“This is not math!” By Carrie Orgera and Antonia Cameron.

Framing the lesson Carrie was recently in a 5th grade classroom where she planned a mini-lesson with a group of teachers. In this lesson, students were asked to reason using the relationship between factors and products.  We put up two multiplication expressions and asked students two questions: Which has the greater product? and How do you know?[1] The students were asked to answer these questions without paper and pen and without computing. We built in these constraints because we wanted

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Jeff Todd, on the Sadlier Math Blog, writes about his PD experience with Lucy West, and shares 3 PD resources from Lucy West.

One of the most powerful professional development experiences for me was working with Lucy West. She was hired as a consultant to the urban school district where I was working as a middle school math coach. Her work with our district transformed my view of professional development and changed the way I teach. I am thrilled to be able to share three resources from Ms. West with you. MY PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT EXPERIENCE WITH LUCY WEST I got to experience this

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How a More Thoughtful Approach to Exit Slips Improved my Teaching. By Anjali Deshpande, Ph.D.

Like so many teachers, I wrap up a lesson and with a few minutes left in the period, I hand out my exit slips.  My students work quickly and quietly to jot down their solutions.  As students finish up, I move around the room and pick up their slips, meanwhile the students pack up.  Class ends, students leave.  It’s now my prep period, so I sit down and scan and sort my exit slips and I track the results.  I

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An Exciting New Version of Rename the Number! By Sarah Ryan

Rename the Number is an incredibly flexible math routine that develops number sense.  It appears in many curriculum materials under different names (e.g. Today’s Number, Number of the Day), encourages creativity and flexibility with numbers and operations, and can fuel rich discussions about patterns in our number system and the behavior of operations.  Last year, two 5th grade teachers at Young Leaders Elementary School in the Bronx, came up with a brilliant modification of this routine that helps students write

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Can We Talk? Lucy West & Yitzchak Francus*

Changing the day-to-day culture of schools from one in which adults work solo in silos has been a focus of the many leaders and researchers who understand that professional learning is the key to student learning, and that professional learning requires collaboration. Yet, the schedule in the vast majority of schools leaves minimal time for teachers to study and improve their practice together. Real, sustainable, change in any organization must address the cultural norms and interactions that prevent improvements. Peter

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To Make Connections—Think Differently. By Andrea Lowenkopf and Lucy West

Even before the Common Core State Standards demanded that teachers teach reading, writing, speaking, and listening across content areas, progressive educators tried to find ways to do so.  It has long been obvious that if students are able to make connections across content areas they will gain a more coherent understanding of themselves and the world in which we live. There is a beauty in discovery. There is mathematics in music, a kinship of science and poetry in the description

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Tests Can Present an Opportunity for Learning. By: Lucy West

Do you work in a school where the vast majority of students come to you without the necessary foundation in mathematics to work at the level the standards are demanding for your grade level? If so, you are not alone. Out of desperation and a pervasive sense of urgency, many schools that serve large numbers of struggling students make choices that are unlikely to improve student learning; choices that often inhibit learning, such as more test preparation or more testing

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The Myth of “Exposure” and the Harm it Causes. By Sarah Ryan

As an elementary math coach, I regularly work with teachers who want to prepare their students for “the test”. “The test” may be a chapter test students will take next week, a mid-year assessment in January, or a standardized test in the spring. Regardless of which test, many teachers want help preparing their students for the most challenging or most confusing problems, ones many students are likely to misinterpret.
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Creating Animated Factorization Diagrams. By Daniel Scher

Last year, I had the pleasure of co-organizing a geometry-focused coaching collaborative led by Metamorphosis, a New York-based organization that offers professional content coaching to transform the mindset and practices of teachers and administrators. I had so much fun that I decided to do it again! My workshop partners were Metamorphosis staffers Toni Cameron, Ariel Dlugasch, and Kara Levin. Several days before the workshop, Metamorphosis sent a handout of the picture below to the participating math coaches and asked them to think

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Navigating A Persistent Tension in Teaching. By Lucy West

Do you ever feel pressured to ‘cover the curriculum’? How often do you notice that some of your students have not understood much of what you just taught? What do you do when the pacing calendar indicates it is time to move on and your students are not ready to move on? Do you find that some of your students come to you without the requisite knowledge expected by the grade level standards?  I have been teaching for more than

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