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How to Teach Problem Solving Without Using Keywords

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Teaching students how to solve word problems can be one of the most difficult skills a math teacher has to teach. That’s putting it mildly!  Before I moved into my current position as a Math Interventionist, I taught a group of fifth graders that made me feel like I was the reading and math teacher. Their reading comprehension levels were so low that I couldn’t introduce my problem solving strategy … Read More →

5 Easy Ways to Support Students in Struggling Productively

Teacher Helping Pupils Studying At Desks In Classroom

Teaching is on the job training, so when my students were stuck on a problem I would immediately come to their rescue. I did this because I saw all my mentors do the same thing. I never thought there was anything wrong with the way that I guided my students through their frustration. That is until I attended a National Council of Teachers of Mathematics or NCTM conference. It was … Read More →

The Anatomy of a Cognitive Demanding Math Task


You all don’t have school tomorrow, I said to my fourth period class. “Can I come to school anyway?” one student shouted. I looked at him and asked why? I don’t want to deal with my parents bullshi*t! I pay bills and my parents still try to put me out. I sat there for a second looking confused. Then I said, “You’re only fourteen.”  Another student chimed in and said, … Read More →

A Practical Guide for Improving Problem Solving


I’m always amused by the choices of word problems that teachers share on social media. Often times they are fictional problems that don’t have very much substance. Problem solving is supposed to give students a context to help them make sense out of the mathematics they are learning.  According to NCTM, “Problem solving means engaging in a task for which the solution method is not known in advance. In order … Read More →

What Really Is the Best Way To Build Number Sense?


I’m always amazed when students who struggle with math haven’t got a clue about how to use a number line. I’ve been teaching my ninth grade intervention classes how to add and subtract using a number line. I was at a loss for words when one of my students proclaimed, “I don’t know where to start?”  I stood there for a second then said, “What do you mean you don’t … Read More →

3 Simple Alternatives to Traditional Math Workstations


Before I moved to high school as a Math Interventionist, I taught elementary math for over fourteen years. When I taught fourth or fifth grade every year without fail, I’d always have the same struggle with my administration over math workstations. At the beginning of every school year, the Teacher Development Specialists would descend from high to meet the teachers at their campuses. During my first classroom observation, the TDS … Read More →

How I Used Thinking Routines to Improve Procedural Fluency

As a math teacher, I often struggle to get my students to share their math strategies and slow down enough to think about the steps for solving algorithms. My students were so used to mindlessly solving problems that they made countless mental errors with algorithms. To make matters worse their ability to problem solve was almost nonexistent.  After using FlipGrid as a tool for engagement and classroom management, I started … Read More →

Confessions of a Bored Math Teacher

My teaching career began in Houston, Texas, but by the time I reached my tenth year of teaching  I felt like a mouse on a wheel. The year after I started teaching George W. Bush (son) was elected as President of the United States. Now you’re probably wondering why this matters. Well it matters because No Child Left Behind was created during his term. This was also when all of … Read More →

Are You Really Integrating Technology Into Your Math Lessons?


I can remember teaching my first 5th grade math class for the very first time in 2005. The school I transferred to didn’t have any manipulatives and math instruction was nothing to write home about.  On top of not having any manipulatives nor the support in math I needed I was given all of the students who had been either retained or struggled academically. To say the least, this was … Read More →

For the Stubborn Math Teachers Who Never Use Technology

Teacher Helping Elelmentary Students Working At Computers

Integrating technology is an important part of  teaching math. While most content areas have embraced the merging of content and technology many math teachers have yet to embrace this shift in education. Research has shown that the use of technology in the classroom had a positive impact on secondary school students’ success and attitudes in mathematics. Even though technology has shown to have a positive impact at the secondary level, … Read More →