About

Reneé Smith

Renee
Hi, I am Renee’ Smith and I began teaching math in, of all places, a maximum security prison. “I was 21 years old and 99 lbs. soaking wet.” Some of my students were convicted murderers and as scary as it sounds, it was incredibly sad. Many of those men had failed in the school system and then turned to crime. That early experience with public school dropouts, cemented my resolve to help future students understand and succeed in the area of mathematics. To that end I dedicated 16 years to the classroom, teaching 5th grade math through algebra.After obtaining my Masters in Education from Baker University, I joined the ESSDACK team in 2007.  I have presented at the local, state, and national levels but my most worthwhile experience at ESSDACK has been working to take the fear out of math for teachers and students alike.

Although my primary focus has been providing professional development in mathematics, I also devote time to podcasting and creating materials for teachers to use in their classrooms.   My podcasts include, By the Numbers, Just Desserts and Math Snacks.

Working at ESSDACK has provided me the opportunity to do many of the things I love. “I have the time to research current educational practices, I get to be creative, collaborative, and I meet tons of new people.”

Tammy Fellers

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At eight years old in the second grade, Tammy fondly recalls thinking, “I want to be a teacher.” Each day when the bell rang, she found herself in her mom’s classroom writing lessons on the chalkboard. Dreaming of her own classroom, she set her sights on the education profession.

Turning her dream to reality with a degree in mathematics, Tammy taught at both Chanute and El Dorado High Schools in Kansas – topics ranging from integrated math to trigonometry. After earning two Master’s degrees from Wichita State University in Curriculum & Instruction and in Educational Leadership, Tammy led a charter high school as Principal and Math Teacher. Remaining in El Dorado, Kansas, Tammy moved to the middle school as Assistant Principal and Athletic Director.

Tammy’s dedication to grow both professionally and personally led her to ESSDACK in 2012. A major focus for her is assisting teachers with research-based math content and instructional strategies. Tammy believes a student should first experience math conceptually before focusing on rules and algorithms.

In 2013, Tammy earned the distinction as an iPec Certified Professional Coach and Energy Leadership Index Master Practitioner. She facilitates learning and growth opportunities for all leaders, including administrators, teachers, and students utilizing Core Energy coaching. Her goals are to support leaders and improve school & work culture by focusing on an individual’s ability to lead himself and others. She coaches leaders to reach optimal effectiveness by taking purposeful action through awareness and conscious choice.

Today’s educational world is exciting yet complex. Tammy seeks to create learning opportunities that engage and meet the needs of increasingly diverse populations. Her challenge to all educators is one of continuous growth to ensure that learning experiences both motivate and inspire today’s students – tomorrow’s leaders.

 

Julie Bruington – Tri-County Interlocal 607

Everyone I’ve talked to has told how absolutely wonderful these sessions were.  I thank you for all your hard work. ...
2014-02-24T17:34:25+00:00
Everyone I’ve talked to has told how absolutely wonderful these sessions were.  I thank you for all your hard work.  I will certainly keep you in mind for future trainings.

Karen Tharnu – St. Joseph, MO

I love the Math Snack podcast. What a wonderful way to initiate all teachers into the different strategies of how...
2014-02-24T17:15:39+00:00
I love the Math Snack podcast. What a wonderful way to initiate all teachers into the different strategies of how to do a problem other than the traditional algorithm. All of the podcast lay out the conceptual understanding and how that has to come first before the process. Thank You!!! I have forwarded on the site to all participants and at both of my schools we will be using them during professional development time to further our learning on this topic.

Jennifer Hanson – Liberal, KS

Today’s in-service with Reneé Smith of Essdack was informative. In her presentation, she gave us many strategies (games, activities) to...
2014-02-24T17:18:13+00:00
Today’s in-service with Reneé Smith of Essdack was informative. In her presentation, she gave us many strategies (games, activities) to teach math in the primary grades while weaving common core information and sharing tips for identifying students who might not grasp number concepts. I am anxious to use these ideas with my students. Thanks for providing this professional learning opportunity.

Vonda Franklin – Fourth Grade Teacher – Spalding Elementary

Hello.  I loved your presentation at NCTM conference in Albuquerque.  I have downloaded some of your games from your site....
2014-02-24T17:22:48+00:00
Hello.  I loved your presentation at NCTM conference in Albuquerque.  I have downloaded some of your games from your site. Thank you.

Margie Eck – Junior High Math Teacher – Barber County North

Dear Renee, I just wanted to thank you for the excellent CGI workshop.  I told my principal this morning that...
2014-02-24T17:24:30+00:00
Dear Renee, I just wanted to thank you for the excellent CGI workshop.  I told my principal this morning that your workshop was the best one I have attended in the past 5 years.  You were prepared, organized, and most importantly I could tell that you have really done your research in order to present the material to fellow teachers. I was very encouraged to learn that I am doing a few things right in my classroom! I realize that I need to include hands on learning even if it is as simple as providing each student their own number lines. I am looking forward to our November workshop. Thanks again for sharing your knowledge with us.

Kara Warren – Graber Elementary

First off, thank you for teaching me this! My kids love it and are really making the connections to the...
2014-02-24T17:25:50+00:00
First off, thank you for teaching me this! My kids love it and are really making the connections to the algebra! I have seen the light bulb come on for so many of them!

Lyles Lashley – St Joseph Catholic School – Ellinwood

In my 15 plus years of teaching, I have always dreaded workshops.  Grab 'Em with Games is by far the...
2014-02-24T17:27:56+00:00
In my 15 plus years of teaching, I have always dreaded workshops.  Grab 'Em with Games is by far the best workshop I have ever been to.  Not only did the games improve my students math skills, but some of them became thinkers again.  Instead of asking questions right after I gave out an assignments, my students begin to rediscover the world of learning and they didn't want everything handed to them anymore.  The improvements in mental math after we started playing the games were amazing.  Also the motivation for my students to stay on task and get done with their assignment so they could play the games was a pleasant surprise.

Vernetta Hammersmith – usd481

Hi! I have used the games over and over. I love them!!! Most of the kids like them – others...
2014-02-24T17:30:13+00:00
Hi! I have used the games over and over. I love them!!! Most of the kids like them – others – well it is still math!!!!   This year I got out “Metric Madness” for my 6th graders – they LOVED it!! Grades in the past – not so much!! This group also liked the game “Step Right UP” – they were really getting good at it!!! Another favorite is “Horse Race” and the variations that went with it.   We have also used the dominos to practice fractions. Almost forgot – “Claim the Factors” I’m not looking in my “box” of games – these are just the ones on the top of my head. I really have used these games a lot!! And the kids really like the time away from the math book!!

Penny Schuckman – usd 261

Last year you came to Haysville and did your Grab’em With Games workshop.  It was such a hit that many...
2014-02-24T17:32:54+00:00
Last year you came to Haysville and did your Grab’em With Games workshop.  It was such a hit that many have requested your Day 2!