This category contains 10 posts

The Button Problem (A Glimpse into our Approach to Discipline-Based Inquiry in Math)

Deirdre Bailey with Jocelyn Monteith The Alberta Math Curriculum is extensive, and for the sake of organization and accessibility it is structured in a very linear, segmented format. Considering how we might connect key skills and concepts with the broader discipline of mathematics in ways that engage diverse groups of learners and breathe life into the … Continue reading

Trial and Error in Mathematics – “Walking the squares”

Jocelyn Monteith and I decided to start this school year in Mathematics 7 focusing specifically on the development of Mathematical Habits of Mind. According to mathematicians and educational researchers Levasseur and Cuoco (2006), it’s the mathematical habits of mind, or modes of thought, that enable us to reason about the world from a quantitative and spatial perspective, … Continue reading

Make Math Memorable (A response)

I’ve had the opportunity to engage in further conversation about math education with Dr. Robert Craigen, Assoc. Math Professor and co-founder of WISE Math. My response to Dr. Craigen’s most recent comment wouldn’t fit in comments so I’ve included it, along with the initial response, here. Thanks for your reply, Deirdre; I look forward to … Continue reading

Monkeys or Mathematicians (Math is More Than Memorization)

Pedagogy trumps curriculum every time. Dylan Wiliam The recent push for a “return to basics” shift in math curriculum in Alberta is not unexpected. Our post-industrial society remains regrettably focused on relaying and assessing content over process. The deeply embedded desire to quantify student thinking for the sake of a neat, uni-dimensional continuum that claims … Continue reading

Math is beautiful

Deirdre Bailey It has been a bit of a battle this year to convince our students that mathematics is not disconnected. They seemed to arrive in our classroom at 9 years old with the conviction that the discipline exists sequentially, layered based on varying degrees of difficulty, some of which will remain inaccessible to the … Continue reading

The Candy Problem

I mentioned the Candy Problem in a previous post in which I alluded to having provided the kids with a challenging math problem that even teachers had been taking a significant chunk of time to solve. We presented the problem as part of an end-of-semester formative assessment. We had had many conversations previous to presenting them … Continue reading

Why Math?

To recognize the crucial features of a problem, uncover latent assumptions at play, think carefully, devise symbols/diagrams that aid such thinking, and to communicate clearly and precisely…        Sam Otten by Dan Meyer

Teaching Math: Knowing vs. Understanding

Deirdre Bailey Each day in this process, I get a clearer idea of what powerful learning looks like. I have started to recognize what is becoming a blatant difference between kids who ‘understand’ and kids who ‘know’. We have told them in class, we don’t want ‘parrots’. Parrots can recite anything we ask them to. … Continue reading


Amy Park Wow, we have had two days of powerful math happening in our classes. As per our last discussion, we gave each student a 100s chart. We began by asking students to colour in all of the multiples of one. To our surprise…most kids had no idea what we were talking about. In fact, … Continue reading

Grade 4 Math turns abstract…

Deirdre Bailey I spent Sunday trying to combine the best of Mighton’s mathematical understanding with Fosnot’s teaching style in order to develop a way of reinforcing times tables in way that would be engaging, meaningful and memorable. I re-wrote the whole lesson about 8 times. I started with the idea of trying to teach number … Continue reading

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