elements of growth mindset

In a previous blog, I talked about fixed vs growth mindsets and shared research about the impacts of mindsets in math. We’ve all seen the effects of fixed mindsets in our classrooms. Students get frustrated, shut down, and believe they aren’t capable of learning. And this happens all too often with word problems.  Today I’m […]

February 21, 2024

Do your students lack a growth mindset with word problems in math?

In math, we tend to think of units as something we talk about when we’re teaching measurement. But we don’t always think “Why are units important in math?” Today, I want to explore why they’re a critical part of comprehending word problems, or number stories. It’s been awhile since we’ve had a refresher on the […]

February 7, 2024

Why are units important in math and for understanding number stories (aka word problems)?

I’m not a big fan of the term “word problems”. To start with, calling it a problem already makes it seem hard, doesn’t it?  I’ve talked with countless teachers who have shared their students’ struggles when it comes to tackling word problems. And over the years, I’ve learned it typically boils down to one thing: […]

January 31, 2024

Why are word problems important in math?

example of a visual representation in math

The problem with traditional math education I bet you’ve heard people say “I’m not good at math.” or “I’m not a math person.” Maybe you’ve even felt that way before. This idea comes up with students, their parents, and educators across content areas. Here’s what I found it usually means: People who define themselves as […]

January 24, 2024

Why is visual representation in math important?

Repeated Equal Groups structure

In the last two blogs, I gave examples of how to teach the Compare and Parts Equal Total structures to help students solve word problems. It’s no secret that students struggle with understanding what problems are asking. And teachers wonder the best way to explain them, particularly when it comes to multiplication and division.  A […]

January 17, 2024

Solving multiplication and division word problems with the Repeated Equal Groups Structure

Last week, we went in-depth with the Parts Equal Total structure as a reading comprehension tool for teaching math word problems. Today, we’re diving into Compare. We’ll explore: You may notice I skipped 3rd grade. That’s because a new problem type is not introduced. Students will use the Compare structure to solve problems similar to […]

January 10, 2024

How to solve word problems with comparisons using the Compare SoE structure

You’ve had an introduction to PET and seen a few students in action. You’ve also seen how it relates to specific CGI problem types and watched video breakdowns on how to teach PET. Today we’re going to do a deeper dive. We’ll explore: How to introduce a number story Structures of Equality (SoE) aren’t procedures. […]

January 6, 2024

A deep dive into the Parts Equal Total (PET) Structure

I’ve talked to you a lot about Structures of Equality (SoE), a reading comprehension tool to help your students understand and solve word problems. But I wanted you to have the opportunity to hear from someone else in the trenches. After a professional development workshop this past summer, I’ve kept up with a teacher who […]

December 13, 2023

A teacher’s journey to help students solve word problems

The Power of Growth Mindset Growth mindset is more than just a catchphrase. It’s a powerful shift we can help students make so they can feel, and be, successful. And there are direct correlations between mindset and achievement.  What exactly is growth mindset?  Carol Dweck, the leading researcher in this groundbreaking work, defines growth mindset […]

December 6, 2023

Sometimes it’s not the math that’s the problem

SoE and the standards

If you’ve been following along, you know that I created Structures of Equality (SoE) as a reading comprehension tool to help students understand how to solve word problems. You’ve also heard me talk a lot about making sense in mathematics. Today, we’ll explore what it means to think like a mathematician. This post is about […]

November 29, 2023

SoE and the Standards for Mathematical Practice

importance of equality

I’ve shared a lot about the 3 structures and how to implement them in your classroom. Today, we’re going to focus on one element that’s critical to all of the structures – equality. A Brief Recap If you’ve been following along, you know there are 3 essential elements to every structure. Here’s a quick refresher, […]

November 15, 2023

The Importance of Equality

Simple but not easy You’ve likely heard the saying nothing good comes without hard work. Last week, you were privy to a conversation with a 4th grade teacher who recently started implementing Structures of Equality (SoE) in her classroom. There was a point where she wanted to give up.  But she continued to explicitly and […]

November 8, 2023

How to help students figure out what word problems are asking