The Build Math Minds Podcast

The Build Math Minds Podcast

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100 Episodes
The Build Math Minds podcast is for my fellow Recovering Traditionalists out there. If you don’t know whether or not you are a Recovering Traditionalist, here’s how I define us. We are math educators who used to teach math the traditional way. Flip lesson by lesson in the textbook, directly teaching step-by-step how to solve math problems. But now, we are working to change that to a style of teaching math that is fun and meets our students where they are at, not just teaching what comes next in the textbook. We want to encourage our students to be thinkers, problem solvers, and lovers of mathematics..we are wanting to build our students math minds and not just create calculators. If that is you, then this podcast is for you.
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100 Episodes

Here in the United States, it is the end of the school year and teachers are contemplating what work they should send home with students for them to do over the summer. In today's podcast, I get into why I'm not a big fan of general problem packets over the summer and how the phrase "practice makes perfect" is a little inaccurate.

I've been on a kick about math fluency lately and how a lot of textbooks have their teaching of fluency wrong. Growing up, fluency to me meant being good at the algorithm. Being able to follow the steps that the teacher laid out for students was the sign of being fluent. But, as textbooks have started teaching new strategies, students and parents are left feeling confused. In today’s episode I wanted to share this chart I found in an article by Randall Charles because it highlights the importance of letting kids use strategies instead of just the traditional algorithm.

In the last episode of the podcast, I shared the three ideas that make up computational fluency. Flexibility is often the piece that is missing in our fluency instruction, but recently textbooks have tried to incorporate more of it, but in the wrong way. In this week’s podcast, I go over some of the shortcomings in the ways textbook’s teach fluency and what we should really be focusing on when we’re teaching fluency.

The Flexibility Formula courses that I offer have a huge focus on how we can help kids develop number sense, but the main reason to focus on number sense is really to help your students become flexible thinkers; to build their flexibility in mathematics. In episode 144, I talk about how my courses started and the research that inspired them. Come take a listen as I discuss the concepts that make up computational fluency.

Each of you listening to this podcast have different goals for your professional development. You have different things you are wanting to read about to help your students next year have an even better math experience in your classroom. So I’ve compiled a bunch of different lists on Amazon so you can choose from books for specific areas you want to focus on. Come check out Episode #143 where I share my summer reading lists for elementary math teachers for 2022.

Have you ever felt like the thing you’re going through will never end? There is no doubt that hard times can wear us out and make us feel helpless. Then, it can seem like the good times don't last long enough. Whether it's good or bad times, it's important to remember that nothing lasts forever. In this week’s episode, we are talking about how to think about going through the hard times, and the good times by remembering that Nothing Lasts Forever.

Games are one of my favorite ways to have kids practice. They can do 50 problems in 5 minutes and not even realize it. But, one of the biggest complaints I hear about using games in the classroom is that teachers don’t know what the kids are actually doing while playing the game. Are they doing the math or just goofing around?? Come listen to episode 141 where we're talking about getting the most out of math games and go through some recommendations.

As many of you are currently in the thick of standardized testing, it reminds you that testing shouldn’t be like this….but if not this, then what? This week, while sitting in my car waiting for one of the hundred, or so, practices my kids had to finish, I opened up the recent issue of the NCTM journal Mathematics Teacher: Learning & Teaching PK-12. The very first article is about using word problems as a way to assess in mathematics. In episode 140, I go through some of this issue to give you some ideas for some alternatives to math tests. Also, The Build Math Minds PD site membership is open for enrollment!

Should we stop giving tests in math class? This question was recently tweeted by Chris Luzniak and I found the comments under it very thought provoking. So, I thought I'd share some of them with you in today's podcast. Tell me what you think about them in the comments over at buildmathminds/139.

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