Deep Passion.Great Teaching. IGNITED

3 Ways to Reinforce Place Value Concepts Using Number Disks

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If you ask any fourth or fifth grade math teacher what is the most important foundation concept most would probably say place value. In kindergarten the teachers focus on the making a 10 concept.Then place value is introduced in first grade using ten frames, Base 10 blocks, or counters. Grade levels 2-4 build on those place value concepts through addition and subtraction with regrouping, rounding, multiplication and division. In my … Read More →

Propaganda: Data Doesn’t Lie; People Do!

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It has been 3 months since the election. After Donald Trump officially became the  President my students have tried to discuss the election, however every single time they brought up the topic I would stop the conversation. I wasn’t trying to be mean but I wasn’t ready. I teach at an urban school and I knew that the conversation was going to be intense. When the students wanted to discuss … Read More →

Flipping the Urban Classroom-The Beginning

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This school year was supposed to be different than last school year. What began as excitement about the new school year has slowly turned into despair because I feel like my instruction is being held hostage by my principal. Resistance Last summer I spent my time reflecting and planning for this school year. Only to return to school and have my ideas met with resistance by my administrator. At the … Read More →

Converting Improper Fractions: The Zebra Cake Challenge!

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  As I slowly walked down the hallway to my classroom I told myself, “Last school year was a complete disaster but this year is going to be different!” If I could paint a picture of the students that I had last year, it would look like a scene from Major Payne. Every morning when I entered the building I felt like I was entering boot camp and I was … Read More →

Interactive Notebooks: Engaging the Unegaged

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Every year I get questions from teachers asking about how to use interactive notebooks in their classrooms. Interactive notebooks are a great way to teach students how to take notes in a more engaging manner. I’m the only teacher in my building that uses interactive notebooks, so when the students realize that they get to use markers and can cut and paste the boys become really interested. Now as a … Read More →

The Dumbing Down of the American Math Student

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  “Miss Williams, I can’t solve this equation without using a calculator”, said one of my 8th grade math students” while shaking the calculator in her hand. I slowly turned around to address the student who made the statement but the rest of the students in my 1st period 8th grade math summer school class began to chime in. Feeling a bit confused I began to ask the students for clarification … Read More →

Decomposing Fractions: An Alternative for Struggling Learners

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I, like many elementary teachers across the nation have found myself teaching math concepts to 4th and 5th grade students that were once taught to middle school students. Truth be told, when I first began teaching these skills I must admit I was very skeptical about teaching multiplying fractions and whole numbers to 4th and 5th graders. As I grew more comfortable with the idea that I have to teach … Read More →

Simplifying Fractions is Just NOT that Simple!

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Before school let our for the Christmas break I was at my wits end with trying to teach equivalent fractions and simplifying fractions to students who were deficient in their understanding of the “true” meaning of multiplication and division. I know that there are so many different skills that students need to have mastered before they can simplify fractions. I had to face the fact that the students who were … Read More →

What Does Being Smart in Math Really Mean?

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This Summer I began reading Smarter Together! Collaboration and Equity in the Elementary Math Classroom, but to be honest when I bought the book I really was more interested in the collaboration part of the book than the equity part. As with most things the part of the book that I was interested in was not the part that I needed. I have been teaching math for a very long … Read More →

The Truth About Equivalent Fractions and Multiplication

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I often tell my co-workers that the students that I have this year are getting my best teaching! This school year has challenged my math content knowledge and pedagogy (instructional strategies) because my students have major deficits. On top of that I have many ELL students who are still trying to learn English. Even with all of the obstacles that I face teaching these students, I find myself delving deeper … Read More →