Monthly Archives: March 2014

Number Talks 12 x 13


I was cleaning up some files this evening and ran across these snapshots from a Number Talk in class a while back. 

Are all of them the most efficient?  For me, no.  However, if it made sense to that student at that particular moment, then it was most efficient for them.  I appreciate the various ways they consider “building” the product.

  I wanted to see their thinking on 2 digit multiplication to link back our unit on polynomial operations.








Yes, they all had a calculator available, but my question was, how do you know?  As I learned from Steve Leinwand, “Convince me.”

KCM 2014 Links


Fabulous, Friendly, Fun

Fluency Forward ~ KCM 2014


Fabulous Starters

*Estimation 180 – Mr. Stadel                   

*Counting Circles – Sadie Estrella

Number Talks –

Jo Boaler                          Stanford Course How to Learn Math

Convince me! – Steve Leinwand

Inside Mathematics

Fawn Nguyen (math talks)

*Odd One Out – Malcolm Swan  


Encourage a Culture of Listening

Powerful Problem Solving, Max Ray


Student Reflection

*Color with Purpose, Interactive Notebooks


1. I use to think…

    But now, I know…

2. HW

        Which 2 problems were most alike?  Explain.

        Which 2 problems were most different?  Explain.

       A particular problem that I struggled with…

3.  Practice / Activity

      Which problems were easiest for me?

      Which problems were most difficult for me?

      Watch for…..

4.  Wrong Answer Analysis, Stiggins

5.  2-Minute Assessment Grid

6. Chalk Talk, Making Thinking Visible

Friendly Interactions with Math

*Open Questions – More Good Questions, Marian Small & Amy Lin

Task #1  Slope is 3/5

Task #2  (0,2) and (5, 0)


*Staircases & Steepness – Fawn Nguyen


*Triangle Centers – Geogebra

Notice / Wonder(The Math Forum)

Amusement Park Placement


* Sol LeWitt (Art Structure) Notice/Wonder (Max Ray/Annie Fetter)


Open Sorts 


Representing Polynomials FAL

*Midpoint Miracle (geogebra)



Shadows (Zoom out) – Kentucky Vietnam Memorial


Fun Opportunities

Graphing Stories –

Formative Assessment Lessons from MARS  

Tom distance/time graphs

               Everyday Situations with Functions

Speed Dating Function of Time Blog


Dice Equations of Lines with some Novelty


Blocks Polynomial Station Activities


Hole Punch Game


Ghosts in the Graveyard Math Tales from the Spring Blogspot


Math Madness Music – Bob Garvey

YouTube Parodies – Westerville South High School Gettin’ Triggy with It, Quad Solve


Engagement Wheel
David Sladkey
Reflections from a High School Math Teacher

32-12 my opinions


I usually don’t post on things as ridiculous as this.  The comments and posts made me cringe. These attitudes are from people who are uneducated about common core…  It makes me sad to think so many are mis-educated and truly believe this is what CCSS is all about.


CCSS is not about making math more difficult.

I agree this example looks longer than most of us learned the traditional way but CCSS is about allowing students to develop number sense.  IF a student solved a problem this “longer way” -I agree it is not how I would have approached it, but is it incorrect? Is their thinking wrong?  I would like to have a conversation to really hear/see their thinking.  It seems they started at 12 and counted up to 32.  For a student who struggles with subtraction, yet excels in addition, I think this is a perfectly legit approach.

I never remember being allowed to explore different strategies but told how to do the problem and what to think about it.  When students are required to do it “the teacher’s way” many do not think/process the same way, they get frustrated, feel like a failure, hence the reason so many dispise math nowadays.

At some point in my career, I complained I taught something but don’t know why students didn’t get it. So, I retaught it, the same way I did the first time, just more examples and spoke more slowly and expected different results.  Sheesh.

I have complained that “they knew it” on the unit test yet not on a cumulative exam at the end of the year.  Did I spiral review throughout the year?  Did I teach isolated skills?  Did I let them approach it a way that made sense to them?  Did I allow them to work, sharing their strategies with classmates?  Seriously, if you are very traditional in your teaching, watch a struggling student trying to use a procedure, they never really understood, to solve a problem.

I am not saying get rid of good instruction but listen to your students.  If they don’t understand your method/procedure, let them make sense of it in their own way.  Number talks are an amazing way to start listening to student thinking. has some nice examples to consider.

IF you are posting statements to #boycottcommoncore please learn more.  Find out what its really about.