Deep Passion.Great Teaching. IGNITED

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 →

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 →

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 →

Why is teaching adding fractions with unequal denominators so hard?

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Fractions have always been my students’ Achilles heel even before the math standards changed. I’m sure you know that many of the fraction concepts that were once taught in middle school have been moved to fourth and fifth grade. Since I’ve taught middle school the new content for these grade levels didn’t scare me, but what did scare me was teaching more complex concepts to young learners. I just couldn’t … Read More →

Is Student Engagement a Part of Your Classroom Management Plan?

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I thought I had classroom management all figured out figured out until 2017. I’ve taught all kinds of students and by this time I’d been teaching for seventeen years. Like most urban school districts our school district had schools in certain areas of the city that had been neglected and were facing state take over. In order to get the school out of Improvement Required status teachers were offered a … Read More →

Scaffolding Instruction to Support Diverse Learners


The concept of scaffolding can actually be tied to Lev Vitgosky’s Zone of Proximal Development. Vygotsky believed that a learner’s developmental level consisted of two parts: the “actual developmental level” and the “potential developmental level. Scaffolding can be described as the bridge that is used to connect what a student already knows to the new learning that he or she will acquire. It is essentially connecting the new to the … Read More →

3 Reasons Why Teachers Struggle with Tier 2 Interventions

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Having students that are working at multiple grade levels can be stressful for even for the most seasoned teacher. It really shouldn’t be a surprise when teachers struggle with implementing Tier 2 interventions. The response to intervention model is very clear about what steps to take when students are not making progress with Tier 1 instruction. Yet, schools with large populations of  high need stundents continue to struggle to ensure … Read More →

Breaking the Pedagogy of Poverty Cycle

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 I have always taught in low income or as some would call them high poverty schools. Over the course of 17 years my view of my role at these schools has drastically changed . When I finally moved up to a high stakes testing grade level I used to love being the underdog and then coming out on top. Then all of a sudden at the beginning of the 2008 … Read More →

Anchor Charts: You Can Have Too Much of a Good Thing


 Anchor charts are the new mandate for educators across the country. Like with most education mandates the implementation can be compared to a California wildfire. Simply put, out of control!  What are the Benefits of Anchor Charts? According to Expeditionary Learning, anchor charts: build a culture of literacy in the classroom,  as teachers and students make thinking visible by recording content, strategies, processes, cues, and guidelines during the learning process. anchor … Read More →