**IM Certified**^{®} Blog

^{®}Blog

## Promoting Change: Reflections from the UnboundEd Five-Day Standards Institute™ 2022

By Catherine Castillo, IM Mathematics Product Specialist In her book Culturally Responsive Teaching and the Brain, Zaretta Hammond states, “Engaging in reflection helps culturally responsive teachers recognize the beliefs,...

## The Story of Grade 8 Unit 3: Linear Relationships

By Ashli Black and Elisa Smith Grade 8 is a year marked by shifts in mathematical focus. Where grades 6 and 7 introduce students to negative numbers and using them in operations, grade 8 introduces them to irrational...

## Creating Collaborative Math Classrooms

This blog post was written by William McCallum, co-founder and CEO of Illustrative Mathematics, and originally posted on the ImagineLearning blog. Collaboration is a core value at Illustrative Mathematics. Creating a high...

## Tackling Wordy Problems: How the Three Reads Math Language Routine Supports Access for All Learners

by Joe Herbert “These problems are great, but they’re just so wordy. My students can’t handle all that reading!” Does this feel familiar? If so, you’re not alone! Many students and teachers struggle with the language...

## Getting Ready for 2022–23: Back to School Blog Posts

How do you get ready for a new school year? There is a lot to do, physically and emotionally. We hope you start the 2022–23 school year feeling rested, rejuvenated, and prepared. To support you, we have curated a collection...

## Empowering Students with the Geometry Reference Chart

By Tina Cardone Geometry class can feel like word salad, with a heavy sprinkling of notation on top. Students need to both process and produce mathematical language in the vast majority of the tasks they work on. Here is a...

## The Story of Grade 4

By Patti Drawdy and Yenche Tioanda “Why not start the year with place value?” Kaneka Turner, Grade 4 Lead Writer, hears this question often. Isn’t making sense of and operating on large numbers pretty essential in grade 4?...

## The IM Community Hub is Becoming the IM Resource Hub—Here’s Why

“Any time we go to the next unit I'm looking for what we can use, tweak, modify, build off of. Everyone is always checking the hub—it has saved us so much time in terms of planning this year.” “It made my ability to support...

## Creating a space for students to become expert learners

By Vanessa Cerrahoglu and Danielle Seabold, IM Certified® Facilitators Learners have brilliant mathematical ideas. How we teachers use IM 6–12 Math™ impacts how often students and teachers recognize this brilliance....

## Making IM Centers Work: Joyful Practice, Meaningful Fluency, and Authentic Assessment

By Maureen D. O’Connell “How is it going with your implementation of IM K–5 Math Centers?” That’s my favorite question to ask during professional learning for IM K–5 Math. The response is a pedagogical temperature check...

## How to Support Multilingual Learners With Higher Expectations

This blog post was written by Suzanne Marks, Partner, TNTP and originally posted on the TNTP blog. TNTP recently partnered with Stanford University’s Center for Understanding Language (UL) to develop strategies for ensuring...

## The Story of Grade 3

By Mike Henderson As a former grade 3 teacher, I know first hand how daunting teaching math at this level can be. On top of developing fluency with addition and subtraction within 1,000, students need to learn about new...

## The Story of Grade 2

By Mike Henderson Teaching addition and subtraction in grade 2 is a challenging balancing act. As students move from numbers within 100 to numbers within 1,000, they need to use approaches that involve directly representing...

## Towards Coherence

By William McCallum Last week, we had our first large-scale in-person event in quite a while, a training for new and returning facilitators in Baltimore, with over 110 facilitators and 13 employees attending. I gave a...

## IM Curriculum Provides Everything but the Kitchen Sink Needed for Lesson Planning

By Liza Bondurant, IM Certified® Facilitator/Associate Professor Do you spend hours hunting down materials for your lesson plans? How can you be sure the materials are aligned to your standards? How can you make your lesson...

## The Story of Kindergarten

By Alexandra Clayton Many 5 year olds love to tell you (and show you) how high they can count. This skill of rote counting, saying the counting words in the same order each time, is a lot like singing the ABCs . While...

## Using IM Algebra 1 Extra Support Materials to Address Unfinished Learning: An Example

By IM Professional Learning Team How do we attend to unfinished teaching and learning, while attending to grade-level expectations? Algebra 1 is often called a “gatekeeper.” Successful completion of Algebra 1 unlocks...

## Two Recommendations to Elevate Instruction

By Kate Nowak, IM Vice President of Curriculum Development and Portfolio “The more intensely interested a teacher is in a student’s thinking, the more interested the student becomes in his or her own thinking.”—Eleanor...

## Math Language Routines: Discourse with a Purpose

By Dr. Kristen Taylor, IM Certified® Facilitator Math teachers can talk all day about math! We get super excited when we encounter someone else who enjoys these conversations as well. But too many of our students don't get...

## Leveraging IM 6–12 Math Teacher Materials to Enhance Access to Grade-Level Mathematics

By Vanessa Cerrahoglu and Danielle Seabold, IM Certified® Facilitators Illustrative Mathematics (IM) believes each student has brilliant mathematical ideas has experiences and ideas that are valuable can make sense of and...

## The Story of Grade 1

By Brianne Durst Grade 1 teachers have the awesome responsibility of introducing their students to, and helping them build an understanding of, the structure of our number system. This is no small task! Just think about how...

## A Thread Through Early Algebra 1

By David Petersen, 6–12 Curriculum Specialist andAshli Black, Director, 6–12 Curriculum The Algebra 1 course in IM 9–12 Math™ begins with a unit on one-variable statistics, a choice that many find surprising. Why start with...

## Revisiting Distance Learning with IM K–12 Math™

With the surge of the Omicron variant, many schools are moving back to distance learning. Although we may not be excited to leave our classrooms again, we are better prepared for distance learning this time around. Most, if...

## Taking the Long View

By William McCallum A few weeks ago, my wife and I took a 17-day rafting trip through the Grand Canyon. We descended through the layers of rock, from the 270 million year old Kaibab sedimentary layer of chert, dolomite,...

## What Does IM Think About Unfinished Learning and Supporting Students with a Variety of Entry Points? (Grades 6–12)

By the IM Team In a class of 25 students, there are 25 different learners with 25 different backgrounds. Students come into the classroom with varied experiences with school, with mathematical content, and with life. While...

## In the Beginning: Unit 1 in Kindergarten

By Alex Clayton When was the last time you stepped into an entirely new environment? You weren’t sure exactly what was going to happen. There was no one you recognized. How did you feel: Uncertain? Anxious? Hopeful? During...

## Illustrative Mathematics Celebrates 10 Years: Letter from the CEO

2021 marks our 10th anniversary at Illustrative Mathematics, and we couldn’t be more proud to have impacted so many hundreds of thousands of students, teachers, and families since our humble beginnings in 2011. Our business...

## Using IM K–5 Math™ to Support Cognitively Guided Instruction (CGI)

By Mike Henderson “The activities require skills that students are not taught prior to doing the activity. They’re expected to just jump right in. Why isn’t there more modeling or re-teaching of basic skills so students can...

## Remembering Bob Moses

By William McCallum and Kristin Umland "Math literacy will be a liberation tool for people trying to get out of poverty and the best hope for people trying not to get left behind.” —Bob Moses, 1935–2021 Bob Moses, the civil...

## Together Apart: Amplifying the “Gift of Student Thinking” in Distance Learning with IM

By Maureen D. O’Connell, IM K–5 Math™ Pilot Teacher,IM Certified® Facilitator for IM K–5 Math “The more intensely interested a teacher is in a student’s thinking, the more interested the student becomes in his or her own...

## Gifts: A Reflection on Student Thinking

By Elham Kazemi, Co-Author of Intentional Talk and Professor at University of Washington “Gifts from the earth or from each other establish a particular relationship, an obligation of sorts to give, to receive, and to...

## Unlocking Learners’ Thinking Using the Mathematical Language Routines

By IM Certified Facilitators, Cheryl Fricchione and Rachel Rundstrom Consider this:A child whose primary language isn’t English does not participate in the classroom to the degree that their English-speaking peers do....

## FASTalk: Activating the Power of Families to Support Mathematics

By Elisabeth O’Bryon, co-founder and Chief Impact Officer at Family Engagement Lab and Megan Lorio, Managing Editor at Family Engagement Lab Engaging families in meaningful and equitable ways is a cornerstone of student...

## Choosing Math Tools and Representations that Work:

“100 chart-less in Grade 2”

By Maureen D. O’Connell, Math Specialist Some math tools and representations help students solve in-the-moment problems. Other math tools and representations help students solve problems and grow their conceptual...

## Multi-grade Classrooms and

IM K–5 Math™

By Jen Hawkins, IM Facilitator and IM K-5 Product Specialist Illustrative Mathematics believes that students can achieve success as mathematical thinkers by working through problems and consolidating their learning through...

## Introducing the IM Implementation Reflection Tool

by Liz Ramirez, Director of Implementation “This makes the expectations for what I need to change visible.” “It’s not about the tool. It’s about the conversation using the tool.” Quotes from leaders who participated in IM’s...

## Getting Ready for 2021–22: Back to School Blog Posts

By the IM Team Educators still face a great deal of uncertainty heading into the 2021–22 school year. Maybe you’ve already started planning for it. Maybe you’ve avoided planning for it. Maybe your school year has already...

## A Love for Math Reignited

By Michael Ramirez, Senior Coordinator of School Transformation, Elementary Math When I began school as a kindergartener, I absolutely adored math. As a lower elementary school student, I remember relatives asking me what...

## IM K–5 Math: An End and a Beginning

By William McCallum On March 20, 2015, I received the following email: Thank you for submitting your proposals to the K–12 OER Collaborative. We are pleased to advise you that Illustrative Mathematics has been selected as a...

## Culturally Responsive Teaching and Math

By Asya Howlette, Director of Mathematics and Science at Thurgood Marshall Raise your hand if you have been perplexed by professional learning that told you your class needs to be culturally responsive, but left you...

## Differentiating Instruction with

IM 6–12 Math™

By Max Ray-Riek, Director of 6–12 Professional Learning In my role at IM, working with teachers and administrators, I am asked to help with the challenges of implementing an IM curriculum. We are often asked, “How can I...

## Fluency Development Within and Across the Grades in IM K–5 Math™, part 4: Multiplication and Division

By Dionne Aminata, Grade 2–5 Lead Writer and Sarah Caban, Grade 5 Lead Writer“Some students are never given the opportunity to engage with mathematics in rich and meaningful ways that emphasize critical thinking and problem...

## Fluency Development Within and Across the Grades in IM K–5 Math™, part 3: Multiplication and Division

By Dionne Aminata, Grade 2–5 Lead Writer and Sarah Caban, Grade 5 Lead Writer “The idea of being a ‘math person’ is based on two pervasive world views; first, the so-called ‘fixed’ mindset, that what one knows about math...

## What does it mean to enjoy mathematics?

By William McCallum When I started this series of blog posts on what it means to know, use, and enjoy mathematics, I thought this one would be the easiest. Math is fun, right? How could you not enjoy mathematics? I...

## Fluency Development Within and Across the Grades in IM K-5 Math™, part 2: Addition and Subtraction

By Sarah Caban, Grade 5 Lead Writer and Dionne Aminata, Grade 2–5 Lead Writer"We have to break from the notion that learning mathematics must be a linear and procedural endeavor mastered through rote practice and...

## Fluency Development Within and Across the Grades in IM K–5 Math™, part 1: Addition and Subtraction

By Sarah Caban, Grade 5 Lead Writer and Dionne Aminata, Grade 2–5 Lead WriterWhen do students practice their math facts? How is math fluency assessed?”—current and prospective IM K-5 Math™ teachers everywhere We...

## The Joy of Fluency

By William McCallum I'm not a very good skier, but I have once or twice in my life experienced the joy of a perfect run: gliding down the slopes, taking each turn with confidence. And I've had terrible runs where I...

## A Circumference By Any Other Name…

By Becca Phillips You can’t tell a child “there’s no such thing as monsters” because, well, then, why is there a word for it? I was given this advice when my own daughter was an infant, but I’ve thought a lot about it over...

## Building Equitable Learning Environments for Each Student

By Danielle Seabold All students can be successful in mathematics. For most mathematics educators, we lean into this. We believe that all students can learn mathematics, that they can be successful. However, as we focus our...

## Explorations in IM K–5 Math: Challenges for Curious Students

By Jen Hawkins and Mike Nakamaye What do we do with curious students who are ready, willing, and able to go further with math ideas? Some students cannot wait to dig deeper into the mathematics they are studying in class....

## What Does It Mean to Use Mathematics?

By William McCallum Our vision at Illustrative Mathematics is a world where all learners know, use, and enjoy mathematics. In my last post I picked up that first verb and talked about what it means to know mathematics. In...

## Supporting Culturally Responsive Pedagogy with IM K–5 Math™

By Dionne Aminata “We are striving to . . . compose a country committed to all cultures, colors, characters, and conditions of man. And so we lift our gazes not to what stands between us, but what stands before us.” Poet...

## IM 6–12 Math: Grading and Homework Policies and Practices

By Jennifer Willson In my role at IM, working with teachers and administrators, I am asked to help with the challenges of implementing an IM curriculum. One of the most common challenges is: how can we best align these...

## By the End of Grade 3: Developing Fluency with Multiplication

By Zack Hill The major work of grade 3 includes representing and solving problems that involve multiplication and division. Then, by the end of grade 3, students are expected to know from memory all products of two...

## Growing with the IM Community Hub

By Portia Gibbs Roseboro, Britnee Wright, Justin Brennan The IM Community Hub, affectionately known as “The Hub,” was created to support educators using the IM Curriculum in navigating what teaching looks like now....

## What does it mean to know mathematics?

By William McCallum A world where all learners know, use, and enjoy mathematics. Perhaps the most mysterious verb in the IM vision—a world where all learners know, use, and enjoy mathematics—is the first one: know. Knowing...

## Preparing for the Unknown: Our Journey to Virtual Facilitation

By Ashley Powell and Moniquea Willingham The excitement and nervousness in the room was almost palpable! There were approximately forty facilitators present for the 3-day IM K–5 Curriculum training in Dallas, Texas. We...

## The Nuances of Understanding a Fraction as a Number

By Kristin Gray This was originally posted on Kristin Gray’s personal blog, Math Minds, on November 15, 2020. Student work is just the best. It is the one thing that will always motivate me to write! So, let’s kick this...

## Creating Time and Space for Students to Develop Foundational Mathematical Ideas

By Maureen D. O'Connell “Slow down, you’re moving too fast, you got to make the morning last...” When we consider early childhood mathematics this familiar song comes to mind. In our hurried society where more is more,...

## Reading Graphs is a Complex Skill

by William McCallum Newspapers are full of graphs, far more than 10 or 20 years ago. Indeed, I have a graph to show that! (Source, Priceonomics) And yet I wonder how often readers see graphs as pictures illustrating a...

## Making Sense of Story Problems

by Deborah Peart, Grade 2 Lead Many people have an aversion to word problems. They cringe at the mention of them. In elementary classrooms, teachers often report that this is what their students struggle with most. When...

## The Story of Grade 5

by Sarah Caban From the start of the year, we want students to know they are capable of engaging in grade-level mathematics. In the Opportunity Myth (2018), data shows that there is an opportunity gap for historically...

## Using IM’s Distance Learning Resources to Create a Hybrid Learning Plan

By Lorie Banks Trying to plan for the 2020–2021 school year has been like trying to fly the airplane while building the wings. I am a career educator—a middle grades math teacher in an urban district in Western...

## Planning for the Student Experience

by Sarah Caban and Kristin Gray Teachers are so amazing and resilient. Amid all of the many thoughts and feelings about the challenges this school year brings, conversation continually revolves around their students. When...

## Facilitating the “Choral Counting” Routine Online

by Janaki Nagarajan How can we best do mathematics together in an online environment? When school suddenly shifted online last spring, I found myself overwhelmed by the learning curve for new technologies—for both myself...

## Helping Elementary Students Cultivate a Strong Math Community

by LaToya Byrd and Jenna Laib School looks different this year. It’s easy to focus on the changes that will need to be made—the new practices, the new routines, the new technologies—but we must first focus on our central...

## Equitable Teaching Practices in IM 6–12 Math

by Tina Cardone The vision of Illustrative Mathematics is to create a world where learners know, use, and enjoy mathematics. This raises the question: Which learners? And what role do the authors of a curriculum play in...

## English Learners and Distance Learning: Math Language Routines

by Vanessa Cerrahoglu, Jennifer Wilson, and Liz Ramirez We envision creating a world where learners know, use, and enjoy mathematics. Knowing and using math goes beyond calculating and evaluating. We create purposeful...

## New IM 6–12 Resources for Addressing Unfinished Learning and Engaging Students in Distance Learning

by David Petersen and Kate Nowak In our previous post, we described how we are thinking about planning for next fall. We are also creating some new resources to support users of IM K–12 Math in the fall. Some of this is to...

## Coming Together Around Distance Learning

By William McCallum I can't imagine what it must feel like right now to be a teacher facing the uncharted territory that is the coming school year. Will I be teaching 100% online, or have some face-to-face interaction with...

## English Learners and Distance Learning: Compare and Connect

By Vanessa Cerrahoglu, Jennifer Wilson, and Liz Ramirez We envision creating a world where learners know, use, and enjoy mathematics. Knowing and using math goes beyond calculating and evaluating. We create purposeful...

## English Learners and Distance Learning: Co-Craft Questions

By Jennifer Wilson and Liz Ramirez We envision creating a world where learners know, use, and enjoy mathematics. Knowing and using math goes beyond calculating and evaluating. We create purposeful opportunities for students...

## English Learners and Distance Learning: Clarify, Critique, Correct

By Jennifer Wilson and Liz Ramirez We want to acknowledge that we are all in different situations that shape how we respond to the call to adapt our teaching to fit a model for distance learning. This impacts the access we...

## Looking to the Fall, Part 2: Creating a Supportive Resource for K–5 Teachers

By Kristin Gray, Director K–5 Curriculum and Professional Learningand Kevin Liner, IM K–5 Professional Learning Lead In our previous post, we highlighted important considerations in planning to support students in the fall....

## Looking Ahead to 2020–21 in IM 6–8 Math and IM Algebra 1, Geometry, and Algebra 2

By David Petersen, Lead Curriculum Writer and Kate Nowak, Director of K–12 Curriculum Strategy This school year has been strange and stressful, and there is uncertainty about what next year will look like. Due to school...

## Looking to the Fall, Part 1: Welcoming and Supporting K–5 Students

By Kristin Gray, Director K–5 Curriculum and Professional Learningand Kevin Liner, IM K–5 Professional Learning Lead It is overwhelming to think about how teaching and learning will look in the fall. The uncertainty of the...

## English Learners and Distance Learning: Enhancing Access

By Liz Ramirez Which students are experiencing success in today’s “distance learning”? What barriers do other students face? While virtual learning platforms have made it possible for some live instruction to continue...

## Thoughts on the Back-to-School Problem

By William McCallum One of the consolations in these difficult times has been tweets and Youtube videos of parents discovering just what it takes to be a teacher. Maybe it takes a crisis like this to restore the respect...

## IM Talking Math 6–8: Resources for Weekly Re-engagement

By IM 6–8 Math Team This week, IM is launching a new resource to support students and teachers with distance learning. Each week we will publish an open-ended prompt or image that invites math conversation, and a series of...

## IM Talking Math

By Kristin Gray Most importantly, I hope everyone is taking care of themselves, their families, and others as much as they are able to during this time. With schools and districts pushing instruction online with a quick...

## Planning for Learning in Spring of 2020

Some schools are sending home printed packets and establishing teacher office hours by phone. Some are conducting their regular class schedule, but online. And lots are doing something in between. We understand that it is...

## Using math to make decisions in today’s pandemic

By William McCallum At Illustrative Mathematics, our mission is to create a world where all learners know, use, and enjoy mathematics. This is not just an idle wish, one that we have because we love mathematics. Sometimes...

## Aggregated Support for the IM Math Community in Spring 2020

We want to share our deepest gratitude for the work each of you has been doing to protect yourselves, your families, your students, and your school communities, as you face hard decisions about how to support students while...

## Links to Resources for Shifting Instruction Online

First and most importantly, take care of yourself, your family, and your students. That might not look like doing math, or it might. To the extent that it’s useful, we have curated this list of resources recommended by our...

## Links to Math Resources for Caregivers

Here is a collection of links the content team here at IM has used with our own students and kids to start mathematical conversations, play math games together, explore new topics, come up with projects, and have fun. There...

## Shifting Practices: Helping Everyone—from Students to Administration—Find their Voice in the Math Classroom

It was easy to say yes! By Crystal Magers Last spring, I was approached by our Math Coordinator and asked about piloting a new math program. I knew my staff was ready for building-wide consistency and we were ready to try...

## K–5 Curriculum Design Features that Support Equity and Inclusion

By Dionne Aminata Before I joined the K–5 curriculum writing team at IM, I was a K–8 regional math content specialist for a public charter organization that largely consisted of Title I schools, or schools receiving federal...

## Rethinking Instruction for Lasting Understanding: An Example

By Kate Nowak How do we help our students build mathematical understandings that endure past the unit test? If we want students to construct strong, reliable bases of mathematical knowledge, our instruction needs to do more...

## When is a number line not a number line?

By William McCallum The number line is a seemingly simple object: a straight line with two points marked 0 and 1. Those two points are the seeds of great complexity, however. Whole numbers are located at positions marked...

## The Art of Reflection

“In times of stress, the best thing we can do for each other is to listen with our ears and our hearts and to be assured that our questions are just as important as our answers.” —Mr. (Fred) Rogers By Kaneka Turner We are...

## Ratio Tables are not Elementary

By William McCallum In grade 3, as students start to learn about multiplication, they think about products like 6 x 7 in terms of equal groups. 6 x 7 is the number of things when you have 6 groups with 7 things in each...

## Could you—or someone you know—be our newest IM Certified Facilitator? The Critical Role of IM Certified Facilitators.

“What I find distinguishes IM is that IM Certified Facilitators are uniquely supported by the IM authoring team to ensure the integrity of the curriculum remains intact.” By Kiana Porter-Isom I was always interested in...

## Using Diagrams to Build and Extend Student Understanding

By Jenna Laib and Kristin Gray Take a moment to think about the value of each expression below. $\frac{1}{4}\times \frac{1}{3}$ $\frac{1}{4}\times \frac{2}{3}$ $\frac{2}{4}\times \frac{2}{3}$ $\frac{3}{4}\times...

## The 5 Practices: Looking at Differentiation Through a New Lens

By Catherine Castillo Our district had seen a downhill trend in standardized test scores in mathematics. This forced us, as educators, to take an intentional look at our teaching practices. The past few years have been an...

## Learning through Teaching

By William McCallum I was in New Orleans a couple of weeks ago visiting a school using IM 6–8 Math and was inspired by the efforts the school was making to implement problem-based instruction. I saw teachers at different...

## Building a Math Community with IM K–5 Math

“I’m not sure this is working. Only five of my students are participating and commenting each day. The rest sit there and look at me.” By Tabitha Eutsler This was my conversation with our math coordinator after my first few...

## Creating an Accessible Mathematical Community with IM K–5: the power of “yet” for students and adults

Does the perfect elementary math curriculum exist? Armed with a growth mindset and the Alpha IM K–5 curriculum, teachers in Ipswich Public Schools push their thinking to reach all mathematicians. By Maureen D. O’Connell I...

## Using Instructional Routines to Inspire Deep Thinking

We want students to think about math deeply. Creatively. Analytically. Instead, what often happens is that students race towards quick solutions. So what can we do to support this other kind of thinking in class—the slow,...

## Making Authentic Modeling Possible

The first thing you have to understand is that asking people to model with mathematics makes them mad. Not in all contexts, though! At a social gathering with a generally amiable and curious group of people, you might try...

## Which Vertex is the Center of a Triangle?

By William McCallum I am sometimes asked what is the secret to the success of our curriculum, what is the special property that sets it apart from other curricula. That question is like the one in the title of this blog...

## Updates to Supports for Students with Disabilities and English Language Learners in IM 6–8 Math

At Illustrative Mathematics we are committed to creating a world where learners know, use, and enjoy mathematics. We believe that every student can learn grade-level mathematics with the right opportunities and support. Our...

## Preparing for the School Year, Updated with Tips for Staying on Pace

Last year, we put together some reading to help people get started planning their year with IM 6–8. Now, we have another year’s worth of blog posts to choose from, plus a shiny, new high school curriculum! So once again,...

## Building a Supportive Home/School Partnership

While families arrive with different school experiences and perspectives on what “doing math” means, they often share common questions: What do I need to know to set my child up for success in math this year? and How can I...

## Co-Creating Classroom Norms with Students

Establishing norms is critical to creating an environment where all students see themselves as knowers and doers of mathematics. Reflecting on the Illustrative Mathematics mission statement, Creating a world where learners...

## Explicit Classroom Norms to Teach Kids How to Learn From Solving Problems

This blog post is the fourth in a series of four blog posts exploring the student experience of problem-based learning. The first three posts are available here: (1) “How Do Students Perceive Problem-Based Learning?” (2)...

## First Impressions: The First Units in IM K–5 Math

“I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” Maya Angelou By Kristin Gray When I think back to my 8th grade math class, I...

## Concrete Representations that Give Students a Way to Get Started

This blog post is the third in a series of four blog posts exploring the student experience of problem-based learning. The first two posts are available here: “How Do Students Perceive Problem-Based Learning?” and “Inviting...

## Introducing IM Certified 9–12 Math

IM Algebra 1, Geometry, and Algebra 2 courses are now available to all. Alright, folks, this is not a drill: IM 9–12 Math is now available to all. By Ashli Black So now what? To help folks dive into the curriculum, we’ve...

## Inviting Students to the Mathematics

How do we invite students to the mathematics, and explicitly signal to kids that they have ideas that matter in math class? By Max Ray-Riek In this series of blog posts, the first of which is available here, we’re exploring...

## How Do Students Perceive Problem-Based Learning?

Does problem-based learning mean students need to forget everything they knew about how to act in math class? By Max Ray-Riek As a teacher, and then as a coach and teacher-educator, I’ve been thinking for a long time about...

## Making Peace with the Basics of Trigonometry

Six months ago, I hated trigonometry. By Becca Phillips In fact, when my daughter missed a week of school, she announced on her first day back, “Someone has to teach me trig because I missed the whole thing.” Her father...

## Realizing the promise of open resources, part II

By William McCallum In my first post on the topic of realizing the promise of open educational resources, I described the IM Certified program. Our partners offer multiple versions, including a free online version and...

## Storytelling in the IM K-5 Math Curriculum

By Kristin Gray, Director of K–5 Curriculum & Professional Learning Curriculum "An excellent mathematics program includes a curriculum that develops important mathematics along coherent learning progressions and...

## The Power of Small Ideas

By William McCallum, IM President Big ideas are popular in mathematics education, and you can find many lists of big ideas on the web. Some are more thoughtful than others, and I can see how some might be useful for...

## Making Sense of Distance in the Coordinate Plane

By Linda Richard, Curriculum Writer I used to teach my high school students a catchy song to memorize the distance formula. We all had fun goofily singing this song. My students hummed it to themselves during tests and...

## Designing Coherent Learning Experiences K-12

By Kristin Gray, Director of K–5 Curriculum & Professional Learning One challenge in curriculum design is considering all we know and believe to be true about math teaching and learning and translating that into...

## Developing Conceptual Understanding and Procedural Fluency

By Melissa Schumacher, Curriculum Writer Which is more important for students to have: conceptual understanding or procedural fluency? Does one have to be taught before the other can emerge? Some argue that procedure has to...

## NCSM NCTM Recap

Illustrative Mathematics It was great to see so many of you at NCSM and NCTM in San Diego. If we missed you, or you weren’t able to attend, read our NCSM and NCTM round-up below. We enjoyed the conversations we had with...

## What is a Measurable Attribute?

By Kristin Umland,VP Content Development A great conversation I had with the IM elementary school curriculum writing team got me thinking: What is a measurable attribute? That is, when given an object, what can we measure...

## Rigor in Proofs

By Tina Cardone, Geometry Lead, & Gabriel Rosenberg, Curriculum Writer There is no doubt that proof plays a central role in the human endeavor of mathematics, but there remains much debate on what role it should play in...

## Presenting IM Algebra 1, Geometry, Algebra 2

By Kate Nowak When I was teaching high school mathematics, my local colleagues and I spent a whole lot of time creating problem-based lessons. We were convinced that this style of instruction was a good way to learn, but...

## How do you start the year?

By Ashli Black, Algebra 2 Lead Students need a chance at the beginning of the year to shake off the summer dust. Learn how IM's curricular design builds in opportunities for review while starting the year with inviting,...

## Representing Subtraction of Signed Numbers: Can You Spot the Difference?

By Greta Anderson & Patti Drawdy, IM Certified Facilitator I read the lesson three times through, but was still unsure why the number line below shows $3 - 7$. My aha moment arrived courtesy of the grade 1 standards....

## Planning Lessons for a Block Schedule

By Jennifer Wilson and Vanessa Cerrahoglu Update 2021 - August: IM has created block schedule guidance for IM 6-8 Math v.III and IM 9-12 Math v.I. Get unit guidance on how to customize the curriculum to fit your block...

## IM K-5 Math: Designing for Each Student

By Noelle Conforti Preszler and Kristin Gray In the following activity, think about the students in your classroom. How might each respond? What do you notice? What do you wonder? This activity is the drafted warm-up of the...

## What is problem-based instruction?

By William McCallum When I was a child, I used to get puzzle books out of the library. One of the puzzles was the twelve-coin problem, the most difficult of all coin weighing problems. My mother and I worked on it...

## Extra Supports for Algebra 1: The Gateway Resources

By Sadie Estrella Illustrative Mathematics’ high school curriculum is scheduled to be released this summer. This is an exciting time for Algebra 1, Geometry, and Algebra 2 teachers. I honestly am ready to take a job at a...

## Realizing the promise of open resources

By William McCallum All of our curriculum here at Illustrative Mathematics is released under a Creative Commons Attribution (CC-BY) license, which allows anyone to "copy and redistribute the material in any medium or...

## Truth and Consequences Revisited

By William McCallum What are extraneous solutions? A while ago I wrote a blog post about solving equations where I talked about seeing the steps in solving equations as logical deductions. Thus the steps \begin{align*}3x +...

## What is the Time? It Depends…

Q: What is the fastest way to get a heated debate going about some topic in the IM 6–-8 math curriculum? A: Show people this graph from Lesson 4 in Unit 8.5: By Kristin Umland Many of us learned that time is always the...

## What is Multiplication?

Multiplication is vexation, Division is as bad; The Rule of Three doth puzzle me, And Practice drives me mad. (old nursery rhyme.) Some people might answer that multiplication is repeated addition. For example, $5 \times 7$...

## The Power of Noticing and Wondering

My first years of teaching, I worried my students looked at me much like Ben Stein as the teacher in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. I cringe to think about the series of monotonous and leading questions I strung together to a...

## Catalyzing Change through the IM Algebra 1, Geometry, Algebra 2 Math

NCTM has called for structural and curricular changes in high school mathematics. Learn about how IM's high school curriculum is aligned with the vision put forth by NCTM to end tracking, implement effective targeted...

## Proof in IM’s High School Geometry (A Sneak Preview)

Supporting high-school students to write detailed, precise proofs is challenging. Learn about some of the design elements that IM used to invite students to a deep exploration of proof. In IM’s high school Geometry...

## Why is 3 – 5 = 3 + (-5)?

By William McCallum You will never have to subtract again. Students sometimes learn about addition and subtraction of integers using integer chips. These are circular chips, with a yellow chip representing +1 and a red chip...

## Professional Learning Through a Fraction Task Progression

Teaching mathematics is a continuous cycle of identifying where each student is in their learning trajectory and determining meaningful ways in which to build on their current understandings. While we...

## Engaging All Students in Meaningful Mathematics

“At the end of the day, this wasn’t about focusing on the objective, it was about making the objective meaningful to him.” The work of teaching is both invigorating and challenging. We want to instill a love of math and...

## Parent Math Night Using Illustrative Mathematics

Open House night; cue anxiety and sweaty palms! Hope my students’ parents don’t mind. I just began my seventh year of teaching middle school mathematics. Middle school is a limbo land filled with prepubescent pre-teens,...

## Planning for Meaningful Practice

There is no shortage of available math resources for teachers to use in their classrooms. The difficult and time-consuming job for teachers is weeding through all of the tools to decide which best supports students in...

## Say What You Mean and Mean What You Say

By William McCallum In one of our professional development workshops, there is an activity in which the facilitator asks teachers to skip count by $\frac34$. The facilitator records the count, $\frac34$, $\frac64$,...

## What is right about wrong answers?

When I first started teaching, at the end of each day, I would open my teacher’s guide, grab my pen, and thumb through the stack of completed worksheets. My eyes would dart quickly from the red answers in the teacher’s...

## What I Learned Today: Scale Drawings & Maps

I asked my 15-year-old what she learned today at school. She paused for a moment and then answered, “What did you learn at school today?” It took me a while to think about what I had learned (which will make me more...

## The IM Curriculum Changed How I Think About Math Instruction

Growing up we usually think we are either a math person or not a math person. But, in preparing for this year I saw a picture that said ‘How to be a math person: Step 1: Do math Step 2: Be a person’ and I really started to...

## Planning to Use Pre-Unit Assessments

Time to start a new unit! What do you need to know before your students enter the room? NCTM’s Principles to Actions names several productive beliefs about assessments that will promote mathematical success for all. At the...

## IM Preparing for the School Year

There are always so many things to do in preparation for a new school year. At this point of the summer, to-do lists start getting made, materials get purchased, rooms are organized, and math class planning begins....

## Building a Supportive Home/School Partnership

By Kristin Gray, Jenna Laib, Sarah Caban Open House. Back-to-School Night. Family Welcome. Math Night. No matter what the name of the event that launches the school year, family members will arrive at your school with the...

## Building a Mathematical Classroom Community

Classroom environments that foster a sense of community that allows students to express their mathematical ideas—together with norms that expect students to communicate their mathematical thinking to their peers and...

## Fractions: Units and Equivalence

By William McCallum “I'm afraid I can't explain myself, sir. Because I am not myself, you see?” Alice in Wonderland. The idea of equivalence in mathematics is tricky for learners, because when we talk about two things being...

## 5th Grade: Decimal Place Value

By Kristin Gray There are some standards I think we do such a great job developing in early elementary, but never revisit explicitly when students learn about different numbers such as fractions and decimals. I blogged...

## The Intersection of Fraction Talks and Clothesline Math: Formative Assessment and the 5 Practices

By Jenna Laib My sixth graders are weary of pre-assessments. No matter how many times we discuss the goal of a pre-assessment–for me to learn more about their current strategies and understandings, so that I can design...