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 turnaround, everyone is experiencing unprecedented change.

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 something new. I easily said yes!

My teachers were offered training over the summer and access to the resources to begin teaching this fall.

After just a few weeks of instruction, my staff began to voice concerns.

Continue reading “Shifting Practices: Helping Everyone—from Students to Administration—Find their Voice in the Math Classroom”

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 funding to support a large concentration of students in poverty. Prior to that I had experienced the joys and challenges of serving communities like these as a teacher and math coach in South Central Los Angeles and Crown Heights Brooklyn.

“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 never more “on” than when we are teaching a lesson. All of our senses are heightened and all of our energy is focused on understanding students and being understood by the students we are teaching. Often times, it is not until the lesson is over that we have the mental space to look back over the student work samples and anecdotal notes, or replay scenes from the lesson in our minds to gain insight. I was reminded of this recently when I was invited to test out new problem-solving structures from IM K–5 Math’s Grade 4 Unit 8 in my colleague’s classroom.

By Jenna Laib and Kristin Gray

Take a moment to think about the value of each expression below.

$\frac{1}{4}\times \frac{1}{3}$

$\frac{1}{4}\times \frac{2}{3}$

$\frac{2}{4}\times \frac{2}{3}$

$\frac{3}{4}\times \frac{2}{3}$

What do you notice? How would you explain the things you notice?

If you are like us, or the students in Ms. Stark’s grade 5 classroom, you may have noticed many things. Things such as each expression has the same denominator, or the way in which the values increased as the problems progressed. When students notice these things, we often ask, ‘Why is that happening?” but it can be challenging to explain why beyond the procedure one followed.

“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 days of teaching IM K–5 MathTM with my third graders. Those five students were having great conversations. However, my other students just sat there wide-eyed, silent, and staring blankly at their papers. I felt lost. Was this the best for my students? Could we survive a whole year of math like this? I wanted my students to love math and have a deeper understanding of mathematical concepts. How would this get them there?

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 preach growth mindset daily. When my students say they can’t do something, they almost always add their own “…yet.” However, walking this walk as an elementary school teacher is another story. Creating, mastering, and modifying curricula to reach each and every student—in every content area—is a daunting expectation. We hold ourselves to near impossible standards.

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

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, deep kind?

By Jenna Laib

One way is through instructional routines like “Which One Doesn’t Belong” and “Notice and Wonder.” These routines give structure to time and interactions. Within the structure, there are opportunities to have time to think deeply and a predictable way to share and deepen thinking with partners and the whole class.

Continue reading “Using Instructional Routines to Inspire Deep Thinking”

“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 cannot recall the exact problems I struggled with or exact things the teacher said or did, but I can distinctly remember how I felt each day walking into that classroom: anxious. From the very first day of school, I struggled, and my feelings of failure and self-doubt only compounded as the year progressed. I just could not keep up. While many, many years have passed, and details have faded from my memory, I have never forgotten how badly I felt about myself as a learner of mathematics each day.

Continue reading “First Impressions: The First Units in IM K–5 Math”

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 develops connections among areas of mathematical study and between mathematics and the real world.

Principles to Action by National Council of Teachers of Mathematics

Developing coherent learning progressions and connections among areas of study requires crafting lessons to tell a mathematical story. Lessons must coherently build across units and grade levels and attend to many things: the mathematics, representations, activity structures, and learning trajectories, to name only a few. Each of these considerations impact how students access the mathematics and influence the belief that mathematics is a connected set of ideas that makes sense.

Continue reading “Storytelling in the IM K-5 Math Curriculum”