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 stages on a learning curve with the instructional routines in the curriculum and realized how important it was to *have* a learning curve, and not a learning cliff, for teachers to grow into this way of teaching. We have tried to achieve this in many ways in our curriculum.

# 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) “**Inviting Students to the Mathematics**” (3) “**Concrete Representations that Give Students a Way to Get Started**.”*

Continue reading “Explicit Classroom Norms to Teach Kids How to Learn From Solving Problems”Okay, so the kids can get started and represent their thinking. But are they really learning? Am I really teaching? What are we doing here?

# 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

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.

# 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 Students to the Mathematics.”

Once students have an invitation to the mathematics and understand the situation, how do they get started answering questions?

Continue reading “Concrete Representations that Give Students a Way to Get Started”# 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?

In this series of blog posts, the first of which is available here, we’re exploring how, in order to be successful in a problem-based classroom, students have to shift their thinking about what being a good math student looks and sounds like. What do you notice about your own students’ beliefs about how they should participate? What are you curious about now, as you think about what it takes for students to be successful in a problem-based classroom?

Continue reading “Inviting Students to the Mathematics”# 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?

As a teacher, and then as a coach and teacher-educator, I’ve been thinking for a long time about the shifts teachers need to make when using a problem-based curriculum like the IM Math curricula. Recently, though, I’ve gotten to be in classrooms not as a coach or a teacher, but just to observe. Sitting with the students, experiencing math class from their perspective, I’ve been reflecting a lot on the demands placed on them as learners in a problem-based setting.

Continue reading “How Do Students Perceive Problem-Based Learning?”# Making Sense of Distance in the Coordinate Plane

*Linda Richard, Curriculum Writer*

I used to teach my 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 successfully calculated distances. I was pleased with this outcome—but what did my students actually *understand *about distance in the coordinate plane? In retrospect, very little.

# 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.

# What is a Measurable Attribute?

*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 about it? Before you jump in with your own answer, consider these questions:

Is “redness” a measurable attribute? Why or why not? Does this picture help you decide?

Continue reading “What is a Measurable Attribute?”