Friday, May 3, 2019

Math Anxiety

Fear, said math professor and psychologist Dr. Queena Lee Chua, is not a natural reaction. It is a learned one that starts at a young ageĆ¢€”a crutch that, if not addressed properly, you cling to for the rest of your life. ILLUSTRATION: STEPH BRAVO

Math Anxiety
What can we as educators do to prevent the development of
math anxiety in our students?

Watch this video of students taking a math facts test.
Which portion of the math activity do you want for your students?

Research tell us that approximately 93% of all adult US-Americans experience some level of math
anxiety, but we as teachers need to do our best to create adults of the future who do not fear math.
Our society needs students who embrace math. Math is an essential and embedded part of our
modern lives.  We must do a better job of preparing our students with the mathematical knowledge
needed for the 21st century workplace.

One common place activity that fuels math anxiety begins to take hold in school with the administering
of timed math facts tests. The "Common Core" has contributed to the continuation of timed facts
tests with its use of the term "fluency" as a goal in math education as this has been interpreted by
some to include timed tests. For many students, timed tests may create fear and anxiety, sabotage
working memory, and begin to create an aversion to math.   As soon as students know that they will
be timed, their anxiety will kick-in and their working memory could seize up.  Consequently, many
students are sabotaged before they even pick up their pencils. Also, many students in a classroom
using timed math fact tests, will develop the idea that the students who are fast with their facts mastery
are the best math thinkers, which usually is a false indicator of math ability.  

The United States is producing great numbers of "Math Fact Memory Masters", but that is not what
we need for today's workplace and for the future. What we need is great math explorers and thinkers.
Math is about inquiry, construction, decomposing, communication, connections, and representations. We need students who can see the big picture, analyze the parts, and think deeply.

What can we as educators do
to prevent the development of math anxiety in our students?

Help Students Build Their “Number Sense”.

We need to help our students develop “number sense” which is one’s ability to think of
numbers flexibly. When presented with 18 + 5, show them how to decompose the 5 and make the equation (18+2)+ 3 or 20 +3. When asked what is 18- 9, show them 19-10 = 9. Students need to be constantly decomposing numbers to find easy combinations which make equations balance. Think of fluency as “knowing how a number can be composed and decomposed and using that information to be flexible and efficient with solving problems.” (Parish 2014, p.159)

One great strategy for developing “number sense” is to use a routine called Number Talks
developed by Ruth Parker and Kathy Richardson. Post an equation: 18 x 5.  Have each of
your students solve the problem mentally and then relate their steps for solving the equation.
Record all the different methods for everyone to see and discuss. What did student A do?
Why did it work? Which method do you like best? Why?

Students' Thought Processes:
20 x 5= 100
2 x 5= 10
100-10= 90
10 x 5= 50
8 x 5= 40
50 +  40= 90
18 x 5 = 9 x 10
9 x 10 = 90

18 x 2= 36
2 x 36 = 72
18 + 72 = 90
9 x 5 = 45
45 x 2 = 90

Building "Number Sense" is the key to helping
your students develop fluency
in mathematics at all levels.

Play Games:
Math Fluency Games-Grade 1 & 2

Multiplication Batttleship-(Grades 3 & 4)

Multiplication Center Ideas

Games from Jo Boaler

Last to Finish: A Story About the Smartest Boy in Math Class  by Barbara Esham

Math Curse by John Scieszka

Math Curse activities & more

Articles to Read:
Fluency Without Fear

Spotlight on Math

Memorizers are the lowest achievers and other Common Core Math Surprises  by Jo Boaler


Fluency: Simply Fast and Accurate? I Think Not!  by Linda M. Gojak
National Council of Teachers of Mathematics

Teacher Math Anxiety Relates to Adolescent Students' Math Achievement

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Growth Mindset

Growth Mindset
Do You, We Value Growth Mindset Enough?
As professionals working in the field of education, most of us know about “growth mindset”.  We recognize that it means we, as humans, can grow in our knowledge and even in our thinking. But as educators, do we really focus enough attention on the value of a “Growth-Mindset Focus” for our classroom on a daily, weekly, monthly, curriculum year basis? Do your students know you value a growth mindset? Do you and your students actually discuss and celebrate “Ah-hah! Growth-Mindset Moments” in your classroom on a regular basis?
The Whole-Brain Child:
According to Dr. Dan Siegel, M.D. author of The Whole-Brain Child, kids start to develop a growth mindset just from learning about how their brain works and grows. Once kids understand that the brain actually physically grows connections as their brains practice and learn new skills and concepts, they get excited about the learning process and feel less worried about making mistakes. As teachers, are we coaching our students to be more active and engaged learners by demonstrating to them just how their brains work? Do they realize the brain is much like a muscle that will actually grow as they learn and make more connections every hour of every day? Do they understand, that if they don’t know “it” now, it is only because they haven’t learned “it” YET?

Research by Carol Dweck:
According to Carol Dweck, research shows that students who have developed a growth-mindset out performed students who have a fixed-mindset. Students with a growth-mindset believe that their intelligence can grow whereas students with a fixed-mindset believe they either have the “smarts” or they don’t. Students with a fixed-mindset thought needing to work hard was proof of their lack of intelligence, worried about not making mistakes, at least looking smart, and gave up easily. With these findings in mind, Dweck and her team set out to teach students about how the brain actually works, how to stay positive, and to keep working in spite of setbacks. Students who received the training demonstrated greater motivation, more resilience, and made greater gains than they had past. They also exhibited greater participation and enjoyment in school.

Tools to Help Us Move & Improve with Growth Mindset:
From the work of Carol Dweck and others it sounds like, we as teachers, need to give much more attention to helping students in our classrooms develop greater “Growth-Mindsets”. Watch the videos and look through the resources below to find a few tools to help your students grow their mindsets.

Watch a Great Math Mindset video by Jo Boaler--Just click on the link below:

Informative Poster from Jo Boaler & 

Great Books to Assist Your Endeavor to Create a Growth Mindset in Your Classroom:
(If you click on the title, it will provide you a link to Amazon.)
Your Fantastic Elastic Brain: Stretch It, Shape It by JoAnn Deak
In kid-friendly language, this book explains what the brain is and how it works. It explains how connections between neurons strengthen the more we practice a skill and it helps kids understand how effort and persistence boost their intelligence! It has fun illustrations and will lead to lots of interesting discussions about growth mindset.

A Walk in the Rain with a Brain by Edward M. Hallowell
This book provides a kid-friendly tour of the parts of the brain.

Making A Splash- Growth Mindset for Kids
This book shows the differences in mindsets between two siblings learning to swim. This book has everything you need to explain growth mindset to your child. It emphasizes effort and persistence in achieving success, and explains why some people have to work harder than others at certain skills.

Thanks for the Feedback, I Think by Julia Cook
Help your kids understand that constructive feedback after mistakes or failures can help them improve and get smarter!

The Most Magnificent Thing by Ashley Spires
The Dot by Peter H. Reynolds
Beautiful Oops! by Barney Saltzberg
Sky Pig by Jan. L. Coates
The Girl Who Never Made Mistakes by Mark Pett and Gary Rubinstein
I Can’t Do That, YET by Esther P. Cordova
Mistakes That Worked: 40 Familiar Inventions &  How They Came to Be
by Charlotte Foltz Jones
Rosie Revere, Engineer by Andrea Beaty
Someday by Eileen Spinelli
When Pigs Fly by Valerie Coulman
Strong is the New Pretty by Kate T. Parker
Wonder by R.J. Palacio
Salt in his Shoes by Delores & Roslyn Jordan
Nadia the Girl Who Couldn’t Sit Still by Karlen Gray

The poster shown below is available from Teachers Pay Teachers.
It can also be reproduced as a bulletin board for your classroom.

What will you do in the coming weeks to cultivate & celebrate the Growth Mindset of your students ?

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Math Teachers Lead Change

Calling All Math Teachers/ Calling for Change
Do you teach math?  Is your teaching of math much like the
instruction you had as a student? (i.e: master the facts, speed
is the goal, learn this process, follow the book’s method,
work quietly/don’t disturb others, etc., etc.).

Do you believe some people have a “math brain” and
others don’t?

Why are US students still scoring well below other
countries in mathematics?  
Are any of your students saying, “I just don’t get it!”  
Well, this video may help you to sort out how to make
sense of the Common Core Mathematical Practices.  

As Grace Kelemanik says, “There are so many of them,
and so little time.”[1] See video below...

The chart below is a representation of Ms. Kelemanik’s groupings of the CC Math Practices.

Grace Kelemanik has more than 30 years of mathematics education experience. A frequent presenter at national
conferences, her work focuses on urban education, special populations, and teacher training. Most recently, Grace
is the coauthor of Routines for Reasoning: Fostering the Mathematical Practices in All Students. She is also coauthor
of The Fostering Geometric Thinking Toolkit. (Heinemann)

Thursday, November 8, 2018

Welcome to the new WRVSU Curriculum Toolbox!

This location is intended to be a place where we can post ideas, resources, videos, and other forms of teaching tools and references that can be used at a time when you can focus on the information you want or need. It is very possible that what you want is not here yet, but you can ask for specific information, share information that you have either created or found, or look for helpful ideas and suggestions. 

Please sign on, and help to develop this resource library to be used by teachers and families. It's a work in progress, much like educating a child, and can only get better when more people contribute to the resources placed on this location.

Thanks for all you do!

The Curriculum Team

Mary Ellen Simmons
Deb Scott
Charlie Watson

Math Anxiety

Math Anxiety What can we as educators do to prevent the development of math anxiety in our students? Watch this video of stud...