Math Message

February edition

Love is in the air

Hi Mathematicians,

February is the perfect month to "share the love." Typically that means sending and receiving Valentines, but I would like to share the things I love about math teachers in this district!

GCISD math teachers:

  • Really care about the kids, not just the curriculum
  • Take the time to really learn the standards
  • Follow the Math CIE's
  • Design and plan awesome lessons for their students
  • Relate math to the real world
  • Instill a love of math and a growth mindset in their students
  • Take risks and try new things
  • Give the new unit assessments with fidelity and use them to guide future instruction
  • Share feedback with the math team and me.

Blog Spot

Have you heard about Interactive Word Walls? Cannon Elementary is using them with their students to increase vocabulary development and to give students "hands on" opportunities to interact with words and terms! They are student generated, which may be different from traditional word walls and anchor charts. Teachers had the opportunity to learn from Julie Jackson. Learn more about it here from Irene Boyton, first grade teacher at Cannon.

How many of you ask parents to read with their children every night? There is a wealth of research supporting daily reading especially prior to and during the period when they are learning to read. There is also research that supports the same for math, but who wants to assign plain, old math facts! Well, an app has been developed called Bedtime Math that has shown higher math achievement among those who use it regularly. Check out the blog post! Thanks to Kami Anderson, Kindergarten teacher at Cannon, for sharing.

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Mathematicians At Work


Number Sense

When I talk to upper elementary teachers, some will share that their students that struggle are those that don't have "number sense" or only have one strategy for solving problems such as counting on their fingers. How can we help these struggling learners?

One way is to to provide opportunities for them to build number sense. A new favorite blogger and fellow mathematician is Christina Tondevold. Check out her blog here! My new mantra that I stole from Christina is "number sense is caught, not taught!" We must provide experiences with numbers and how they relate to each other. Building number sense also changes students' attitudes about math. After having experiences with number sense, they see that doing mathematics is not simply following rules, but thinking creatively, inventing strategies, and making sense of numbers and patterns in unique ways.

We already have many resources in our curriculum for building number sense such as activities from Van de Walle's book, number routines in Investigations, and your campus should have a copy of Number Talks by Sherry Parrish.

In the following months, I hope to highlight a few key concepts, activities, or games that can be used with K-2 students and struggling learners in 3-5. I am also happy to come to a PLC or grade level planning meeting and share ideas with you. One additional resource is an upcoming webinar on number sense. Check it out here!

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Math Professional Learning


We want your input? How do YOU like to learn? Do you prefer face to face training, online learning, or a blend such as our last book study. As we look to the summer and next year, we are in the process of planning math professional learning and want to consider your needs. Share your opinion here!

Speaking of job embedded learning, do you want to grow and improve in your craft? Do you like to observe other teachers, read and collaborate about the latest trends in education, and get real feedback about your classroom? Then, VALOR is for you! To learn more about this career-changing program, watch this short video. The application was sent out on Monday, February 8 in an email from Dr. Doughney. I encourage all of you to apply!