m not even sure who the pressure was coming from) to teach math using primarily small groups.

Read MoreRemember the gradual release model? The “I do, we do, you do” lesson plan template most of us were given at some point by professors in college or administrators during our first few years teaching? That is NOT *always* best practice for teaching students math.

How many times have you watched a student read (…skim) a word problem and then immediately start computing the answer before you have even had a chance to give directions? No matter how much we talked about the importance of taking time to understand the problem, I always have those students who just pull out the numbers, choose a random operation, and solve. So why does a word problem without numbers fix all my problems? Here’s why.

Read MoreIf we can peak students’ curiosity in our math classrooms, then we’ve got them hooked. So how can we open up our math problems to wonder and curiosity so that students are motivated and engaged in the math they are doing? Here are two of my favorite strategies for encouraging mathematical curiosity through word problems!

Read MoreIt’s no secret that students learn best when they have the ability to play with math. Manipulatives give students the opportunity to explore how numbers works and develop deep conceptual understanding of important math concepts. Let’s dive into my list of must-have math manipulatives for upper elementary classrooms by focusing on the major work for third, fourth, and fifth grade math.

Read MoreKids love to talk, did you know that? I love to just listen to them talk. The things that come out of their little mouths can be downright hilarious. If you listen close enough, you’ll also notice kids have such a unique (and sometimes surprising) perspective on everything. So how can we as teachers tap into this to improve math learning in our classroom? We do this by making math talk a regular and welcomed part of our daily routine.

Read MoreIn just a few short weeks we will launch our Upper Elementary Math Teachers facebook group and begin reading Becoming the Math Teacher You Wished You'd Had by Tracy Zager together! This book will leave you inspired, encouraged, motivated, and ready to get back in the classroom (well, after your well-deserved summer break of course) and give your students the amazing math experiences they desperately need!

Read MoreFor a while now I have wanted to create some way for math teachers, specifically those who work with 3rd-5th grade students, to connect and grow together. I wanted a place that was completely devoted to #allthingsmath where teachers could come to learn from each other and be inspired by one another. I wanted a place where math teachers could come to support each other on the hard days and celebrate the great days!

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