Reader Survey: Help Us Help You

As the popularity and influence of Singapore Math® programs grow, so does interest in focused professional development around Singapore-based concepts.

Each month, we receive dozens of inquiries from teachers and schools seeking training to ensure that they are using the curriculum as effectively as possible. We are in the process of planning future educational programs for teachers and schools, and would love to know how we can help you!

If you are interested in learning more about Singapore Math or taking your current math teaching skills to a higher level, please take a few minutes to complete this survey.

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4,000 Teachers, 100,000 Students: Celebrating 7 Years with BER

DSC_0797 (2)In 2008, I left teaching in the classroom to champion Singapore Mathematics and expand its reach to elementary schools and children everywhere. The following year, the Bureau of Education and Research (BER) gave me an amazing opportunity to pursue this goal by presenting Singapore Math workshops throughout North America.

Some attendees at my BER seminars came with prior knowledge about the Singapore curriculum, but a bigger number were being introduced to Math from Singapore for the first time.

At a Seattle workshop earlier this year, BER’s Mark Ita surprised me (and other attendees) by presenting me with a handsome plaque, which read, in part:

In Recognition of Your Distinguished Teaching and Your Outstanding Contribution to the Education Profession

4,000 Teachers, 100,000 Students

DSC_0800 (1)The stats scribbled on a Post-It Note on the back of the plaque included some tangible data to support this statement:

  • 165 Seminars
  • 4,000 Teachers
  • Over 100,000 Students
2016-05-12 (1)

Cassy with BER’s Mark Ita

It is highly satisfying to know that I have impacted this number of teachers and students through my BER presentations. On the other hand, the National Center for Education Statistics reports that there are about 35.2 million Pre-K to Grade 8 students in the United States. Clearly, there is much more work to be done!

I am very grateful to BER for giving me the opportunity to present Singapore Math workshops on their behalf over the past seven years. Sincere thanks to Rich, Boyce, Mark, Nargis, Lisa and the entire travel logistics team, and the dozens of project managers who have provided encouragement and support along the way. Thank you so much!



Oxford University Events featuring Singapore Maths (and Me!)

Photo: Pablo Fernández/Flickr Creative Commons

Photo: Pablo Fernández/Flickr Creative Commons

I’m thrilled to announce that I’ll be speaking at not just one, but two different international conferences at Oxford University in England this June. And I am deeply honored by the invitation to present a Keynote address at one. Here are the details:

researchED Maths and Science Conference

Saturday, June 11th, 2016 — Oxford’s Mathematical Institute

reseachED are holding an inaugural conference in Oxford aimed at primary and secondary maths and science teachers. I’ll be on a panel with Sue Lowndes and Dr. Fong Ho Kheong that will explore the implementation of the Singapore approach in non-Singaporean countries; what do we know, what we have learned and what should we do going forwards. I’ll be the representing U.S. contingent.

International Forum: Implications for UK practice in using the Singapore approach to teaching and learning in mathematics

Monday and Tuesday, June 13 – 14, 2016 — St. Anne’s College, Oxford

I will be speaking at two sessions at this conference. On Day 2, I’ll present a keynote entitled: You’ve adopted the Singapore approach to teaching mathematics – now what? Singapore maths curricula have a proven track record for meeting standards in mathematics. They can, however, be seen as a departure from prior curricula that teachers have used. This session will explore what teachers and senior leaders should consider throughout the implementation process.

I’ll also head up a workshop session, Filling in Knowledge Gaps: Critical lessons across the year groups.  Upper KS2 students (that’s ages 8 to 11 to Americans) frequently lack the foundations required in order to successfully follow the Singapore curriculum. In this ‘straight from the classroom’ session, we’ll discuss the critical lessons and concepts students must master before jumping into their year-level content.

I understand that registration is brisk at these sessions. Hope to see you there!

Link to event registration pages:

  • researchED Maths and Science Conference 
  • International Forum: Raising the bar! Implications for UK practice in using the Singapore approach to raise standards of teaching and learning in primary mathematics

Who to see at NCSM 2016?

Each year I attend the NCSM Annual Conference for my own personal professional development. The sessions on teacher development and coaching are invaluable! I don’t have my full schedule planned yet, but thought I’d share a few of the speakers that I make a point to see each year.

The National Council of Supervisors of Mathematics is designed for math Lead, Coaches, anyone with a commitment to improving mathematics education. Their vision is built upon the pillars of:


First off, don’t miss my session where Lauri Susi and I will be sharing the latest in Bar Model/Tape Diagram technology! It’s the last session on Monday, so plan to hang around afterward with questions.

Let’s connect! Find me via the NCSM Conference app or email: cassy (at) singaporemathsource (dot) com

April 11, 2016, 4:00 PM – 5:00 PM

#1706 A Picture + Technology = Understanding x 10

Lead Speaker: Cassandra Turner
Co-Presenter: Lauri Susi
Room: OCC 202

Tape Diagrams, Bar Models, and other pictorial representations sit at the intersection of CCSSM, problem solving and technology! Come solve problems from the simple to the complex, and investigate a web-based program and iPad app that will help anyone incorporate this practical and visual problem-solving strategy into their classrooms.

April 11, 2016, 9:30 AM – 10:30 AM

#1101 Who Are You and What Do You Want To Create?
Lead Speaker: Lucy West

What is the most important skill you can cultivate to influence the system in which you work in positive and productive ways? Are you caught in old thinking patterns and outdated notions associated with hierarchical structures and defined roles? Do you have the skill set and the courage to speak up in ways others will listen and even act upon? When the pressures of new standards, high-stakes testing linked to student and teacher evaluations seem relentless and you are faced with tough decisions about where to focus your energy, how do you maintain your integrity yet stay in the game? Join me to reflect on what the research says is the most important condition needed for any organization to thrive.

#1102 A Curriculum Developer Looks at the Common Core and Its Testing
Lead Speaker: Zal Usiskin

The CCSSM constitute an ideal curriculum, while PARCC, SBAC, and the other tests constitute a tested curriculum. To what extent are these curricula in sync with each other and to the NCTM Standards (another ideal), and to what extent do these curricula agree with curricula in other countries?

April 11, 2016, 10:45 AM – 11:45 AM

#1203 Digital Tools and Three-Act Tasks: Marriages Made in the Cloud
Lead Speaker: Arjan Khalsa

Bring your iPad and your inquisitive mind. What do you notice? What do you wonder? How can you lead your district to use free, online tools effectively? This session features mathematical tasks with video anchors and online, virtual manipulatives. Themes will include: inquiry, rich discourse, perseverance, and authentic connections for grades 3–5.

#1207 Working in Harmony: Orchestrating Effective Parent Education
Lead Speaker: Barbara Blanke

It is critical to work in harmony with parents to support ALL students’ mathematical learning. Our coaching teams implemented informational meetings, parent coffees, Problems of the Month, and family mathematics nights to nurture parents’ understanding of the CCSSM. Receive ready-to-use resources to educate and build constructive partnerships.

April 11, 2016, 2:45 PM – 3:45 PM

#1607 Leading Change: Professional Development (PD) Moves That Promote New Ways of Thinking, Learning, and Teaching
Lead Speaker: Kim Rimbey

Meaningful PD opportunities provide time for participants to develop pedagogical content knowledge while reflecting on practice. But teachers want to walk out the door with “activities they can use tomorrow.” Join us as we examine strategic PD moves that customize and enhance presentations while layering classroom tasks with deep adult learning.

April 13: 8:45 AM – 9:45 AM

#3102 Critical Connections
Lead Speaker: Greg Tang

Teaching students to make sense of problems may be the single most important thing we can do. But what exactly does that look like? Join us as we make surprising connections between part-whole models, comparison word problems and simultaneous equations. Mathematics is amazing when it actually makes sense!

#3103 Demonstrating Understanding of Algebraic Concepts
Lead Speaker: Robyn Silbey

Other than following a series of prescribed steps, how can students show they have deep conceptual understanding? First, you’ll explore one algebraic concept that connects ideas and demonstrates true understanding. Then, leader actions and thought processes applying to daily instruction will be shared. Every student can fully understand algebra!

April 13: 11:45 AM – 12:45 AM

#3302 How to Create a Mathematics Teacher Specialist Network
Lead Speaker: Robert Kaplinsky

We have developed a thriving network of over 140 mathematics teacher specialists from five counties that regularly meets to collaborate and save time by pulling the best ideas from the group. Members state that it is the best ongoing professional development they receive. Learn how to grow one in your area and avoid potential implementation issues.

April 13: 3:30 PM – 4:30 PM

#3604 Practical Suggestions for Recasting our Homework Policies and Practices
Lead Speaker: Steve Leinwand

Little in life is a greater waste of time than doing and going over mathematics homework. This session will review typical practices, available research, and propose a set of changes that result in far more impactful homework policies and practices.




Previewing NCTM 2016 Conference Singapore Math Sessions

The NCTM (National Council of Teachers of Mathematics) Annual Meeting & Exposition program 2016 is now online and it’s time for my annual review of Singapore Mathematics sessions.

I’ve included sessions on Tape Diagrams and Strip Models because there are no sessions this year citing Singapore Math® strategies and only one using Number Bonds. This is because the Common Core progression documents cite many of Singapore’s visual models. My hope is that many of the visual strategies are modeled throughout the conference.  The number of overall choices addressing Singapore strategies is down from the number offered last year.

As usual, most of the sessions overlap.  Below are my thoughts on which session to choose, if you have a conflict.

See you in San Francisco! Email me if you’d like a tour at NCTM through materials or to just talk all things math: Cassy (at)

Thursday, April 14: 8:00 AM – 9:00 AM – Four sessions conflict

#23 MMMMM (Making Math More Meaningful with Models) in Pre-K–2

Lead Speaker: Duane Habecker
Too often we push our students directly to abstract algorithms without first giving students the prerequisite experience with models such as empty number lines, number bonds, arrow method, area model, etc. Teachers will learn how to use these models to make math meaningful for their students.

#26 Problem Structures for Tape Diagrams

Lead Speaker: Nirmala Nutakki
Tape diagrams can model relationships in a wide variety of problems involving the arithmetic operations, fractions, ratios, and percent. We will examine the problem structures most amenable to tape diagram solution and illustrate how tape diagrams can be used to develop and support proportional and algebraic reasoning.

#34 The Front Lines of Modeling: Bar/Tape Models from Real Classrooms

Lead Speaker: Dr. Kevin Mahoney
Tried your hand at bar modeling? Examine common errors, misunderstandings, and dispositions in actual student work. Leave with a deeper understanding of how children use (and misuse) models

#34.3 Exhibitor Workshop – Bar Modeling with Math Buddies, the Singapore Math® Online Resource

Lead Speaker: Marshall Cavendish (Probably Chris Coyne)
Discover how students learn and use the Singapore Math® bar model in kindergarten–grade 5. The foundations set in kindergarten with number sense and number bonds develop into meaningful links in the problem-solving process. Math Buddies, a K–5 digital resource will take your students through the Singapore Math® bar model approach to problem solving.

Not familiar with Nirmala Nutakki, so can’t comment. Math Buddies is a great digital resource for Singapore Math, and it will also be modeled at their booth. I’m intrigued by the MMMMM, but will probably be in Kevin Mahoney’s session – he wrote his doctoral dissertation on bar modeling in the classroom!

Friday, April 15: 9:30 AM – 10:30 AM

#332 Tape Diagrams . . . NOT Just for Early Elementary Grades

Lead Speaker: Jodelle S. W. Magner
Co-Speaker: Sue McMillen

Participants will examine the use of tape diagrams throughout CCSSM and solve questions from first grade through algebra. Participants will leave with knowledge of where tape diagrams apply in many types of mathematics. Some tape diagram solutions will be compared to traditional solutions to illuminate the usefulness of this tool.


I’m sure these presenters are wonderful, but I’ll be attending session #323 Insights and Practical Suggestions for Making Coaching for More Effective with Steve Leinwand. If you are a math coach, this one is mandatory.

Friday, April 15: 2:00 PM – 3:00 PM

#464 Using Tape Diagrams to Foster Algebraic Thinking and Problem Solving

Lead Speaker: Bill Jackson
Co-Speaker: Makoto Yoshida

See how tape diagrams can be used to foster algebraic thinking to help young children solve addition and subtraction problems involving unknowns in all positions. Video footage of a lesson study cycle on teaching through problem solving and students sharing and discussing multiple solution methods will be shared.

Saturday, April 16: 11:00 AM – 12:00 PM

#589 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. Participants will learn how to use “math talk” as a powerful way to provide consolidation and purposeful practice of essential skills and concepts.