Deep Passion.Great Teaching. IGNITED

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 →

Decomposing Fractions to Multiply


I  have always loved to teach fractions, but this year I have learned so much more about  fractions! Truth be told, I’m not a big fan of  The Story of Units math curriculum (Engage NY) but when I realized that my 4th grade students had to learn how to multiply fractions  by a whole number I was kind of scared because I knew that multiplying fractions had previously been a … Read More →

What Does the Zero Mean in Multi-Digit Multiplication?

2digit multiplication

For the past two weeks I have been requiring my students complete a Computation Check Up everyday because even though they may have learned the skill they are not fluent with any of the 4 operations. Each day the students complete 4 computation problems  that addresses one of the 4 operations. The first problem is always subtraction with zeros, the second problem  2 digit by 2 digit  multiplication, the third … Read More →

How Does Motivation Affect Math Achievement?

bone factory

Within the last 5 to 6 years student engagement has been apart of the buzz words in education. So what exactly is student engagement? Student engagement can be defined qualitatively by the actions of students as they complete a task. When looking for student engagement these actions can be observed: the students are attracted to their work,  they persist in their work despite challenges and obstacles, and  they take visible … Read More →

Model Drawing……Help!

adding fractions unequal denominators

Like many teachers across the nation who are implementing the math Common Core State Standards, I have been introduced to Singapore math and model drawing or tape diagrams. Prior to implementing the CCSS I had not heard of model drawing. This year our district has decided to follow Engage NY lesson to support our implementation of the math Common Core Standards. As a math teacher who supports conceptual understanding of … Read More →

Problem Solving With Read, Draw, Write


This really alarmed me because I have never in my 14 years of teaching encountered 4th grade students who were all novice problem solvers. I rolled up my sleeves and came up with a plan!  I decided to introduce C.U.B.E.S to the students Circle important numbers, Underline the questions, Box in math action words, Evaluate the information, Solve. This helped tremendously, however there the students continued to show a disconnection … Read More →

Teaching Tip: Reading Whole Numbers Using the Swoop and Group Literacy Strategy


When students learn how to read they begin to read words with CVC patterns but as they encounter more words they soon realize as words get larger some words have vowel pairs, diagraphs and diphthongs. These words require a different word attack strategy than words with the CVC patterns. Swoop and group is a word attack strategy that teaches students how to analyze a word mentally swoop the letters in … Read More →

Teaching Tip: Front Loading Instruction

Many states and school districts have made the transition to the Common Core State Standards and some school districts, such as the one that I work for began to fully implement the new standards this year. This has caused educators such as me to search for ways to implement these standards to students who have already had instruction that does not support conceptual understanding of mathematics. I have found that … Read More →

Factors vs. Multiples

Chart 2

Have you ever wished that there was a magic word that you could say to get your students to understand and identify the difference between factors and multiples? You are not alone! Factors and multiples are introduced in elementary school between 4th and 5th grades. It’s amazing to so many secondary math teachers that by the time a student reaches middle school many students continue to struggle with identifying a … Read More →

Teaching Tip: The Mystery of Reading a Ruler


I have begun to teach customary measurements of length to my students and as with every teacher we always want to assume that our students have been taught the necessary skills from the previous grade level. In 4th grade students are supposed to have been taught how to read a ruler to the nearest quarter inch. I quickly realized that they did not have a clue as to how to … Read More →