I’ve just returned from an invigorating week at the National Council of Supervisors of Mathematics (NCSM) and National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM) conferences in New Orleans. Expect some posts soon that will share interesting things that I learned.

First off, the new Common Core aligned editions of Primary Mathematics were available at the Singapore Math, Inc.^{®} booth and they looked great! If you’re currently using the California Standards Edition of Primary Mathematics, don’t panic! The company will continue to carry the materials. However, once you see the Common Core Edition, you’re probably going to want to switch. [Using the U.S. Edition? You're good to go with some supplementing, but you're used to that already. ] Copies of the new materials are not available for preview yet, but I’ll be posting some more info and sample lessons as they do become available.

Good news! Looks like there will be a Primary Digital component to the program as well.

I don’t know about anyone else, but I’m a little Common Core-d out. It seems like EVERY session at both conferences had to reference the Common Core to get accepted. Thank goodness that Primary Mathematics is already fairly well aligned to Common Core. [Don't believe me? Here's Achieve's analysis.] In perusing the new Primary Mathematics Common Core books, I noticed that content was not moved to higher grade levels, just because that’s where it was in the CCSS-M. They’ve kept the integrity of the sequence, added a few review lessons to meet CCSS-M at grade level and provided an unprecedented level of potential student questioning and discourse in the Teacher’s Guides.

I thought I’d leave you with one of the Japanese Puzzles from a fabulous session at NCTM presented by Jeffrey Wanko called Puzzling It Out: Teaching Inductive Reasoning. Have fun!

MIRRORS

Use the three examples of Mirror puzzles and their unique solutions shown below to determine both the goal and the rules that govern Mirror puzzles.

If so, I have a school that would like to pair with with you and share the costs. They’re looking to host the two-day session sometime from the last week of July through August 5th. If that fits your schedule and plans, email Cassy (at) singaporemathsource.com and I’ll hook you up.

The NCTM Conference program book is now online and choosing which workshops and sessions to attend continues to be a challenge. If you’d like to check out some sessions on Singapore Mathematics, there’s good news and bad.

Good news? There are 12 sessions involving Singapore-style math this year but you need to look at the session descriptions to really know it. The number of overall choices is slightly more than the number offered last year.

Bad news? Anything listed below in pink is an overlapping session. Below are my thoughts on which session to choose, if you have a conflict.

FYI – **Five** (!) of the twelve sessions are Exhibitor’s Workshops:

Exhibitor Workshops (60 minutes) are designed to allow exhibitors more time to showcase their products and services away from the Exhibit Hall.

**#29.2 Singapore Math: Common Core Connections**

Exhibitor Workshop: Marshall Cavendish Education

Problem-solving is central to Singapore’s mathematics education. The first Common Core standard for mathematical practice states: “Make sense of problems and persevere in solving them.” This talk addresses connections between the Common Core and Singapore Math; with focus on the standards for mathematical practice and numbers and operations.

**#92 Putting Students on the Fast Track to Better Problem Solving
**Lead Speaker: Darlyne de Haan

Come and discover how to efficiently and effectively teach students how to solve and model word problems using simple brain-based strategies and bar modeling. These strategies will transform your students into excited, motivated and successful problem-solving pros. You and your students will never see or solve word problems the same again!

**Recommendations:**

*Not sure on this one, but thought that if it includes some bar modeling, it might be worth checking into.*

**#121 Ratio and Proportion: A Common Core Progression for Grades 6–7
**Lead Speakers: Duane Habecker

Co-Speaker: Mary Anne Freitas

This session presents a two-year, flipped sixth- and seventh-grade ratio and proportion unit using instructional videos viewed at home and Common Core lessons in the classroom. Participants will be shown how to effectively use ratio tables and bar models to develop their students’ proportional thinking.

**131.4 It’s here! Singapore Math® presents Primary Mathematics Common Core Edition!**

Exhibitor Workshop: Singapore Math, Inc.

We will introduce our newest Singapore Math® program, Primary Mathematics Common Core Edition! Learn about the highly successful Singapore Math® elementary math series and the recent changes that have been made for the CCSS. This will be beneficial to those currently using Primary Mathematics and those considering implementing for the first time.

**Recommendations:**

*-> Interested in bar modeling and ratios? Looks like they may be using bar models in the Ratio & Proportion session. (Or head to Richard Bisk’s session on Ratios on Friday; #452 at 12:30)*

**#170 Representation and Visualization in Middle School: Lessons from Singapore**

Lead Speaker: Andy Clark

The Common Core State Standards emphasize the importance of representation in learning mathematics. In this session, we will share strategies for developing deeper understanding of rational numbers, ratio and rate, proportion, and algebraic expressions and equations with visual models from Singapore, with the goal of helping students make the challenging transition from arithmetic to algebra.

**#182.2 Reaching and Teaching all Levels of Learners with Singapore Math**

Exhibitor Workshop: Marshall Cavendish Education

This session will focus on strategies to reach the struggling student. Specifically, we will explore use of the CPA cycle, transition materials, and the analysis of student assessments in meeting the needs of underachieving students.

**#182.3 Singapore Math® program for Middle School. Crossing the bridge to algebra!**

Exhibitor Workshop: Singapore Math, Inc.

Middle school math often takes a backseat to elementary and high school mathematics. Dimensions Math Common Core Edition is a new series that is changing that trend. Picking up where our elementary series leaves off, this Singapore Math® middle school program fully prepares students for success in advanced high school math.

**Recommendations:**

*-> Looking for secondary materials? Head to the Exhibitor session 182.3 and check out the Dimensions Math Common Core Edition.*

*-> Head to see Andy Clark, one of the authors of the Math in Focus series for a look at specific middle school concepts.*

**#220 Reasoning in the Middle Grades: It’s Easier Than You Think**

Lead Speaker: Berinderjeet Kaur

Co-Speaker: Denisse R. Thompson

Mathematical reasoning is not only one of the NCTM process standards, but it is also an important practice in the Common Core. This session will share several strategies from both the Singapore and U.S. perspectives on modifying non-geometrical textbook tasks and questions to bring reasoning to the instructional forefront.

**#239 Fraction Fun: Games That Cement Critical Concepts**

Lead Speaker: Ricky Mikelman

Frustrated that your students don’t retain fraction concepts? Do they make common errors? Singapore teaches us the importance of the consolidation phase of learning—playing games! When students play, they move learning into long-term memory. We’ll use dice, cards, and commonly found materials to reinforce concepts that align to the Common Core State Standards.

**Recommendations:**

*Tough call – either way you’ll be well-informed.*

*->Ms. Kaur works with Singapore’s National Institute of Education and is always fascinating – I’ll probably be here. *

*->Ms. Mikelman works with Staff Development for Educators. She’s a great presenter and you’ll walk away with plenty of fraction games.*

**#310.2 Singapore Math and the Rigor of Common Core: Exploring Assessments**

Exhibitor Workshop: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

In this session, participants will examine the requirements of the Common Core and the types of assessments that students will be asked to complete. The presenter will share how Math in Focus helps students to prepare for the rigor required in both Smarter Balance and PARCC assessments.

**Recommendations:**

*HMH is the publisher of Math in Focus. I get oodles of emails about the MiF assessments from teachers and parents. I’ll probably check this out and see what they are doing to address these issues.*

Lead Speaker: Richard Bisk

Many students struggle when asked to solve word problems involving fractions, ratio, & percent. Model drawing helps students visualize, understand, and solve complex word problems, and provide a bridge to algebraic techniques. Experience sample solutions and learn how to use this effective technique for helping students develop deep understanding

**#549 Math Talk: Teaching Concepts and Skills through Stories and Illustrations**

Lead Speaker: Char Forsten

A young child’s understanding of the world is enlightened and expanded through stories and illustrations so it makes sense to use these resources when learning mathematics. Based on a method used in Singapore, you will learn to use “math talk” as a powerful way to provide purposeful practice through stories and illustrations.

**Recommendations:**

*->Char is a very engaging presenter. She already has her handout on the NCTM web site, so you can preview her topics! *

The weather in Minnesota this winter has been brutal. In January alone, schools were closed for several days due to extreme cold.

When schools close, other events for teachers are often cancelled, too. This was the case on January 27 when my Minneapolis BER seminar, “How to Use the Best Strategies From Singapore Mathematics to Strengthen Your Math Instruction,” was postponed.

If you were unable to attend in January, good news! My introductory seminar on math strategies from Singapore is now scheduled for Monday, March 31.

If you are interested in learning more about Singapore’s renowned primary mathematics program, plan to attend this full-day, hands-on event in the Twin Cities. From the brochure:

Specifically designed for teachers of kindergarten through sixth grade, this exciting seminar presents an introduction to math strategies from Singapore that will change your approach to teaching mathematics and greatly enhance your students’ achievement.

A detailed description and registration information is available here.

If you are interested in bringing me to your school or district, please complete the form here or send me an email: Cassy (at) SingaporeMathSource (dot) com.

Marshall Cavendish is developing an online assessment for the Singapore Mathematics curricula available in the U.S. and is **seeking input** from elementary or middle school math coaches, specialists, teacher leaders, or curriculum coordinators — familiarity with Singapore Math would be a bonus but not strictly necessary.

If you’re available on April 9th from 3-5pm, RSVP to Carol Collins: ccollins (at) marshallcavendish.com … and tell her Cassy sent you!

Nicole even made this great graphic for the Magic Math Hand. I’m so glad you enjoyed the seminar and look forward to visiting Lana‘i one day.

I also visited Hugh Mercer School (Fredericksburg, Virginia), a k-2 school with over 1000 students. This nice summary was included in a recent school newsletter. Thanks so much for inviting me to work with your teachers!

Sponsored by the American Mathematical Society, the American Statistical Association, the Mathematical Association of America, and the Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics, the theme for April’s Math Awareness Month (MAM) is *Mathematics, Magic, and Mystery*.

From the press release:

The theme of Mathematics Awareness Month 2014 echoes the title of a 1956 book by renowned math popularizer Martin Gardner, whose extensive writings introduced the public to hexaflexagons, polyominoes, John Conway’s “Game of Life,” Penrose tiles, the Mandelbrot set, and much more. For more than half a century Gardner inspired enthusiasts of all ages to engage deeply with mathematics, and many of his readers chose to pursue it as a career. The year 2014 marks the centennial of Gardner’s birth.”

Each day in April, a new magical, mysterious, mathematical phenomenon will be revealed at www.mathaware.org. Set your bookmarks now!

Here’s one to get you started:

Arrange four matches on a table as shown at right. They represent a martini glass. A match head goes inside to indicate the onion of a Gibson cocktail. The puzzle is to move just two matches so that the glass is re-formed, but the onion—which must stay where it is—winds up outside the glass. At the finish, the glass may be turned to the left or the right, or even be upside down, but it must be exactly the same shape as before.

I seem to say this every year, but it bears repeating: *It is so gratifying to have the opportunity to champion elementary math education and GET PAID to spend time in classrooms with teachers and students.* I want to extend heartfelt thanks to everyone who has played a part in making the year so special.

2013 marked my **sixth year** working with schools using the Singapore Math curriculum, and it was my busiest year to date! I spent much of the year in classrooms helping teachers and administrators learn about Singapore mathematics so that they can use the curriculum successfully. In 2013, I:

- visited Ghana, Canada and 21 U.S. states;
- worked with more than two dozen schools using Math from Singapore. While many of these are in the first year or two of their adoption, others are long-time users. I’m happy and proud to report that almost half of my 2013 schools were repeat clients (thank you!); and
- entered into and/or continued long-term training, coaching and consulting arrangements with some of the most distinguished schools in North America (and Ghana).

Over the past six years, I’ve had the pleasure of introducing Singapore Mathematics to teachers, administrators and parents in 40 U.S. states plus Canada, Mexico, Ghana and Palau. More than more than 60 schools have asked me to help them implement and/or improve their use of the curriculum. Amazing!

2013 brought some truly amazing opportunities to share information about the Singapore curriculum and what makes it work so well. Last year, I:

- presented at SDE’s National Conference on Singapore Math Strategies, the leading annual event devoted to Singaporean Math strategies;
- was invited to speak at the 2013 National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM) Regional Conference and Exposition in Baltimore (Thanks, Lori!);
- was invited to present at SDE Conferences on Singapore Math Strategies in Hawaii and Tennessee (the latter is in 2014);
- presented at six two-day “Helping Students Succeed in Math” Conferences for grade 3-5 mathematics educators organized by the Bureau of Education & Research (BER);
- through BER, presented both of my full-day Singapore Mathematics seminars at cities across the United States; and
- for 5th straight year, attended annual conferences of the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM) and NCSM.

Despite a travel schedule that is often very hectic, I’m very proud to have found time to devote to several causes that are very important.

- In June, I completed a three-year term as member of Board of Directors of Liberty Common School, an award-winning K-12 Charter School in Fort Collins, Colorado. In 2013:
- Liberty celebrated its first class of high school graduates, and
- for the second consecutive year, Liberty’s juniors earned the highest scores in Colorado on the ACT test (my younger son Cody is a member of this high achieving class of seniors).

- In July, I was appointed to the District Accountability Committee (DAC) of Poudre School District (which serves more than 26,000 students). The DAC is a statutory committee that makes recommendations to the School Board on spending priorities, performance and improvement plans, and charter school applications (among other responsibilities).
- In January, I was appointed to Board of Directors of Middle School Mathematics Institute (MSMI), a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit corporation whose mission is to help teachers, schools and parents ensure that students succeed at algebra.
- For the 8th year running, I organized an after-school math enrichment club for 3rd & 4th grade students who love playing games while boosting their math skills. Special thanks to several dedicated parent volunteers who helped run the club during my travels.

I’m proud to host SingaporeMathSource.com, which is now in its sixth year providing news, information, resources and more regarding the world’s best elementary math curriculum. 2013 saw some design changes and the introduction of new features, such as a page that lists Singapore Math® teaching and tutoring jobs (admittedly, this is still in Beta). For 2013, the site:

- logged more than 300,000 page views;
- attracted nearly 80,000 visits (more than 75% new visitors); and
- is among most highly ranked sites on the internet for inquiries concerning Singapore Math® news, resources, teaching and training.

Looking ahead, I’m as excited as ever by the opportunities that the new year promises:

- 2014 begins with more school training dates booked than ever. I look forward to working with teachers, administrators and parents dedicated who share my goal of making every child in every classroom a competent and confident mathematics student.
- 2014 will be my sixth year as a featured presenter for BER, with my two workshops scheduled from Coast to Coast (and even a stop in the middle of the Pacific).
- In Feb. 2014, I will be a featured presenter at SDE’s Tennessee Conference on Singapore Math Strategies.
- In April, I’ll be in New Orleans for my favorite learning opportunity, attending the NCTM and NCSM conferences.

Last year, I was very fortunate to accommodate *almost* every school that wanted to hire me. That might not be the case in 2014 as demand has grown by 50-100% for the past few years. This leads to two requests:

- First, I urge schools interested in training to contact me as soon as possible to have the best opportunity for desired dates (submit a training inquiry here).
- Second, I invite exceptional, experienced teachers who have worked with the curriculum and may have an interest in working as a trainer to contact me. Be forewarned: for consideration, you MUST share my passion for the Singapore Math® program and have experience teaching it successfully in the classroom.

Once again, my sincerest thanks to my clients, colleagues and partners for making 2013 such a wonderful year. If I may be of service at any time, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with me.

More passionate than ever about Singapore Mathematics.

-Cassy

From a school that introduced Math in Focus materials this fall comes a great image of a fourth grader working with manipulatives to understand both algorithms and bar modeling. The class is learning long division. Number disks are a vital part of developing number sense in Singapore curricula.

Another school is using Primary Mathematics and the class is doing the first lesson in multiplying and dividing by twos (Count by Twos). Students hadn’t used a lot of manipulatives before. This student excitedly exclaimed:

*Hey, this is really useful!*

Comments from observing teachers provided some interesting insights:

*Wow, it sure is loud!*

You can use a pre-cut sheet of felt from the craft store, or a laminated mat to help deaden the sound of working with louder manipulatives.

*My kids would be bored to tears with this activity.*

And she’s right, they would have. Her students were the higher ability group and need fewer concrete examples to understand the concept. (Note, not zero concrete examples, just fewer)

The red, white, orange discs with large numbers and the square set are available at SingaporeMath.com as well as many online stores. The set with the smaller numbers is sold in conjunction with Math in Focus materials from Houghton Mifflin and corresponds to the colors used in the textbooks.

Here are the 2014 dates for my BER seminars *“How to Use the Best Strategies from Singapore Mathematics to Strengthen your Math Instruction*” and *“Boost Students’ Math Problem Solving Skills Using Singapore Model Drawing” *

Specific locations and registration information available through March. ~~I’ll update this post when the April and May dates are available.~~ Now available!

Current 2014 dates – *“How to Use the Best Strategies From Singapore Mathematics to Strengthen Your Math Instruction”* (BER)

- Jan. 28 – St. Louis, MO
- Jan. 29 -Phoenix, AZ
- Jan. 30 – Seattle, WA
- Jan. 31 – Honolulu, HI
- Mar. 3 – Syracuse, NY
- Mar. 4 – Albany, NY
- Mar. 5 – Manchester, NH
- Mar. 6 – Providence, RI
- Mar. 7 – Boston, MA
- Mar. 31 – Minneapolis, MN-Rescheduled from Jan. 27

This overview of Singapore Math® strategies will put your students on the road to success with number sense, computation and problem solving. (Plus you a get a handy-dandy handbook!)

Current 2014 dates – “*Boost Students’ Math Problem Solving Skills Using Singapore Model Drawing”* (BER)

A whole day of problem solving with Singapore Bar Modeling PLUS that handbook for your own home enjoyment!

Your city not on the list? Contact me and I can bring my Singapore Math® workshop(s) to your school or district – email Cassy (at) singaporemathsource.com