Category Archives: Math Education

Common Core Mathematics Explained, Examined and Unpacked

At Reading Sage I published an article titled “Common Core Mathematics Explained, Examined and Unpacked”.


Have you ever asked yourself what’s the main purpose of teaching computation—addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division—in a world where adults and children alike have iPhones, tablets, calculators, and other devices at their fingertips?

The answer is not to know how to carry out the algorithm. Fifty years ago, the how-to was the main purpose. But today, if we just teach children how to add, how to subtract, or how to multiply, we will not be meeting our higher call. We would actually be failing our pedagogical mission, as the children would always lose out to calculators and computers, even cheap ones for that matter! Deep mathematical thinking or algebraic thinking is our higher purpose in teaching elementary school number and computation.

Read all at Reading Sage.

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A New Light on Literacy and Mathematics: Four Cross Disciplinary Teaching Practices

At Corwin-Press I published together with Mollie Cura an article titled “A New Light on Literacy and Mathematics: Four Cross Disciplinary Teaching Practices”.

To help teachers blur the boundaries of subjects, we focus this post on four teaching-practice bridges between the two worlds of learning, mathematics and literacy. Our hope is to plant seeds of reflection. Once educators realize that both literacy and mathematics are ways of knowing and both offer lenses through which we make sense of our world, they will see that their ultimate goal is to teach students to think. The fog then clears and the bridges begin to shine in a new light (see A New Light on Literacy and Mathematics).

Read all at Corwin-Press.

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Revisiting Division with Fractions: Five Suggestions to Cultivate Meaning

At Corwin-Press I published an article titled “Revisiting Division with Fractions: Five Suggestions to Cultivate Meaning”.

In this post, informed by experience and research, I revisit fraction division by addressing five fundamental reasons why students have so much difficulty with it and offer suggestions for helping students overcome them. Hopefully, the suggestions will help teachers clarify some of the mystery!

Read all directly at Corwin-Press.

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Rethinking Fraction Division: One of the Hardest Topics to Teach and Learn

At Corwin-Press I published an article titled “Rethinking Fraction Division: One of the Hardest Topics to Teach and Learn“.

If you are wondering, “Well, why do we invert and then multiply?” or if you are having a hard time to come up with a situation illustrating fraction division in a way that’s meaningful to a 4th, 5th, or even a 6th grader, rest assured you are not alone (Borko et al., 1992; Philipp, 2000): fraction division is probably the hardest elementary topic to teach. Recently, a seasoned professional development provider was unable to come up with a real world example for a group of upper elementary teachers.

The reasons why students (and sometimes teachers) have difficulties with fraction division are many, most of which I can’t expand on in a blog post (for detailed information, see my book, Planting the Seeds of Algebra, 3-5). However, I name some in that post and then develop two below.

Read all at CorwinPress.

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