Sunday, March 25, 2018

My Summer Reading List

It's only spring break, yet I'm already thinking ahead to my summer pile of teacher reading material. I've got plans to read:

This one is no surprise to anyone who knows me well. I have to read every word Regie Routman prints. Some day, I'd really love to sit down and have a conversation with her. She's my hero.

I'm a huge fan of these authors. If you haven't read their previous book, A Mindset for Learning, you're missing out. They're both just incredibly smart about kids and classroom practices.

I "met" Joan Wink when one of her grandsons was in my class about six years ago. She's been on my side ever since. She has an amazing story to tell. I'm so looking forward to reading this one.

Which brings me to this final book. I'm actually not going to read this one, but I'd be so honored if you did. I published Gatekeepers last June, and I've had the privilege of sharing it with over 300 people. I'd love to share it with you too. As you're making your summer wish list on Amazon or tagging books you want to read on Goodreads, I'd like to recommend Gatekeepers as an option. (You can find reviews on both sites.) I do believe with all my 24 years of teaching that it's a reflective and inspiring compilation of thoughts that any educator can learn from. I'd be so tickled to share it with you.

Pin It!

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Visualizing: A Mathematical Must

Close your eyes. Visualize 8 on a ten frame. What do you see? How many are on top? How many on the bottom? How many blank spots are there? Turn and describe what you see to your neighbor. Go. 

This kind of thing has been happening often during the past few weeks in my classroom. Through the guidance of Christina Tondevold from, I have seen the light, and the light is called visualizingThe results leave me wondering, Why haven't I been doing this for 24 years? It seems so obvious now that it's officially become a staple of number sense in my room.

Asking my mathematicians to visualize and to visualize within the structure of a ten frame is helping them make huge connections. For one thing, it helps them with facts. If a child can visualize 8, he can see the extra 2 spots that are needed to make 10. Today my class used visualizing in order to use the Make 10 strategy. After days of visualizing, ten frames, scaffolding, and a gradual release of responsibility (all credit goes to Christina Tondevold), a majority of my students were able to explain how to solve the problem below. In fact, my notation came directly from their mouths.

"Give 2 to the 8 to make 10. That leaves 2 left out. 10 plus 2 equals 12." 
(Do not try this at home without all the essential conceptual steps.)

Why can they do this? Because they can visualize. When one of my mathematicians decided to use her free time to solve an additional problem (9 + 5), she knew to give 1 to the 9 but then got stuck in her notation. She didn't automatically know what was left from the 5. As soon as I said, "Visualize 5 on the ten frame. Now take one away. How many are left?" she instantly wrote 4. It was kind of magical.

I will forever now promote visualizing as an essential math strategy. It gives all kids access to numbers. It's really a must. Thank you Christina for leading me to the light!

P.S. It's possible I'm the only one on the planet who didn't know this already, so thanks for celebrating with me regardless. :)

Pin It!

Sunday, March 11, 2018

March Madness Year #3

If you haven't heard of the book lover's version of March Madness, you and your students are missing out. This is my third year using it in my classroom, and though it might take some prep time to find the perfect 16 books for our tournament, it's well worth the effort. The right books will be the same books the children will then want to read over and over. They'll ignite questions between readers like, "Can I read that when you're done?" If you want to know more about my previous March Madness tournaments, find a free voting sheet that helps us keep track of votes, and get some great book ideas, simply click on topic "March Madness" on the right-hand side of my blog under "Labels."

Here's a picture of this year's poster. Enjoy!

Pin It!