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Saturday, August 31, 2013

8 Math Strategies

Have you been to some back to school meetings where you spent more time doodling on your paper than paying attention? My hand is up for that question! I usually dread it when my principal says, "Oh you're going to LOVE this speaker!"

But this year she was right!

We got to hear from a trainer from Strategic Intervention Solutions.  

She is Shannon Samulski and she is a real teacher. . . and from Canton, Michigan. . . . not one who taught years ago, but as recent as last year. She has taken a sabitical for a year to present for SDE. She was in Las Vegas recently for the kindergarten conference for any of you that were also there.

She has been a reading teacher for quite a while but more recently has been working on math strategies. Today she was to teach us about math and help us become better at teaching them to our students. 

She talked about the 8 standards for Mathematical Practice. Do you know them?

 I wasn't so sure. . . . I wasn't raising my hand on that one. 

I've been teaching math for over 30 years. . .  
why weren't they coming to my head instantly. 
Truthfully, I wasn't alone. There were about 30 others in that room 
that also didn't raise their hands. 

  1. Make sense of problems and persevere in solving them.
  2. Reason abstractly and quantitatively.
  3. Construct viable arguments and critique the reasoning of others
  4. Model with mathematics.
  5. Use appropriate tools strategically.
  6. Attend to precision.
  7. Look for and make sure of structure.
  8. Look for and express regularity in repeated reasoning.
Do they sound familiar now?

We spent time dissecting them so that we knew what those words meant to each of our grade levels. We put them in kid friendly terms. (Why don't they just write them that way to begin with?)

Then she shared with us some free things on her website. Click on Free Resources on the left side.  Try playing the 9 Hole Strategy game with any age student (or even adults!)
It's a lot like Tic Tac Toe, but you can keep moving until someone wins. Instead of putting your marker on the space, you put it on the intersection! Pretty clever huh?

Now try the Bump game. We've all seen this before, but it's a great way to teach kids to think differently. These games also have different levels so you can make it tougher for your stronger students. 

Then she gave us another tip: Google Math Task Bank. The first link that comes up is APS RDA Math Performance Task Bank. This website has some great short assessments or practices for your students to think outside the box. 

You need to teach your students to keep working until they figure out the answers. (We have been way too lenient and given the answers way too quickly in the past! Students need to build up their stamina to keep on trying!) 

Teach them how to draw the problem to find the answer, or how to use manipulatives to find the answers.

She also sells some of her products and keeps up a blog of her own. It's called Interventions on the Go

This is not an advertisement for her and I'm not getting paid for it. I'm just super excited about finding out this information and I figured IF I'M THRILLED TO LEARN SOMETHING NEW, maybe YOU are too!

I hope you look at it and see if it's something you'd like to find out more about.



  1. Thanks for the math resource idea - I'm always looking for easy on me activities. I'm going to check this gal out right now!

  2. So answers too quickly. Thanks for the encouragement and links to her information. Sounds like I've got some reading to do.


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