Weekly Wisdom

The culture of math classrooms is rapidly changing to become more inclusive. The days of math classrooms revolving around the students who understand while letting the students who don’t understand get left behind are fading into the past. THANK GOODNESS! When I was a kid usually Kevin was the only student called on in math class. Kevin was a kid who got answers in math very quickly and always correctly. Kevin was working to complete 90 math problems on a time test in 60 seconds while I couldn’t even solve them all in 3 minutes. The days of only teaching…

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Weekly Wisdom

I have to be honest, I have never been a big fan of shushing. Oral language is the foundation for student learning. We want to immerse our students in a language rich learning environment. That goes a bit beyond reading stories to them and putting words up on the wall. It also means creating classroom conversations and dialogues. It means letting them share their ideas with one another and it means not shushing them while they’re sharing ideas. Sometimes the most clever ideas and responses are the ones that teachers shush.  Now, I am in no ways suggesting that we…

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Changing Our Thinking: Alligators in Math Class

There are many practices from long ago that we need to rethink as teachers. This series looks to bring up those practices and offer alternate ideas that are more relevant in today’s classroom. Today we’re discussing using alligators eating bigger numbers to teach comparison. The time has come in my class to begin comparing numbers using > and < but guess what? We’re not using alligators or crocodiles and there are no numbers are being eaten. Instead, the symbols are being taught in a way that students can understand. We’re using language to teach the symbols and trust me, it…

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Weekly Wisdom

So many times we have this idea that a published piece of writing is a completely perfect and finished piece. Or for that matter, a math test is the finished piece of learning or a running record, whatever it may be. Over the weekend I read a quote from Leonardo da Vinci, “Art is never finished, only abandoned.”  I just love this quote so much and I believe that we need to start shifting to this mindset in the classroom. We understand that learning can be placed on a continuum where there is always room for improvement and always more to learn…

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There’s No Such Thing as a Baby Book

*Please read the title in Uncle Vernon’s voice if you didn’t the first time. Just imagine how he’s feeling as he screams to Harry that there is NO SUCH THING as magic!* The Unfortunate Event Let me paint this picture for you. It was the day of the elementary book fair. Our kids had their zloty ready to go. Their parents had sent them with money that was burning holes in their pockets all day long. It was finally time! We walked down to our library and we listened to directions. If you didn’t have money you could get a…

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