Deep Passion.Great Teaching. IGNITED

Teaching Students to Use Appropriate Tools Strategically

M. Williams Classroom 11.21.13 004

Last school year I attempted to create a toolbox of strategies for addition and subtraction. These strategies were based on Sherry Parrish’s Number Talks book. I thought that this would very beneficial to my students because they were struggling with choosing which math tool or strategy to use with various word problems.  I used a pocket file folders and taped them to the walls in my classroom so when the … Read More →

Implementing Response to Intervention in Your Classroom


As the new school year quickly approaches I have begun to think about the students that I will teach this school year. Last school year I had several students that missed the passing standard by 2-10 points. Needless to say, when I saw their test scores I was heartbroken because in the back of my mind I knew that if these students had interventions in place and were progress monitored … Read More →

Creating an Active Literacy Classroom


Active literacy is a term that is used to describe learning that includes instructional practices that supports the idea that student thinking is important. The key components of an active literacy classroom are reading, writing, listening, and investigating. Teachers cannot read minds, but they can help students understand what they are reading by talking and writing about their thinking. A teacher’s classroom environment is very important because it sends a … Read More →

What is Rigorous Instruction?


This year was our first year implementing the Common Core Standards and a reoccurring word that is used when describing the standards is they are more rigorous than the previous state standards. In Louisiana there has been growing opposition to the standards by both parents and politicians. One common statement that has been made is that the standards are common and they are not as rigorous as the previous state … Read More →

Have Base Ten Blocks Become Useless?

base ten blocks

I began my teaching career in August 1999 in Houston, TX. I was hired as a first grade teacher. I can remember teaching my first grade students how to add with base ten blocks and a place value chart. After I taught my lesson I could not understand why the students did not use the base ten blocks as a resource when they were not able to add or subtract. … Read More →

Middle School Rant………..Rational Forms

DecimalConversionChartUsingPennies (1)

The school year has ended and summer school is in full swing. Well, for some I guess. This school year I taught 4th grade math to 70 wonderful 4th graders. Now during the month of June I have the pleasure of teaching 8th grade math remediation. It’s very interesting to see how non proficient 8th graders struggle with elementary concepts. This was very evident on the first day of summer … Read More →

Meaningful Multiplication Practice


I am not a huge fan of dice in my classroom because they cause so much noise in addition to the students’ excitement and the dice somehow mysteriously disappear. After testing I needed some high interest activities that would keep the students engaged for about 2 hours. I remembered that I bought the dice activity book, but like most teachers had not used it yet because of various reasons. I … Read More →

Are You Still Using Division to Teach Fractions Greater Than One Whole?


While reviewing fractions for the 4th Math LEAP test last week I had an aha moment. I was drawing the model for a mixed number and I realized that I had not really focused on converting improper fractions to mixed numbers. Well, I continued with my mixed number review but I sat there talking to talking to a student about how to convert an improper fraction to a mixed number. … Read More →

Using Division Houses and T-Charts to Teach Division


This year has been a challenging school year for me, however it has been very rewarding at the same time. Every 4th teacher knows that division can be and sometimes is a difficult skill to teach students every year. Believe me this year was not any different for me! One day at the beginning of the year I was talking to my students about all the different topics that we … Read More →

What Does it REALLY Mean to Simplify a Fraction?


Teaching fractions to students can sometimes become complicated especially when the teacher relies on how he or she was taught fractions. I can remember when I was in school my teacher would call simplifying a fraction reducing. When I realized that I loved math so much I decided to stop teaching  5th grade math and science and enter the world of  middle school math. By the time I began teaching … Read More →