Archive for Uncategorized

Thursday, September 12th, 2019

Routines to support math talk

Love how my friends at Howard County share all their wonderful math resources.

Look fors by my friend John San Giovanni gets at the heart of meaningful math teaching!!!



Wednesday, September 11th, 2019

Math Modeling Networked Improvement Communities (MMNIC)

Lewis, C. (2015). What is improvement science? Do we need it in education? Educational Researcher, 44(1), 54–61.

process of improving practice through systematic inquiry


Education researchers engage in improving practice, but their findings are seldom shared beyond their school, district, or state (Zeichner, 2001). Thus, promising practices often are not implemented in new contexts or are implemented on a large scale without the necessary capacity to do so and without careful attention to the challenges of implementation (Bryk et al., 2015; Coburn & Stein, 2010)

Thursday, August 29th, 2019

Motivated-COMPUTE Equity

As I begin a new semester with excited new pre-service teachers, I am inspired by Ilana Horn’s book @ilana_horn, Motivated- Designing Math Classrooms Where Students Want to Join In! She identifies five features of a motivational classroom: Students’ sense of belongingness, the meaningfulness of learning, students’ competence, structures for accountability and students’ autonomy. Dr. Horn shared how the mathematics classrooms are socially risky places and how we need to decrease that social risk to increase student participation and math talk. Thank you to stellar teachers like @pegcagle, Rafranz Davis, Sadie Estrella, Chris Luniak, Fawn Ngyuen, Elizabeth Statmore who open up their practices and routines that motivate student participation. I believe all their effort builds each and every student to have math power. M-power “empower” as I like to call it.

This powerful message aligns with 7 best equitable teaching practices that I call COMPUTE to provide equity in the math classroom that I will share with my pre-service teachers and with teachers I work with Lesson Study.

COMPUTE for Equitable Teaching and Learning in the Math Classroom

  • Caring, celebrating and connecting to cultural diversity, cultural contexts and the world we live in to engage in mathematics.
  • Owning the math-  Allow students to share their mathematical thinking and author math ideas that builds on collective knowledge
  • Motivating student to learn by providing experience that taps into learners curiosity and interest where they find challenge and academic success.
  • Problem Posing and Problem Solving as the core math activities to develop metacognition.
  • Understanding with competence and confidence that builds  students’ math identity
  • Targeted feedback to math learning for individual needs and accountable learning
  • Emotionally supportive learning environment where learners feel safe, valued and cared for where mistakes are embraced as steps to learning.

(See blog connecting COMPUTE Equity with Math Modeling Activities that Connect to Students Lived Experiences

Wednesday, August 28th, 2019

Why reflect on Past, Present and Future Math Classroom Experiences

Research shows that teachers have rich lived experiences that impacts their beliefs about math teaching and learning. Many have had meaningful eureka moments in math when they first discovered the beauty of the pattern in numbers like seeing how all the sums of odd numbers were square numbers or a phenomenal math happening like using math to figure out exactly how much food to prepare for a Thanksgiving! Well, you always overestimate when it comes to food and inviting company 🙂 The fact is that when push comes to shove, we teach the way we were taught. So if we really want to invite our students into learning environments where they feel like they belong, we will have to be sure we keep equitable teaching practices front and center. Van de walle et al (2019) showcases the 8 teaching practices that we hope all our aspiring teachers see in their present field placements and hope to implement in their future classrooms.

Sunday, August 25th, 2019

A call for teachers as designers and researchers

With the open access and availability of instructional resources on the internet, teachers need think more like teachers as designers and researchers and not just consumers of instructional materials. This is an important teaching skill that allows teachers to be more judicious when selecting tasks and materials for instruction, accessing student learning through action research in their respective classrooms.

Many of these resources are vetted by educators but individual teachers still owe it to themselves and their students to collect evidence of effectiveness based on their teaching context, student population and needs.

That is where EQUAL Mathematics comes in! This website is part of my instructional resources that helps teachers take existing units, lessons and tasks and supplement the material with an equitable teaching lens. How does the material attend to diverse learners who may need a connection to real world application? What are ways to engage each and every learner to activity participate in the sense making process as the lesson progresses so that one can build ownership in their math thinking? What are the multiple representations that are used to communicate math understanding in small groups and to build collective knowledge in the classroom? What routines for sense making and reasoning is encouraged to promote critical thinking ?

Here are some open educational resources (curriculum)
Also check these sites that I have archived for rich tasks

Friday, August 23rd, 2019

Essential Skills for Success for All 

Saturday, March 2nd, 2019

Grant for Teachers and Leaders

These are some smaller grants that I have seen success with teachers/leaders:

Grants of up to $3,000 are awarded to persons currently teaching mathematics in grades Pre-K-12 for the innovative use of technology and other tools to “help teachers and students visualize and concretize mathematics abstractions…”

Grades: PreK-5, 6-8, 9-12
Deadline: May 03, 2019
Classroom teachers receive up to $4,000 for support of in-service programs.
Grades: 9-12
Deadline: May 03, 2019
Classroom teachers receive up to $4,000 for support of in-service programs.
Grades: 6-8
Deadline: May 03, 2019
A program grant of up to $24,000 will be awarded to a classroom grades Pre-K–6 teacher seeking to improve his/her understanding and appreciation of mathematics by completing course work in school mathematics content and pedagogy working toward an advanced degree…
Grades: PreK-5, 6-8
Deadline: May 03, 2019

A grant with a maximum of $3,000 will be awarded for action research conducted as a collaborative by university faculty, preservice teacher(s), and classroom teacher(s) …

Grades: PreK-5, 6-8
Deadline: May 03, 2019
Updated! A scholarship with a maximum of $3,000 will be awarded to an individual currently teaching mathematics at the grades 6–12 level to complete credited course work in the history of mathematics…
Grades: 6-8, 9-12
Deadline: May 03, 2019

Classroom teachers receive up to $4,000 for support of in-service programs.

Grades: PreK-5

Other Grant & Fellowship Opportunities


Saturday, February 2nd, 2019

MSRI focusing on Math Modeling! 

Critical Issues in Mathematics Education 2019: Mathematical Modeling in K-16: Community and Cultural ContextsMarch 06, 2019 – March 08, 2019

OrganizersJulia Aguirre (University of Washington – Tacoma)LEAD Cynthia Anhalt (University of Arizona)Staffas Broussard (The Algebra Project)Ricardo Cortez (Tulane University)Michael Driskill (Math for America )Sol Garfunkel (Consortium for Mathematics and Its Applications (COMAP))Genetha Gray (Salesforce)Maria Hernandez (North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics)LEAD Rachel Levy (MAA – Mathematical Association of America)Javier Rojo (Oregon State

Show List of Speakers

Mathematical Modeling (MM) now has increased visibility in the education system and in the public domain. It appears as a content standard for high school mathematics and a mathematical practice standard across the K-12 curriculum (Common Core Standards; and other states’ standards in mathematics education).  Job opportunities are increasing in business, industry and government for those trained in the mathematical sciences. Quantitative reasoning is foundational for civic engagement and de…   Show more
Schedule, Notes/Handouts & Videos

Tuesday, November 21st, 2017

Art of Asking Good Questions

With my work with Mathematical Modeling and Teaching practices, I think hard about the art of asking questions.

Harvard Business School article by Pohlmann and Thomas (2015) write about “Relearning the Art of Asking Questions”

The curious four-year-old asks a lot of questions — incessant streams of “Why?” and “Why not?” might sound familiar — but as we grow older, our questioning decreases. In a recent poll of more than 200 of our clients, we found that those with children estimated that 70-80% of their kids’ dialogues with others were comprised of questions. But those same clients said that only 15-25% of their own interactions consisted of questions. Why the drop off? They suggest these four types of questions to achieve 4 different goals. Clarifying, adjoining, funneling (or focusing since funneling has a negative connotation with PtA practices) and elevating. It makes me think about the math questions we ask in our math classrooms. Some view of the problem is wide and some narrow- when we are looking for patterns that is trying to look at a set of repeated reasoning or patterns (narrow) then to make a generalization or general rule for cases (wide). Often times, we are clarifying what students are thinking and affirming their thinking and other times we are extending their thinking to discover something new.


Clarifying questions help us better understand what has been said. In many conversations, people speak past one another. Asking clarifying questions can help uncover the real intent behind what is said. These help us understand each other better and lead us toward relevant follow-up questions. “Can you tell me more?” and “Why do you say so?” both fall into this category. People often don’t ask these questions, because they tend to make assumptions and complete any missing parts themselves.

Adjoining questions are used to explore related aspects of the problem that are ignored in the conversation. Questions such as, “How would this concept apply in a different context?” or “What are the related uses of this technology?” fall into this category. For example, asking “How would these insights apply in Canada?” during a discussion on customer life-time value in the U.S. can open a useful discussion on behavioral differences between customers in the U.S. and Canada. Our laser-like focus on immediate tasks often inhibits our asking more of these exploratory questions, but taking time to ask them can help us gain a broader understanding of something.

Funneling questions are used to dive deeper. We ask these to understand how an answer was derived, to challenge assumptions, and to understand the root causes of problems. Examples include: “How did you do the analysis?” and “Why did you not include this step?” Funneling can naturally follow the design of an organization and its offerings, such as, “Can we take this analysis of outdoor products and drive it down to a certain brand of lawn furniture?” Most analytical teams – especially those embedded in business operations – do an excellent job of using these questions.

Elevating questions raise broader issues and highlight the bigger picture. They help you zoom out. Being too immersed in an immediate problem makes it harder to see the overall context behind it. So you can ask, “Taking a step back, what are the larger issues?” or “Are we even addressing the right question?” For example, a discussion on issues like margin decline and decreasing customer satisfaction could turn into a broader discussion of corporate strategy with an elevating question: “Instead of talking about these issues separately, what are the larger trends we should be concerned about? How do they all tie together?” These questions take us to a higher playing field where we can better see connections between individual problems.

Sunday, November 5th, 2017

Sparking a sense of Wonder- Curiosity a Pathway to Learning



Kids are relentless in their urge to learn and master. As John Medina writes in Brain Rules, “This need for explanation is so powerfully stitched into their experience that some scientists describe it as a drive, just as hunger and thirst and sex are drives.” Curiosity is what makes us try something until we can do it, or think about something until we understand it. Great learners retain this childhood drive, or regain it through another application of self-talk. Instead of focusing on and reinforcing initial disinterest in a new subject, they learn to ask themselves “curious questions” about it and follow those questions up with actions. Carol Sansone, a psychology researcher, has found, for example, that people can increase their willingness to tackle necessary tasks by thinking about how they could do the work differently to make it more interesting. In other words, they change their self-talk from This is boring to I wonder if I could…?

You can employ the same strategy in your working life by noticing the language you use in thinking about things that already interest you—How…? Why…? I wonder…?—and drawing on it when you need to become curious. Then take just one step to answer a question you’ve asked yourself: Read an article, query an expert, find a teacher, join a group—whatever feels easiest.

Changing Your Inner Narrative