Dig Into Number Talks!

Number Talks imageHave You Tried Number Talks?

What strategies are you planning for building number sense and problem-solving skills this year?

Check out our Number Talks collection to see a daily, short, structured way for students to talk about math with their peers.


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Supporting Great Teaching: A Tangible Vision of Excellence

Getting Better Together
My first example of love was from my parents, which is probably true for most people. Their care and attention to my moral, spiritual, and physical development provided the template for what I hope to achieve with Laila and Joshua, my two children. In the space between the example that I saw and the habits I hope to repeat, learning took place. This relationship is essential to creating an infrastructure that allows great teaching to flow.

You must set a vision of excellence that is visible, practical, and impactful. For many, this vision requires an intentional shift. Throughout my work at Paul Laurence Dunbar Senior High School, it has become clear that there are three high-leverage actions that begin to facilitate this change: establishing common language and expectations, building a standards-based foundation, and maintaining a tight feedback loop. Here are some dos and don’ts to consider when engaging with each action:

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Modeling With Mathematics

Modeling with Mathematics

Modeling with mathematics is the practice of making sense of the world through a mathematical perspective. Take a moment to look around and get curious: How do you use mathematics to make decisions in your everyday life? Maybe you’re deciding what to make for dinner. Does the recipe have enough servings to feed everyone or will you need to modify it, perhaps by doubling or halving the amount of each ingredient? When should you start making dinner if you’d like to eat at 6?

These questions can be viewed from a mathematical perspective. There is something to count, measure, or quantify and the answers to these questions have real and interesting implications for our lives.

Children also need opportunities to identify mathematical problems in their world, determine what information will help them solve a problem, develop mathematical models of situations, and revise their models to more closely predict real world phenomena. This is the work of modeling with mathematics, a mathematical practice identified by the Common Core State Standards as central to the work of K-12 mathematics.

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Help Kids Understand Math Problems: Take Away The Numbers And the Question!

Tch Laureate Team


I’m sure we’ve all seen it happen at one time or another in math class. We give a student a story problem to solve and after a quick skim, the student pulls the numbers from the problem, computes with them, and writes down an answer.

If the answer is correct, we assume the student has a grasp of the concept. However, if it’s incorrect, we’re left with a laundry list of questions: Do they realize their answer doesn’t make sense? Did they not understand the context? Did they simply pull the numbers and operate in order simply to finish or did they truly not know what to do with them? Most importantly, we ask ourselves, how can I help students make sense of what they’re reading and to think about the logic of their answer in the context of the problem?

If we’re lucky, we can identify the student’s mathematical misconception and work with that. Oftentimes, though, the student’s answer isn’t even reasonable. Then what do we do?

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Common Core Questions – Answered!

Questions About the Common Core? Ask The Experts

Across the country, teachers are actively making changes in their classroom practices to reflect the expectations of the Common Core State Standards. To say the roll-out of the Standards has been flawless would be untrue. In the years since the introduction of Common Core, there has been controversy and confusion over the Standards, their implementation, and how they impact the ways educators do their jobs.

You may have questions about Common Core, and you deserve answers from those who understand the realities of implementing the Common Core in a real classroom setting: your fellow educators.

Teaching Channel is working with Student Achievement Partners to get the answers you’ve been looking for. From April 10-16th, eight educators — a combination of Tch Laureates and Core Advocates from Student Achievement Partners — will be answering your Common Core questions on the Q&A board here at Teaching Channel. (For instructions on how to participate, skip down to the bottom of this post.) These educators boast years of experience, have a wide variety of content knowledge, and work tirelessly both in and outside the classroom. Take a moment to acquaint yourself with our panel of educators, and get an idea of who can answer your Common Core questions.

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Here’s Why I’m Going To Teach My Math Students To Code

Why teach coding?

Simply put, coding can change and impact people’s lives.

Getting Better TogetherThe effect technology — as a result of computer code — has on this world is incredible. What used to be thought of as impossible is now made possible. What’s more amazing is that our technological accomplishments always open up new realms of possibilities. Cellphones, for instance, didn’t stop at phone calls — they led to streaming music and eBooks and brain teasing games and the ability to map the night sky.

This suggests that learning technology and its underlying language — coding — is extremely powerful.

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High Expectations Teaching

Tch Laureate Team

This is part of Marion Ivey’s Getting Better Together series, Moving From I Can’t To I Can’t Yet. Marion and all the Teaching Channel Laureates are going public with their practice and seeking support in getting better from colleagues and the Tch community.

When I initially became familiar with the Common Core State Standards, I thought its new outcomes for students were unrealistic. I’ve participated in one professional development activity after another, each seeming to contradict the previous about how to achieve these outcomes with students.

Getting Better TogetherSurprisingly, though, what I’ve found is that each time I’ve raised the bar for my students, each time I’ve asked them to do a little bit more, and believed that they could, they’ve done it. Each time I’ve raised my expectations, and provided support and guidance, my students have met my expectations.

Let me give you an example. When my district first began implementing the new English Language Arts standards, the consultant we worked with wanted all of our assessments to be written. I don’t know if she had ever taught kindergarten, but most of my students come in having never written a sentence in their lives. Some don’t even know the alphabet when we begin together. I thought there was no way that I could ever get my students to do what she was asking in 179 days.

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Resources And Strategies You Say? I’ll Take Them!

To jump-start the beginning of the school year, the Literacy Design Collaborative (LDC) has released seven back-to-school mini-task collections that give teachers instructional items they can add to their arsenal of worthwhile resources.

For those of you unfamiliar with LDC, it’s a community of educators who are using a teacher-designed framework to create literacy-rich assignments. The collections in this new release include the works of contributors from across the nation who thrive on creating worthy learning experiences for students. So what’s in this back-to-school set of collections, you ask? Let’s dive in.

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Literacy in the Digital Age: Nine Great Speaking and Listening Tools

Literacy in the Digital Age

Editor’s Note: Teaching Channel has partnered with Student Achievement Partners on a blog series about digital literacy tools and their effective use by educators.

The majority of the tools mentioned in this post and the four earlier posts in our series, transform the student experience from passive consumers of information to active creators of content, employing multiple English Language Arts standards and skills along the way.

We firmly believe this ought to be the new norm in the modern classroom. Kids have access to information; we must teach them how to navigate a world constantly evolving where content is at their fingertips. The traditional application of ELA isn’t enough for future-ready learners. We would argue our students read and write more now than they ever have before — between texting, social media, gaming, and everything else they do in their digitally fueled, online lives. Our vision must evolve to incorporate a new approach to literacy instruction, one in which technology becomes an accelerator to personalize and create meaningful learning contexts.

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Literacy in the Digital Age – Five Tools That Demystify Text Complexity

Literacy in the Digital Age

Editor’s Note: Teaching Channel has partnered with Student Achievement Partners on a blog series about digital literacy tools and their effective use by educators.

The Common Core State Standards emphasize the importance of students being exposed to and understanding texts of increasing complexity as they progress through grade levels. Often, though, it’s difficult to find an accurate way to measure texts.

Lexile and readability scores use features like sentence length and word frequency that are not always accurate measures. For example, the classic novel The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck is considered to be at a lexile level for a 3rd grader. As educators, we know to use our better judgement because the themes and topics are nowhere near appropriate for that grade level.

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