Announcing Jumpstart Your Singapore Math: Summer 2020

I couldn’t imagine teaching this year without this class. It was amazing!
Joanne Pilon
6-8 Math, Holy Family Academy, MN

Back by popular demand!

We are pleased to announce the return of Jumpstart, an intensive, two-day workshop for current and potential users of Dimensions Math, Primary Mathematics, Eureka/EngageNY, Think! Mathematics,  or Math in Focus, as well as any teacher interested in incorporating these techniques into their own classroom, regardless of current curriculum. 

If you are:

  • new to the Singapore approach to math instruction…
  • needing a refresher to boost your math teaching skills…
  • wanting to incorporate the best practices from Singapore into your current curriculum…or
  • curious about the reasons for Singapore’s remarkable success…

…then this workshop is for you!

Click here to get all of the details on this exciting program!

Jumpstart Your Singapore Math – Online!

We’re looking at offering one of the Jumpstart Your Singapore Math workshops online, but we’d love to hear what you think.

Can you help us out and answer this easy 2 question survey?

Singapore Math Office Hours for Teachers

Live Online Office Hours

With the COVID crisis keeping me at home, I really miss spending time with teachers. Fortunately, tech tools like Zoom offer an alternative. I had planned to offer office hours in April for teachers to address your questions about teaching math using a Singapore approach.

And then this happened:

We’re all ok and in temporary housing, so it’s time to get back online!

Are you stuck at home and need to teach your students remotely? Just curious about Singapore Math or Model Drawing? This is your opportunity to ask me anything about teaching math the Singapore way, or get help on finishing the school year.

Please click to register:

Thursdays, starting May 7 at 10:00 AM Mountain Time

Tuesdays starting, May 12 at 1:00  PM Mountain Time.

Attendance is limited, so sign up today!  I’d love your input on times or topics for future sessions; share your suggestions here.

Singapore Math Online Resources – Free! (For now…)

Since so many teachers and parents are schooling from home, I thought I’d update some of the resources that companies are offering for free, at least through the end of the academic year.

Dimensions Math and Primary Math

For students:  free instructional lesson videos  Grades 1–4.
These are designed for students to use with textbooks and workbooks to complete their school work. Many of these lessons may be used for students using Primary Mathematics as well; PM students should look here to find the corresponding Dimensions Math chapters.

For teachers: free access to ebooks. Fill out the request form here: https://www.singaporemath.com/at-home-learning

Primary Math and Math in Focus

Marshall Cavendish is providing free access through the end of May to Math Buddies, an online learning tool.

Some of my favorite sites and apps

These are challenging times… How can we help?

The Coronavirus pandemic is impacting society across the globe. Efforts to reduce the spread of the virus are forcing unprecedented disruptions, including widespread lockdowns that have closed many of our schools.

Despite the COVID-19 threat, life goes on. Teachers, who thrive on personal interaction with students in their classrooms, are being asked to deliver instruction remotely. And students are being asked to learn independently.

In these challenging times, we want to help.

Free Dimensions Math Lesson Videos

For students, Singapore Math Inc. is currently offering free instructional lesson videos created for Dimensions Math Grades 1–4. These are designed for students to use with textbooks and workbooks to complete their school work. Many of these lessons may be used for students using Primary Mathematics as well; PM students should look here to find the corresponding Dimensions Math chapters.

Live Online Q & A Sessions

With the COVID crisis keeping me at home, I really miss spending time with teachers. Fortunately, tech tools like Zoom offer an alternative. So, beginning next week, I plan to host live, online meetings to address your questions about teaching math using a Singapore approach.

Are you stuck at home and need to teach your students remotely? Just curious about Singapore Math or Model Drawing? 

This is your opportunity to Ask Me Anything about teaching math the Singapore way. Please register here for the Tuesday, March 31 session. This Q & A will begin at 1:00 PM  Mountain Time (US). Attendance is limited, so sign up today! Canceled due to personal emergency. We’ll try again in 2 weeks!

I’d love your input on times or topics for future sessions; share your suggestions here.

Summer Jumpstart Your Singapore Math Workshop Update

The Coronavirus pandemic has escalated significantly since we announced these workshops three weeks ago. We hope the crisis will soon pass and life will return to something more normal.

We know when that happens, teachers will want training for the next school year. It is too early to know whether it will be safe or proper to hold summer training. We will continue to evaluate the situation and provide updates here.  We will also notify those registered of any changes and offer a flexible refund policy.

Please stay safe in these uncertain times.

The Impact of Singapore Math at MPA

[Note: I’ve enjoyed working with Mounds Park Academy (MPA) in Saint Paul, Minnesota, since 2014. For the last three years, MPA has generously hosted our annual Jumpstart Your Singapore Math Instruction workshops.]

Renee Wright

I was thrilled to read a January 9, 2020, blog post, “The Impact of Singapore Math at MPA,” written by Lower School Director Renee Wright. It is a brief, but thorough, overview that anyone considering a Singapore program should read.

Renee recounts some of the many reasons the school chose to adopt
a Singapore program in kindergarten through fifth grade six years ago,
including:

Singapore Math meets the needs of all learners, provides
extra practice and support for students when necessary, and is inherently
challenging for the advanced math student.

To illustrate her point, Renee invites readers to consider a word
problem assigned to fourth graders:

Mrs.
Wright, Dr. Hudson, and Ms. Tesdahl all wrapped lots of presents over
the holidays.
Mrs. Wright wrapped four times as many as Dr. Hudson (remember,
she has grandchildren!), and Ms. Tesdahl wrapped 3 more than half as many
as Mrs. Wright. Together they wrapped 31 presents. How many presents did
Dr. Hudson wrap?

She notes that this is a challenging problem for Lower School students and maybe even readers. But:

Believe it or not, fourth-graders at Mounds Park Academy approached this problem with confidence and were successful in finding the solution.

Renee includes data to document student success:

We can carefully examine the longitudinal data and impact of
Singapore Math. One way is to review ACT Aspire assessment data collected over
the past several years to determine if our students’ scores have shown
improvement. Our student data has been compared to national percentiles and
independent school benchmarks and it shows that our students have made steady
gains in math concepts and usage.

She also includes anecdotal evidence from several teachers, including: Renette Stinson and Shelley Steingraeber (third grade); Deedee Stacy and Yamini Kimmerle (fourth grade); and Chris Peterson (fifth grade). Deedee and Yamini said:

Singapore Math is designed to give students an extremely well
developed mathematical foundation, and to challenge them daily to apply
mathematical concepts in new situations. Our students at MPA love to learn, and
Singapore Math makes that happen!

And what did students say?

…third graders [said] that Singapore Math is challenging, but
fun! One student identified the mental math emphasis as something that helps
him use math every single day. Another student said she used to hate math but
now she loves it because Singapore Math makes sense.

Finally, Renee offers her reflections:

Today, as an administrator looking at the data, hearing from
the teachers, and feeling the enthusiasm for math from our students, I know
that adopting Singapore Math was the right decision. It has served our students
well and is aligned with the college preparatory nature and foundational
mission of our school. I am so proud of the time, attention, and effort our
teachers have put into teaching the Singapore curriculum. I acknowledge and
celebrate the math success our students have had daily in the classroom due to
the Singapore Math curriculum and feel confident they are ready for their
future journey of higher level math.

Giving Thanks – 2019 Year in Review

As December brings a break for holidays and the start of a new year, we appreciate the opportunity to spend quality time with friends and family. During this pause, I also reflect on our past year working with schools and teachers and plan for the year ahead.

Reflecting on 2019, I am reminded of my great good fortune to have discovered my calling. Last year, I celebrated my 12th year as a mathematics trainer/coach/consultant and 17th year working with Singapore Mathematics programs. I am so grateful for the opportunity to champion elementary math education AND to be able to spend time so much time in classrooms with teachers and students.  I TRULY LOVE my job.

I say this every year, and it continues to be true: I am humbled and honored that schools seek out our services year after year. We extend our sincere thanks to schools that hired us in 2019 and each of the 200+ clients we have served over the past dozen years.

Before everyone returns to their daily routine, we wanted to share with you some highlights and achievements that Math Champions celebrated in 2019.

Training/Coaching/Consulting

Over the past year, we worked with schools from coast-to-coast (and abroad) in all manner of roles: overseeing new curriculum adoptions, coaching teachers, coaching coaches, advising administration, and more. We also developed hybrid programs, crafted to meet the particular needs of schools seeking a custom solution.

In 2019:

  • 38 schools hired Math Champions to help improve their math instruction.
  • 28 of those schools (more than 73%) were repeat clients.
  • We visited schools in 15 States as well as several schools abroad (more on these below).
  • Language immersion and Singapore Math were a great match! We worked with Mandarin, Spanish, French, German, and Italian immersion schools.

Although we love to visit schools on any occasion, it is especially gratifying when we have the opportunity to observe the significant progress that schools make on return visits!

International Training

We began 2019 in Guam, completing our first teacher training assignment under a multi-year contract with the Department of Education. Collectively, we spent more than a month on the island in January and May helping more than 400 teachers and DOE staff learn about the Singapore approach to math instruction. We look forward to returning in 2020.

Math is Everywhere: With a Tangram at Lianzhuang Metro Station in Hangzhou
Arriving at Ningbo Railway Station!

Twenty-nineteen also featured a training trip to China.  We returned (for a fourth time!) to Hangzhou International School and made our first visit to Georgia School of Ningbo. In China, as a non-Mandarin speaker, getting there is half the fun. It seemed like we spent an hour trying to find the ticket office at Hangzhou East Railway Station. But why worry, as inter-city trains depart every 15 minutes! When finally aboard, the high-speed rail ride between Hangzhou and Ningbo, with speeds exceeding 300 km/h, was thrilling.

In 2019, Math Champions was awarded its second contract in three years to assist the Republic of Palau’s Ministry of Education with its Singapore Math program. In January 2020, we will return to Palau to spend two weeks with more than 200 of the nation’s teachers.

Dimensions Math in the Wild!

In 2018, we celebrated the launch of Dimensions Math, a new Pre-K to Grade 5 series based on the pedagogy and methodology of math education in Singapore.

With Dimensions Math Teacher’s Guides
With Dimensions Math Teacher’s Guides

As the lead author of Dimensions Math Teacher’s Guides for K-5, it was super exciting and gratifying to work with schools using Dimensions in 2019. I look forward to the completion of the Dimensions Math series in 2020.

Jumpstart Your Singapore Math Instruction

Jumpstart is our two-day interactive, introductory workshop on how to best use the Singapore Math approach. In 2019, we finally realized the goal of offering Jumpstart in locations from coast-to-coast. Hundreds of teachers (including several from abroad) attended sessions presented in Virginia, Arizona, Minnesota, Colorado and California.

Attendees at the sold-out (!) Jumpstart Colorado workshop

Presentations at National Educator Conferences

Again in 2019, we were busy attending annual conferences for math educators (our continuing education). In addition, we were honored to present at the following conferences:

... and NCTM...
... and NCTM...
...and CMC-S
  • National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM)
  • National Council of Supervisors of Mathematics (NCSM)
  • National Catholic Educators Association (NCEA)
  • Minnesota Council of Teachers of Mathematics (MCTM)
  • California Mathematics Council-South (CMC-S)

MILE-stones

According to TripIt, I established a new record with 151,045 miles flown in 2019. In addition, I topped 1 million miles for the period from 2008-present. [OK, I admit that there are some personal trips counted here. Still…].

And I read 60 books while on those flights, too!

Looking ahead

Whew. What a year!

What does 2020 hold in store? Here are some of the things we’re looking forward to in the year ahead:

  • Working with returning and new school clients. Did I say that I LOVE spending time in classrooms with teachers and students?
  • Presenting Jumpstart Your Singapore Math workshops across the USA and (new in 2020) Canada.
  • Presenting at and attending NCTM, NCSM, MCTM, CMC and other educator conferences.

Finally, I want to extend special thanks to our favorite partners/friends:

And thank you to our fabulous Jumpstart 2019 host schools:

What’s the Word Problem?

I often work with international Schools where the teachers commit to two-three years and then move on to other schools and other countries. I was surprised by an email this week from a former 3rd-grade teacher I worked with at a school in China. She is now teaching in Malaysia.

Hi Cassy, I’ve moved on…but all that bar model training is serving me well at the math PD at my new school!

She included this image:

  • Can you write a word problem for this bar model and the calculations?
  • What grade level might this be from?
  • What do you notice about the manipuative used?
  • What questions can we ask based on the model given?

Graphing the Holidays

Originally posted 11/27/2018

Teaching between Thanksgiving and the winter break can be a challenge. How do you keep your students engaged in meaningful math learning while embracing the season? Introducing graphing and data analysis might just be the answer.

Imagine starting your day in first grade with a question about favorite holiday treats. Students can answer the question and instantly you have meaningful data that can be organized into a tally chart, picture graph, or bar graph for students to analyze. Or, students can build a bar graph with post-it notes as they make their choices. Then, spend some time analyzing the results.

Ask 5th graders if they traveled over Thanksgiving break. If so, how far? Now use this data to find mean, median, and mode, or to create a histogram for students to analyze. Or, chart the temperatures over the course of a couple of weeks and use this data to create a line graph.

Third and fourth graders could tally the number of candles in their homes for the holidays and use this data to create a line plot. Fourth graders can use their line plots to explore finding the median.

Planning a holiday party? Survey the students on what should be served and what activities should be included. Students can present the findings in a graph and use the results to determine how much and what needs to be donated or purchased to make the party a success.

The holidays are a great time to share family traditions. Why not use that information to meet some graphing and data analysis standards?

For other ideas to keep students engaged in learning read Mental Math Breaks from December 2017.

Who’s doing the talking?

A new school year brings new commitments to improving our practice as teachers of mathematics. One tip I often share with the teachers I coach is, “Ask more and tell less.” Well, that’s easy to say, but what does that look and sound like in the classroom?

Often times, the teacher’s guides are written following a more traditional, lecture-style of teaching. They encourage the teacher to model, or work problems, while the students watch, and then the students are asked to mimic what the teacher did with a similar problem. I challenge you to flip the script and replace the word “show” with “have the students model” and replace “tell” with “ask”. When your teacher’s guide says to show the students the difference or similarities between problems or concepts replace that with, “ask the students what they notice?” It’s these little tweaks that will go a long way toward engaging your students in meaningful discourse and ultimately deepening their understanding.

A fourth-grade teacher from Aurora, Colorado shared her strategies for engaging students in math talk in her classroom.

While this appears to be written for the students to follow, it also suggests some great questions for teachers to ask to generate more discussion.

As students are working through a task ask:

  • How did you solve that?
  • How do you know that’s correct?
  • Can you solve it another way?
  • Can you build a model?
  • Can you use numbers and symbols to explain your model?
  • Is that the best (most efficient) way to solve that?
  • Is your answer reasonable?
  • Do you agree or disagree with your partner’s answer?

So, who’s doing all the talking? Give some of these questions a try and let us know how it goes.

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