Author: Renee Smith
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."

The “Why” and the “How” of Using Math Tools

Recently, I spent a day with K-6 teachers exploring the why and how of using math tools in their classrooms. The “why” is easy!  Years of research indicate students gain deeper conceptual understanding when they have teachers who engage in

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“Core” Ideas to Follow

When looking for math activities, information, or new ideas  I have a few “core” people I follow. Here is the short list:

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Write? That’s Right!

Most of you know me as the math girl and that is absolutely true, but….before I was the math girl, I was the word girl.  I like to joke that I am a word”smith” but it isn’t a joke. I

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Students Engaged in Math Workstations

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Is Faster Really Better?

“It’s not complicated, faster is better!”  If you believe the AT&T commercials faster is always better and for years we have taught math using that same theory!  We taught procedures and gave daily timed math facts tests to ensure students

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Attending Dan Meyer Workshop

 

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CGI and the Common Core: How Do They Connect

Recently I attended the  Kansas Association of Teachers of Mathematics Conference. While at KATM, I presented Cognitively Guided Instruction and the Common Core: How do they Connect?  I began the discussion with background information on CGI.  Cognitively Guided Instruction is

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Calculators or No Calculators: That is the Question

I was recently contacted by an instructional coach from a school district where I work regularly.  She and her teachers were working on math units aligned to common core.  They were trying to determine whether students should be allowed to

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Working on Number Sense Assessment

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Common Core Math: How “Deep” Do We Go

Rigor is a word receiving a lot of attention in regards to the common core state standards. So what does it mean in terms of teaching and learning? The 8 mathematical practices and the college and career readiness standards give

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