Come see us in April!

We’ll be presenting at the following conferences in April. Stop by and say “I’m a Math Champion” to get one of our cool buttons!

NCSM Annual Conference 2019 | San Diego
April 3 | 1:45 – 2:45 pm

No More “Menacing Multiplication” and “Laborious Long Division” – Understanding Procedures through Number Sense in Grades 3-5

As a mathematics leader, how many times have you heard teachers ask “My students are struggling, can’t I just teach them a procedure?” Teachers recognize the need for students to develop both procedural fluency and conceptual understanding but are often unsure of how to do so. Explore strategies focused on numeracy, sense-making, and fostering a conceptual understanding that will help even the most struggling student understand the abstract algorithms for multiplication and division

NCTM Annual Meeting 2019 | San Diego

We’ll be presenting regular and exhibitor sessions for Singapore Math, Inc. as they’re releasing their new Singapore Math Series Dimensions Math. Come meet the authors!

#133.4 Empowering Algebraic Thinkers
April 4 | 11:00 am – 12:00 pm
Experience how mental math strategies for grades 4–6 build confidence and understanding for future algebra students. Fill up your teaching toolbox with Singapore math strategies that prepare elementary students for advanced math.

#255 Using Mental Math to Deepen Number Sense
April 4 | 3:15 pm – 4:30 pm Beth made some awesome short videos!

#360.3 Ready, Set, Play: Practicing Number Sense with Games
April 5 | 9:30 am – 10:30 am

NCEA 2019 Convention & Expo

Understanding Procedures through Number Sense: Grades 3-5
April 23 | 1:30 PM – 2:45 PM
Join us as we work with manipulatives to understand and practice multi-digit multiplication and long division algorithms for whole numbers and decimals. Learn how to help all learners master the move from concrete to pictorial representation to the ultimate abstract algorithm with a deep understanding of regrouping and place value.

Strategies First: Teaching Fact Fluency with Hands-on Activities and Games
April 24 | 2:00 pm – 3:00 p.m.
If we can’t teach memorization, then what do we do? Participants will learn how to develop hands-on lessons that promote deep conceptual understanding and strengthen students’ number sense. We will explore strategies for teaching and learning addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division facts to make mathematics accessible to all students. Participants will engage in activities and games that promote automaticity with math facts, leaving with the tools needed to take what they learned and apply it immediately in their classrooms.

MCTM Spring Conference 2019
April 25-26, 2019

Ready, Set, Play: Practicing Number Sense with Games
Day/Time TBA


Come see us at NCEA and NCTM

Spring educators’ conference season is upon us and we are thrilled by several opportunities to speak at upcoming events.  The descriptions below are from conference programs.

NCEA 2018 Convention & Expo (April 3 – 5 at the Duke Energy Convention Center in Cincinnati, OH) is the largest private-education association gathering in the nation!

Strip Models, Tape Diagrams, Bar Models, Oh My!
Presenters: Cassy Turner and Beth Curran
Date: Tuesday, April 3, 2018
Time: 1:30 PM – 2:45 PM
Room: 251

Improving students’ problem-solving abilities is a major focus of mathematics education. Model drawing is a powerful tool that students can use to attack complex problems. In this hands-on, minds ­on session, presenters will investigate methods of teaching and assessing tape diagrams for those persnickety word problems, and explore interactive model drawing technology. Walk away with strategies for guiding student learning that you can use tomorrow!

Using Mental Math Strategies to Deepen Number Sense
Presenters: Beth Curran and Cassy Turner
Date: Thursday, April 5, 2018
Time: 11:15 AM – 12:30 PM
Room: 251

Number sense = mental math. Participants will actively explore mental math strategies used throughout the elementary grades. Engaging in mental math activities allows students to develop a relational understanding of numbers and their magnitude. Students begin to see numbers as being made up of parts and develop an understanding of how numbers can be composed and decomposed for mental calculations. Discourse around mental math allows students to expand their toolbox of strategies for solving problems and to evaluate strategies and answers for efficiency and reasonableness.

NCTM Annual Meeting and Exposition 2018 (April 25 – 28 at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in Washington, D.C.) is the premier math education event of the year!

Do Not Invert and Multiply! Building the Bridge to Algebra Through Fractions Tasks
Date:  Friday, April 27, 2018
Time:  1:30 PM – 2:30 PM
Room:  159 AB

Join Cassy Turner, Beth Curran, and Allison Coates as they work through hands-on tasks for fractions. We’ll investigate how the progression of fractions problems helps students build mastery of algebraic concepts such as naming unknown quantities, writing expressions, and laying the foundation for solving for x.

Using Anchor Tasks to Engage Learners: Deepening Understanding through Exploration and Discourse
Date:  Saturday, April 28, 2018
Time:  8:00 AM – 9:00 AM
Room:  146 B

Participants will engage in active math lessons and learn how to use learning objectives to create anchor tasks that spark student interest and allow students of all levels to build on prior knowledge, explore concepts with concrete materials and engage in productive discourse to deepen conceptual understanding with a focus on problem-solving. Cassy Turner and Beth Curran will lead this interactive workshop

Beginning Bar Model Boot Camp: Getting Started with Model Drawing
Date:  Saturday, April 28, 2018
Time:  9:45 AM – 11:00 AM
Room: 144 ABC

Improving students’ problem-solving abilities is a major objective of Common Core and state standards, and model drawing is a powerful tool that students can use to attack complex problems. Join Cassy Turner and Beth Curran to investigate methods of teaching and assessing tape diagrams for those persnickety word problems, and explore interactive model drawing technology.


Visit us at Upcoming Math Conferences

Beth and Cassy are attending and presenting at the following educational conferences this spring. Please email if you’d like to schedule a time to chat!

Cassy will be attending:

2017 ASCD Annual Conference & Exhibit Show
March 25–26, 2017 | Anaheim, California

Beth and Cassy will be presenting:

2017 NCSM (National Council of Supervisors of Mathematics) Annual Conference
April 2-5, 2017 | San Antonio, Texas
Using Anchor Tasks to Ignite Learners: Coaching Teachers to Facilitate an Inquiry-Based Learning Model
Wednesday, April 5
Session Time: 5 2:15 – 3:15

Cassy will be presenting:

2017 NCTM Annual Conference and Exposition
April 5-8, 2017 | San Antonio, Texas
Hands-On Operations: Using Manipulatives for Understanding
Friday, April 7
Session Time: 2:00pm – 3:00 pm

Beth and Cassy will be presenting:

2017 NCEA Convention & Expo
St. Louis, MO
April 18-20, 2017 | St. Louis, Missouri
Using Anchor Tasks to Ignite Learners: Facilitating Inquiry-Based Math Lessons
Thursday, April 20, 2017
Session Time: 9:30 AM – 10:45 AM

Cassy will be presenting:

SDE’s National Conference on Teaching Math
July 10-14, 2017 | Las Vegas, Nevada
Wednesday, July 12, 2017
9:15 – 10:30 Understanding ALL Operations: A Hands-On Manipulative Tool Kit
11:00 – 12:15 The Best iPad® Apps for Singapore Math!
1:45 – 3:00 Filling in Knowledge Gaps
3:30 – 4:45 Strip Models, Tape Diagrams, Bar Models…Oh My!



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.




On the Topic of Math Sprints and Anxiety

Reflecting on my time at the two national math educator’s meetings, one interesting dichotomy appeared over timed fact tests. On the one side was Jo Boaler stating that timed tests are the root of math anxiety. Pushback came from others, most notably Greg Tang and Scott Baldridge pointing out that kids are timed in real life. They are put under pressure in real life. Students should learn from these experiences, not freak out over them.

It’s a powerful discussion: How do we get kids from fluency (I can use strategies to solve 7 x 8) to automaticity (I just know 7 x 8)? Do we need to get them to automaticity? Do timed tests create math anxiety? Is there spelling test anxiety? Should the key anxiety word be “test”, not “math”?

This conversation appeared recently on twitter after someone posted the “How to Give a Math Sprint” pdf from this site:

Yep, I’d be worried if kids who couldn’t make connections were timed, too.

I’m a proponent of Math Sprints; thoughtfully structured timed tests designed to practice one skill. Sprints are not your typical timed test. Students compete against themselves to improve the number of problems completed in one minute. Then the sprints are thrown away, not recorded in a grade book. They are practice. Period. And just one way to practice math facts.

Do Sprints harm students or cause math anxiety?

Not when administered correctly. I work with a school for students with ADHD and learning disabilities. Initially, teachers there said things like, “I can’t time my kids, they are slow processors”. It turns out that students at this school LOVE sprints. They can always improve by at least one problem on the second sprint. With all the content flying at them, practicing facts is one thing they can do and feel successful with.

Allison Coates runs the non-profit Math Walk Institute that works with schools and students to build a bridge to Algebra.

In every school we’ve ever worked, nearly all students enjoy sprints. They don’t see them as tests if the teacher doesn’t present them as tests. They see them as another fun game they can play against themselves (or against the teacher). Practice makes permanent their knowledge, and students love knowing they have knowledge. Knowledge is power.

Are Sprints from Singapore?

Nope. Sprints were created by Dr. Yoram Sagher as a fluency program to work with any curriculum. I’ve considered them a way to compensate for differences between Singapore and the U.S. In Singapore, parents drill fact fluency while schools teach the conceptual understanding. It’s not unusual for a first grader in Singapore to know all their math facts. It’s the school’s job to then get the understanding of multiplication into such a student. Contrast that with the U.S., where it is less likely that parents practice math facts at home with their child. Few American programs include a fluency component, often farming it out to the web or an iPad app.

Scott Baldridge has a great blog post on sprints: Fluency without Equivocation. I suggest you read it now.

My favorite Sprint books are Differentiated Math Sprints as they offer two difficulty levels with the same answers.

Eureka Math Sprints are aligned to Eureka Math (referenced in Scott Baldridge’s post above).

Wondering about the emphasis on math facts? Read: Why Mental Arithmetic Counts: Brain Activation during Single Digit Arithmetic Predicts High School Math Scores