Nikki's Blog

helping teachers teach math

My Math Class Has Changed Forever

Happy Summer! I know most of you are winding down towards the end of the school year and I wanted to take the time to share in more detail about using collaborative math teams in the hopes that you will consider using them in September. Since reading “Mathematical Mindsets” and...

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Assessment – Harmful or Helpful?

I recently took a GRE exam as part of my application for a PhD program in Mathematics Education. The exam consisted of several sections, all timed at either 30 or 35 minutes. There were essays, verbal reasoning sections and quantitative reasoning sections. It has been since my undergrad that I’ve...

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Using Games to Review Basic Facts and Practice Math-Talk Guidelines

Students love playing games! As you are likely busy reviewing some basic skills with your students, this is an opportune time to use games and to practice those Math-Talk Guidelines (see previous post for these guidelines). As games engage students in learning and with each other, they are a...

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Building a Math Culture in your Classroom

With the first week of school upon us I wanted to write a blog post on what I consider the most important first step of teaching math effectively; building a math culture in your classroom. There are many aspects that I consider really important when establishing your math class culture: open...

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Navigating a Class Through a Differentiated Task

Letting students struggle, persevere and even fail is integral to helping them learn problem solving skills. Helping students improve their problem solving abilities can be done by learning how to question and guide students through problem solving activities that help them to develop better...

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Examples of Differentiated Tasks: A Way to Meet the Needs of a Range of Abilities in One Class

What is a differentiated task? A differentiated task is a question or activity that allows for multiple entry points as well as multiple ways to solve. One of the purposes of using differentiated tasks is to meet the needs of the varying ability levels of students that we often find in a...

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A Math Class Make-Over: A Current Approach to Math Education

The changes in the math curriculum might seem small but they represent a very large philosophical shift. The traditional approach to teaching math has been to focus on procedures. We taught students how to do the math but there wasn’t a big focus on when we would use the math or why the...

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Dealing with Obstacles (Follow up to ‘Dividing Large Numbers’)

I had some great responses from the blog post – Dividing Large Numbers and teachers had some really good questions about dealing with obstacles. So here are some questions and suggestions: Question: What do I say to a student who knows how to do the long division algorithm already? My...

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Large Number Division- A Classroom Story

The other day I walked into a grade 6 classroom with my big bin of base 10 blocks and there was a buzz of excitement. Students, who are now accustomed to the style of lessons I generally teach, immediately start clearing their desktops to get ready for their blocks. One girl exclaimed “I love...

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Different Levels of Students in Your Class? How Math Manipulatives Can Help You Reach Them All

Most of us struggle with the wide ability ranges in our classes and are scrambling to find worksheets and textbooks for all of the varying levels of students, which quickly turns into a logistical nightmare! Many teachers think that manipulatives are used for remedial students, or those...

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