Math Matters in LEISD

2014-15 Vol 7 March

Why Do We Teach Math Differently today?

Check out this video where Dr. Raj Shah explains why math is now taught differently than it was in the past and helps address misconceptions about "new math".

Mindset Mattters Most

By Dan Raguse - Executive Director of The Math Learning Center

Today's debates about the future of education are complex and often contentious. What if the most important concept to embrace was both strikingly simple and profound? What if the genesis of educational success was as straightforward as mindset?

In a fixed mindset, people believe their basic qualities, like their intelligence or talent, are simply fixed traits. They spend their time documenting their intelligence or talent instead of developing them. They also believe that talent alone creates success—without effort. They’re wrong.

In a growth mindset, people believe that their most basic abilities can be developed through dedication and hard work—brains and talent are just the starting point. This view creates a love of learning and a resilience that is essential for great accomplishment. Virtually all great people have had these qualities. —Carol Dweck

Great teachers intuitively know that a growth mindset leads to successful teaching and learning. I had some of these teachers along the way. They were the ones who encouraged me to work hard, be persistent, and accept failure as implicit in the problem-solving process. But as a young teacher I lacked that instinctual understanding of learning. I viewed my students as capable but limited vessels to be filled with knowledge. I praised their successes and yes, criticized their failures. My fixed mindset drove my teaching practices and my perception of others.

My goal now is to change my mindset. Students are not vessels to be filled with my knowledge. They are not limited by my perception of their skills. They are not my labels. They are capable, thinking problem solvers, who if given the chance will learn because that’s what they do naturally. My aim will be to not to get in their way, but to support them to find success through perseverance and effort.

As this new year begins, I encourage all of you to learn more about mindset. Adjust your mindset to be one of growth, and help your students to find their own. I believe it’s the greatest contribution we can make to the future of education.

For additional insight into mindset, check out this link.

Check This Out!!

Youcubed is a web project for mathematics education provided through Stanford University. The misson of is as follows:

Our main goal is to inspire, educate and empower teachers of mathematics, transforming the latest research on math learning into accessible and practical forms.

We know from research how to teach math well and how to bring about high levels of student engagement and achievement but research has not previously been made accessible to teachers. All students can learn mathematics to high levels and teaching that is based upon this principle dramatically increases students’ mathematics achievement. The need to make research widely available is particularly pressing now as new science on the brain and learning is giving important insights into mathematics learning.

Mathematics is often the reason that students leave STEM, particularly girls and some students of color. We aim to change this by communicating the sources of math inequality in the US and by teaching the classroom methods that are needed for 21st century learning. By providing research based teaching methods, math tasks, videos, and ideas we intend to significantly reduce math failure and inequality in the United States and beyond, inspiring teachers and empowering all students to success.

Did you know...

Marilyn Burns has a blog? You can follow her at

Secondary Teacher Resource ideas

Here's a few of my favorite places on the web, just for high school teachers. I hope you find a few fun things you can use.

Texas Instruments TI-84 Activity Central - this site has been recently added to the line up of specific resource sites. On it you will find activities for all grade levels that use the TI-84 graphing calculator (of all types) with step-by-step directions, ready to use work pages, etc to make your life so easy!

MathBits: fun, yet challenging, lessons and activities in secondary (and college level) mathematics

Discovery Education: aligned resources and activities provided by Discovery Ed.

Dan Meyer's Blog for 3 Act Lessons: Link here for an explanation of a three-act lesson and here for an archive of lessons that have been submitted through his blog.

Illustrative Mathematics: Educator community site with lessons, activities, etc all vetted for use.

Illuminations: several great lessons and online interactive applet activities

Shoder Interactivate: applets to use for demonstration

Classroom Instructional Focus

Math Awareness Month

April may bring showers but it also is Math Awareness Month. Prepare now to show your students all the beauty that math has to offer. This year's theme is Math Drives Careers. There is even a special website where you can find activities to help make your students more Math Aware, including a poster you can use to help students better understand how math is used in many careers.

In what ways can you help make your students more Math Aware in the world around them? Send me your ideas to include in the April Math Matters newsletter. The first 3 teachers to respond will receive a gift for their submission from me.

Spotlight on Math: Strategies for Addressing the Most Challenging Math Standards

Recently an article was posted on an educational blog site called The article, referenced above is certainly worthy of a few minutes of your time to review considering Measurement concepts tend to historically haunt us and our students as the lowest performing area of state testing. In the article the author shares reasons and strategies for the challenges students face beginning in K-2 and also provides several lesson idea resources for K-8 teaching. Get directly to the article by clicking here.

Feature: Formative Assessment Classroom Technique (FACT) - 3-2-1

3-2-1 is an easy FACT to incorporate as an exit ticket strategy and helps you to really see what kids got from your lesson and what they still need to work on.

3-2-1 is a structured way for students to reflect on learning. Students respond in writing to three reflective prompts, providing six responses today (3 for the first prompt, 2 for the second prompt, and 1 for the third prompt) that describe what they learned from a less or instructional sequence.

3 new things I learned:

2 things I am still struggling with:

1 thing that will help me tomorrow:

Congratulations to Julie Brown at LEHS and Laura Ballenger at Brent Elementary. Both submitted their own activities using this FACT and won a prize!

Be sure to sign up for our Summer Learning Summit sessions!

Direct links to all math specific sessions were included in the informational newsletter that I previously sent out this month.