My Heartfelt Thanks for Teaching in Turbulent 2020!

Welcome to 2021! I don’t think I need to add anything to all that has been said  2020 except good riddance. Our house burned up and still isn’t rebuilt, schools have been on-site, then remote, then on-site, then remote, then… 

…And through it all, teachers and students have been struggling to stay focused. 

I think we all deserve a pat on the back for making it through 2020. 

Whether you have had a good or a bad year, it’s important to celebrate what one can – and that’s why I’m celebrating you! Thank you for visiting this site and for your continued support.

Thank you for getting up every day and heading to school to be there for your students, even if your “school” is a computer in your garage. 

Thank you for Zoom-ing, Team-ing, Google Jam-ming, Flipboarding, Screencastify-ing, Padlet-ing, or whatever new technology you have learned to connect with your crew.

Thank you for subscribing to our Jumpstart Your Singapore Math On-Demand video modules! They are being updated now and will be available in smaller, bite-sized chunks soon.

Thank you for having me in your classrooms. It is a privilege to continue to work with teachers and students during these crazy months. 

I have plenty of posts and videos coming so keep your eyes on this space. Additionally, I will also be announcing summer 2021 Jumpstart Your Singapore Math workshops soon, so be sure to sign up for the mailing list. 


Jumpstart Your Singapore Math – Online!

*Due to current COVID restrictions, we’re sad to announce that the workshops scheduled for California and Minnesota will no longer be held onsite.*

As much as we’d love to work with you in-person, we know that many states are in limbo right now, awaiting budget and schedule decisions for fall, however, we are fully prepared to support you and your teachers with the best training possible in these unusual circumstances. And so…

We’re thrilled to announce that we are offering the sessions as a synchronous/asynchronous (or choose your buzzword: video and live, online, remote…) workshop format. 

Here’s how it will work

Part 1: Video Modules

The week before the live sessions, attendees will get access to almost 6 hours of recorded modules covering the basics of Singapore Math, along with a Math Champions Sourcebook. The modules cover the bulk of the mathematical content we typically address during onsite Jumpstart workshops.

Module 1: What is Singapore Math? What are the foundations and pedagogy of the curriculum? What should a typical lesson look like? What is a “task”?

Module 2: What are the addition and subtraction foundations I need to know? How do I teach mental math strategies?

Module 3: How do I teach multiplication facts? What mental math strategies for multiplication and division do I need to know?

Module 4: How do I use place value discs to teach the four operations for whole numbers and decimals?

Module 5: What is bar modeling? How do I teach bar modeling in a classroom?

Part 2: Live meetings!

Typically, the Jumpstart Your Singapore Math workshops are curriculum neutral, meaning, we can’t address specific content for every set of books. A virtual format allows us to focus directly on your specific grade levels and materials. On July 30 and 31, you can choose to attend sessions specifically for your materials and/or grade level. These sessions are NOT webinars. They are meetings with a limited number of attendees and the same two-way conversations we have in all of our in-person training.

Tentative Live Session Schedule:

July 30, 2020

9:00 am – 10:00 am Grades K – 2: Number Sense

10:15 am  – 10:30 am Break

10:30 am – 11:30 am Grades K – 2: Games, groups, and activities

11:30 am – 11:45 am  Break

11:45 am  – 12:15 pm Grades K-2: Primary Mathematics materials overview

12:30 pm  – 1:00 pm  Grades K-2: Math in Focus materials overview

1:15 pm  – 1:45 pm Grades K-2: Dimensions Math materials overview

* All times MDT

July 31, 2020

9:00 am – 10:00 am: Grades 3 – 6 Fractions and proportional reasoning

10:15 am – 10:30 am: Break

10:30 am  – 11:30 am:  Grades 3 – 6 More challenging word problems

11:30 am – 11:45 pm:  Break

11:45 pm – 12:15 pm:  Grades 3 – 6 Primary Math materials overview

12:30 – 1:00: Grades 3-5 Dimensions Math materials overview

1:15 – 1:45:  Grades 3-5 Math in Focus materials overview

2:00 – 2:30:  Grades 6-8 Dimensions Math and Math in Focus materials overview

If teachers complete the included activities, home enjoyment, and love sessions, they will receive a certificate for 13 hours of professional development.

*We cannot ensure timely delivery of course materials for orders received after July 17.

We will be using Padlet during the modules. Sign up for a free account here:


Supporting Schools in the Covid-19 Era

We know that teachers learn best when they learn together.

For this reason, over the last dozen years, we’ve primarily offered onsite, in-person training.

Due to COVID-19 restrictions, delivering instruction live in schools is currently difficult and it is unclear when we will be able to resume “normal” training.

Given this uncertainty, we have developed creative ways to provide educators with the high-quality training that you have come to expect from Math Champions. We are fully prepared to support you and your teachers with the best training possible in these unusual circumstances.

Here is an overview of training options currently available to schools:

Live Onsite Training Visits

We are fully prepared to visit your school for in-person sessions if it is feasible to learn in a safe environment and follow recommended state and CDC guidelines. Our teacher voices project beyond 6 feet, our manipulatives are sanitized after each use, and our hands are washed.

Live, Remote Training via Video Conference

While we know we cannot replicate the energy and discourse of an onsite training, we can cover most of the content required to get teachers up and running through online sessions.

Delivering instruction in this format is different than in person, and we know that teachers may be “Zoom”ed out. For that reasons, we have planned these with more frequent, shorter breaks to keep teachers fresh and attentive.

Recorded Training Modules

We have created a series of recorded modules that serve as an Introduction to Singapore Math. The series consists of five videos, each approximately one hour in length. If teachers complete the included activities, the program equates to approximately nine hours of professional development.

These videos cover the basics of Singapore Math, including:

  • What is Singapore Math? What are the foundations and pedagogy of the curriculum?
  • Addition and subtraction basics and mental math
  • Multiplication facts and mental math strategies for multiplication and division
  • Using place value discs to teach the four operations
  • An introduction to bar modeling for solving words problems

Recorded Modules cover the bulk of the mathematical content we typically address during onsite Introductory training. To ensure that questions are answered, and teachers are fully prepared to teach, we suggest that live, remote training sessions be included to supplement recorded modules. We can help devise a structure for your school in a variety of ways to maximize learning.

Support for Success

We are committed to giving schools resources and support to ensure success throughout the school year, including:

  • Resource Handbook: The amount of material and content covered in a training can seem overwhelming. Because of this, we provide each teacher with a handbook that serves as a future reference guide
  • Support: We offer email and telephone access as needed for questions from teachers and administration to allow your schools to seek help or advice quickly.
  • Parent Night Presentations: We love to host Parent education events, which can be informational sessions or a variety of hands-on, bootcamp style learning experiences. We have already done introductory parent nights via Zoom!
  • Parent-teachers: If fall finds your school needing parents to teach a good amount at home, we can extend our offer of email support or even online office hours for your parents.

Please reach out if you have questions or want to share information about your school’s situation.

Be well and stay safe.


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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,

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:

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.