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 beliefs about teaching and learning, and use those beliefs to determine what’s important. It is essential to build a strong classroom community.

What does it look like?

This community should strive to be one where learners know, use, and enjoy mathematics. How do you envision this math class? And how does that relate to your own mathematical experiences? 

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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 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. 

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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 continue to support them throughout the school year? Hosting a family math night can answer these questions and help bring a school community together.

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Storytelling in the IM K-5 Math Curriculum

By Kristin Gray, Director of K–5 Curriculum & Professional Learning


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.

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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 + 2 &= 5\\3x &= 3\\x &= 1\\ \end{align*}

are best thought of as a sequence of if-then statements: If $x$ is a number such that $3x + 2 = 5$, then $3x = 3$; if $3x = 3$, then $x = 1$. Continue reading “Truth and Consequences Revisited”

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. Whether you are using the IM 6–8 Math curriculum for the first time or entering your second or third year with the program, there are always new things to learn. While the Illustrative Mathematics blog is packed with great information from curriculum authors, teachers, and coaches, it can often be a job in and of itself to narrow down what to read.

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