I spent 14 years teaching middle school science. When I made the move to teaching math and science at the upper elementary level, I began to focus on connecting my students’ thoughts about math and science to how they learned. I have a master’s degree in curriculum and instruction from Capella University and I tutor grades 1-8.
Math talk. I encourage my students to talk about their thinking. I want them to explain their process and connect it to the content we are working on. Finding joy in math is easy when you allow students to see the numbers in the ways that best suit their personal learning. I use a lot of modeling and guided questioning to facilitate math talk for a deeper understanding. I also believe in encouraging number sense by playing content driven math “games”. When students extend their math beyond worksheets, they see it differently.
I began working with a student who had no confidence in math. She was a fifth grader who had limited basic skills, so the idea of finding equivalent fractions, or the process of multi-digit multiplication or division, seemed overwhelming to her. I spent 3 months simply building her confidence. We did this while working on building that base number sense with a lot of math talk, a little competition, and a lot of repetition. We then applied her growing confidence to fifth grade content. Even when things became hard, she learned to re-frame her frustrations and to use what she knew. By the end of our time together, she was confidently doing multi digit multiplication using area model, and then using the inverse relationship to do long division! She became excited to try new things, and was no longer immediately shut down when new content was introduced. I was truly grateful to be there and see the changes in her confidence.
I am outside any and every chance I can get. Baseball is my favorite sport, followed closely with my kids’ soccer. I love to read!