Thursday, August 20, 2015

Good afternoon! I am working with several teachers on writing in math and we were looking for some reflective journal prompts to use. So often, solution writing is all that is talked about when it comes to math journaling, so we had a hard time finding good prompts. I came up with 10 great prompts that can help us better understand our students' attitudes and feelings toward math. They're perfect for the last few minutes of math class and provide an opportunity to give descriptive feedback to students in their journals and begin a dialog. They would also be great for early finishers if placed on a math wall. You can get them by clicking the link below to TPT.

Link to TPT

Example Prompts

Good luck in all of your writing endeavors!

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Math Journals/Notebooks

I don't know about all of you, but I am back to school and the hustle and bustle is REAL! I'm now working with teachers at 4 different schools and I have so many asking me how to make writing in math meaningful for them and their students. I believe that writing is an important component in math, as it helps students solidify their thinking, practice metacognition, and express their ideas about math in a private way. The most common type of writing is solution writing. While there are many benefits for this type of writing, it is also important to incorporate affective writing; writing about ones feelings toward math. Asking kids to share why math is important, why they want to get better at math, or just how they felt about math after a lesson, we are able to find out so much about their attitudes toward math that can change from day to day and topic to topic. The third type of writing is concept writing, where you ask students to write about a general topic, like prime numbers, or the relationship between addition and subtraction. This type of writing is often overlooked, but can give you a sense of what students know about a topic in a broad sense. It is also low stress for the students as there is no right or wrong answer and they can share anything they know, which leads to a feeling of accomplishment.

No matter how often you incorporate writing, the most important things in my mind are modeling strong writing, and providing descriptive feedback. If you have students write on a daily basis, but don't look at, read, or help extend their thinking with descriptive feedback, what do you think will happen to the quality of the writing? I know teachers are busy and it is unrealistic to respond to student writing ever day, but it is an essential piece of writing in math. If you are not going to provide feedback, you might as well not have them write! Also think about the feedback you provide. Warm and fuzzy comments like great job really do nothing to help a student advance toward a mathematical goal. You may encounter superb writing and all you can think to say is "Wow!" Dig a little deeper and see if there is some aspect of the writing that could have been more clear, or point out the great connections made between math concepts. There must be something worth pointing out in even the best of papers.

Remember that writing in math is difficult for many students! Using clear, precise language in the classroom is important. If students can't say it, how can they write it? Provide opportunities for students to share their thinking before writing. Finally, we want these opportunities for journaling to be as low stress as possible for students. Conventions are not what this is all about. It's about math, and while it can support your writing instruction, it is not the main focus of this type of writing.

Notebooks work great for math journals or notebooks! In case you're wondering, the difference between a journal and a notebook is just what goes into it. If you are using it solely for writing about math, it is a journal. If you are including notes and other resources for students, it is a notebook.

If you are looking for a printable notebook template, I have one on TPT. It includes a cute cover page, table of contents page, and blank lined paper.


Link to TPT

Have a great start to the year!

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Math Talk Bookmarks

Here are some FREE math talk bookmarks! These bookmarks include sentence starters that would be great for students to use to keep their place in their math textbooks or notebooks and provide simple reminders of strong questions or statements to make to further mathematical discourse. Simply print, laminate, cut out, hole punch the top, and add some fun ribbon!
Click to get FREE at TPT. 

Saturday, August 1, 2015

Get that Math Talk Going!

It's back to school time! Although I dread this time coming each summer and pray for time to slooowww down, I must admit that I'm ready to get back in the swing of things. I finally checked my school email and found a high number of teachers reaching out for resources to help get their Math Talk off to a great start this year. The Math Talk moves posters are available currently and I'm hoping to work on some additional resources this week. I will add them to the blog as I get them going. Please follow me to be notified. I will be sure to add a great freebie this week. Have a great time preparing for the upcoming year!

There is an awesome TPT sale on the 3rd and 4th that I'm excited for. I have joined the 20% off sale for my items as well.


Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Standards for Mathematical Practice

Happy back to school time!
Unfortunately, there is only a week left before I head back to work full time. I have had a fantastic summer and I hope you have too. My son informed me this week that "school" is now a cuss word and cannot be used in earshot of him. He cracks me up!

At the end of the school year, I introduced my teachers to the 8 standards for Mathematical Practice from the Common Core State Standards for Math. Since I teach in Nebraska, where we have our own state standards, we are not held accountable for teaching the CCSSM, however; these 8 practices are just plain good and we should strive to help our students develop these levels of expertise in mathematics so that they can think like mathematicians and apply that thinking to any problem they encounter in the future. The 8 practices are:

CCSS.Math.Practice.MP1 Make sense of problems and persevere in solving them.
CCSS.Math.Practice.MP2 Reason abstractly and quantitatively.
CCSS.Math.Practice.MP3 Construct viable arguments and critique the reasoning of others.
CCSS.Math.Practice.MP4 Model with mathematics.
CCSS.Math.Practice.MP5 Use appropriate tools strategically.
CCSS.Math.Practice.MP6 Attend to precision.
CCSS.Math.Practice.MP7 Look for and make use of structure.
CCSS.Math.Practice.MP8 Look for and express regularity in repeated reasoning.
The teachers I work with seemed very interested in learning more about these and keeping them in mind while teaching their math lessons. I thought....why not have a visual aid to use to help teachers AND students be mindful of the practices they're using each day. I came up with the 9 posters and large checkmarks that can be used to identify those practices being used. I envision students pointing out various practices being used throughout the lesson, justifying why they think it's being covered, and placing the checkmark on the wall to show it. I have seen lessons where all 8 practices are present. I have also seen lessons where only 1 or 2 are many can you use in 1 lesson?

The link below will take you to TPT where you can purchase the posters get for FREE for use in your classroom. Enjoy!

Monday, September 30, 2013

What do good mathematicians do?

Good evening! I had a teacher request for something to post in the room to remind students of what they should be doing during the math block to optimize their math learning time. This is so important in my district because only 60 minutes of the day are dedicated to math. These posters are perfect for hanging on the classroom walls and can be printed 2/page to save space. They can be purchased on TPT for $2. I will also be sending them out for free to 3 lucky teachers who follow me on TPT! Thank you!

Fonts thanks to and graphics from 

 Click to find me on TPT. Please follow me!

Monday, August 19, 2013

Math Talk Question Cards for Students

I just realized that there have been many, many requests for these cards to be moved to TpT. I have just taken care of that! I have never before charged for any of my documents, but am going to charge a small fee of $1 to see if this is something that could help me pay tuition as I go for my doctorate! 
Thank you for your purchase!

Font: Spicy Sushi Roll from
Graphics: Dollar Graphics Depot and Aifactory 
There are many ways you could use them, but here's what I'm planning on doing during some demonstration lessons I have coming up....have each child draw one at the start of the lesson and they will then use it at some point during the math lesson. This will get the students talking about math and justifying their answers which will lead to a deeper understanding of the concepts.