February Math Minute

Every Child. Every day. For a Better Tomorrow.

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Motivating Students to LOVE Math

Have you ever asked yourself, "What can I do to inspire my students to love math?" Math is all around us and it is important for us to create classroom environments where we inspire young minds to love math. Provided below are a few strategies that can be used to motivate students.
  • Be enthusiastic while presenting math because when students see that you value mathematics, they will understand its importance.
  • Build on skills students have mastered to give them a sense of accomplishment.
  • Show students how they use math in their daily lives.
  • Present students with challenges that are within their reach and piques their interest.
  • Look for ways to incorporate technology into your lessons.
  • Make math fun by playing games.
  • Find creative ways to add music to your lessons.


Watch the video below for one example of motivating students to LOVE math!!!

The Ron Clark Academy - Problems Up Math Song

A Closer Look at Math Rules . . . . . .

The Standards for Mathematical Practice advocate for students to become problem solvers who can reason, apply, justify, and effectively use mathematics vocabulary to demonstrate their understanding of mathematics concepts. This requires us to examine how much time we provide students to make sense of mathematical ideas through authentic engagement versus memorizing facts or tricks. Often times in the elementary classroom, we teach rules and vocabulary to students that do not promote conceptual understanding. These rules expire later in students' educational career, or vocabulary that is not precise.


In the article 13 Rules That Expire (NCTM, 2014), authors Karen Karp, Sarah Bush, and Babara Dougherty identify thirteen rules that are not always true in mathematics. The article builds a strong case for why "always" rules are not so "always" and challenges us as elementary teachers of mathematics to pay close attention to the vocabulary we use and how we develop student understanding.

  • When you multiply a number by ten, just add a zero to the end of the number.
  • Use keywords to solve problems.
  • You cannot take a bigger number from a smaller number.
  • Addition and multiplication makes numbers bigger.
  • Subtraction and division makes numbers smaller.
  • You always divide the larger number by the smaller number.
  • Two negatives make a positive.
  • Multiply everything inside the parentheses by the number outside the parentheses.
  • Improper fractions should always be written as a mixed number.
  • The number you say first in counting is always less then the number that comes next.
  • The longer the number the larger the number.
  • Please Excuse My Dear Aunt Sally
  • The equal sign means find the answer or write the answer.


Watch the video below for more insight on conceptual understanding versus procedures and rules.

Jo Boaler on the Good and Bad of Mathematics Education

Daily Use of the Standards for Mathematical Practice

According to the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (2012) using kid friendly language and terms for the Standards for Mathematical Practice will help students understand how to think and act like mathematicians. The list below provides student friendly language for each Standard for Mathematical Practice.
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Upcoming Professional Development

Please click on the link below to access PD opportunities in February, March, and April.


Link - https://www.smore.com/s9r86


Please register for courses in MyTalent.

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We Want to Hear From You

Thank you for your commitment to the students in Charlotte Mecklenburg Schools. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us and we will be happy to assist you.


Gabr'l Stackhouse, Elementary Math Specialist

Email - gabrlc.stackhouse@cms.k12.nc.us


Kaneka Turner, Elementary Math Specialist

Email - k.turner@cms.k12.nc.us