When I was a student, my math instruction involved a teacher writing problems on an overhead projector with clear transparencies and vis-a-vis markers. They all followed the typical, “I do, We do, You do” model. We didn’t do a great deal of thinking at all. We solved as asked, often regurgitating exactly as our problems were modeled. In many classrooms, we’ve tossed out the overhead and replaced it with interactive whiteboards, projectors and sometimes even handheld devices. But think about it…Has our approach to math instruction really changed? A teacher recording problems on an IWB while kids copy and duplicate or a …

## Talking Algebra with a Teen Driver #tmwyk

The richest conversations that I have with my kids often take place outside of math homework. They take place as they happen in the real world. The other day I was driving my niece around and she just happened to make a back handed comment about how slow I was driving. It was exactly 32 miles per hour, this distance between Ennis and Dallas. Me: If I continued to drive at this rate without stopping, how long would it take me to drive to Dallas? Niece: Probably 5 hours Me: Really? How many miles are between Ennis and Dallas? Niece: like …

## Conversations with My Son: More Midpoints in Geometry

The other day I published a conversation, a tutoring session, between myself and my son. It was a painful reminder of a problem that is so systemic in math classrooms that students, like my son, are suffering on a day to day basis. It’s called 100% lecture and zero inquiry. The problem with this method is that lecture does not reach every student. It reaches some…the ones that can see the problem happen visually as they hear it. My son is not that kid. He needs to manipulate, ask questions, manipulate more and ask more questions. Sometimes he needs questions asked …

## My EduParent Perspective: Helping My Son Understand Midpoints in Geometry with Questioning and Geogebra

The other night, my son brought home a geometry assignment on midpoints that he needed to complete. I recognized the assignment right away because it was a simple worksheet from the “binder”, a collection of district purchased worksheets from 2003. (Imagine eye rolls and a sea of long sighs…Yep!) As ridiculously bad and basic as this worksheet was, my son had not turned it in because he did not understand how to do the work. Yes, he lives with a math teaching momma, but he’s still not a fan of being tutored by his mom. I get it. (Again…eye rolls…long …

## The Geometry Project, aka When Your Mom is A Tech Specialist

About a week ago, my son was assigned a geometry vocabulary project that required him to choose 30 words from a list and visually represent them. The instructions were as follows… “You are to find these images in the real world. You can personally take pictures, find them on the internet, or find the items in a magazine. You must manually or electronically mark the picture so that I can identify the geometric term in the picture. You will organize these items to present to me in some manner such as gluing the pictures to posterboard, create a “book” of …

## Inside the Kid’s Homework: Writing Repetitive Math Facts

Every night Braeden will be required to write his multiplication facts three times each and since this is a strategy that has been repeated without question over the years, many will swear by its perceived effectiveness. Before presenting an opinion, let me remind you of a time long ago when teachers used “discipline sentences” to punish kids for things like talking in class. I remember writing “I will not talk in class” 100 time and I did it by writing all of the “I’s” followed by the “wills” and so on. We called this “columnizing” because we didn’t write whole sentences but columns of …

## Confessions of A Tech Specialist: My Avoidance with Math Apps

I am a math teacher to my core and will always be so it’s only fitting that if there is a session about math and technology…I am a part of it. Only, I’m probably not the best person for this job and here is why… Most people requesting math/tech sessions want to hear about math specific apps. They want practice apps by standard and that’s not how I roll. As a matter of fact, if you scour my devices, you’ll find exactly three math specific apps…Desmos, Geogebra and the TI Nspire app. Here is why… My own beliefs about math …

## Confessions of a Tech Specialist: Teaching Math to an Empty Room

I spent the last two weeks in two incredible places and I have no complaints as these places, Tennessee and Canada, were amazing experiences. I’ll be honest in saying that even with these experiences there were two places that I desperately wanted to be…the Beyonce concert in Dallas and TMC14 (Twitter Math Camp). Now, I won’t bore you with the details of how I purchased Beyonce tickets before realizing that Canada was “a thing” and how my daughter and niece were able to share this experience which was amazing. But…that’s what happened. Twitter Math Camp, the place that wasn’t, was …

## iMix, iWonder, iCreate: Digital Storytelling in Math

Yesterday, I presented my digital storytelling in math session for the second time and in doing so made some pretty hefty improvements. The gist of the session is to get teachers to place control of learning into the hands of kids. I have to say that I was super impressed with the openness and excitement of each teacher that attended. It was truly inspiring. Digital storytelling isn’t new but for some reason we often negate its value in math. For my students, their ability to connect learning to ideas that held their interest was truly powerful. I cannot speak enough …

## Inside My TCEA14 Session: From Verbs to Tech, Apps to Invigorate Algebra

Today, I taught a session at our state technology conference, TCEA, during Math Academy. My session, Tools and Apps to Invigorate Algebra, was all about web tools and applications to help teachers build more learner centered activities for students. I approached this session from a standards based perspective instead of an app-based perspective. Yes, there are tons of apps in the app store that could have surely filled the 50 minute session but knowing what I do about sessions, teachers and classrooms…I knew that focusing on how to utilize a few great tools really well would serve most teachers better. In …