A Word of Thanks

I was the kid who hated learning math in school. You know the one drawing pictures in his notebook, staring out the window and asking to go to the bathroom an abnormal amount of times.  For a long time, the drills, the worksheets and the repetition pushed me further and further away.  Years later, a strange thing happened, I ended up becoming a teacher WHO LOVES TO TEACH MATH.

I really do Love inspiring my mini-mathématiciens. Walk into my room and the first thing you see is a big banner that says in French “We Are Mathematicians!” I make videos to inspire, wear costumes to engage and attempt to show my kids that MATH IS EVERYWHERE. There may be no greater influence on student learning in a classroom than a teacher who really connects with a subject. My kids LOVE learning math because I LOVE teaching it. 

But I didn’t magically go from a kid that hated learning Math to a teacher who is smiling while writing this blog post about it. A giant protractor didn’t fall from the sky and hit me on the head. I had help, albeit indirectly, from some pretty amazing people who I have never met but Love math even more than I do. I am writing this post to say thank you to them and to connect you the reader with some pretty amazing teachers.

ERIK TEATHER @teatherboard

The title “math enthusiast” just doesn’t seem to cover the magnitude of Erik’s math understanding and his understanding for teaching teachers to love math too…I mean the guy has a math tool named after him. As an elementary math educator for close to 20 years, his various roles have included classroom teacher, math coach, and consultant.

Always questioning and wondering, making any individual engaged with him think deeper. I have had the pleasure of working and learning with Erik for 5 years now and I am not just a better math teacher, but a better teacher because of it.

MARILYN BURNS @mburnsmath Marilyn’s Blog

One of today’s most highly respected mathematics educators, Marilyn Burns is the creator and founder of Math Solutions Professional Development, dedicated to supporting elementary school level math instruction. For more than 40 years, Ms. Burns has taught children, led workshops, written professional development publications for teachers and administrators, created staff development videos, and even written a number of amazing children’s books.

I was first introduced to Marilyn’s work in her book
50 Problem-Solving Lessons: Grades 1-6 which I guarded for most of Teachers College.  It illuminated for me a way to look at math through problem solving and the pedagogy to teach my kids to think critically.  Her children’s books such as The Greedy Triangle  has become a mainstay in my go to math books.  The writer of a fantastic blog, Marilyn is also a fellow contributor to #mathphoto15 Summer Math Challenge. Thank you Marilyn for teaching me to share my Love of math and mathematics instruction.

DAN MEYER @ddmeyer Dan’s Blog

Named one of Tech & Learning’s 30 Leaders of the Future, Dan Meyer earned his doctorate from Stanford University in math education and is currently the Chief Academic Officer at Desmos where he explores and develop the future of math textbooks. He has advocated for better math instruction on CNN, Good Morning America, Everyday With Rachel Ray, and TED.com.

What has always impressed me about Dan is his way to engage us in thinking about math in the real world through his amazing videos and blog. Taking the simplest of daily scenarios and then compelling the viewer to ask questions is Dan’s gift.  Thank you Dan for helping me to engage “students who didn’t like math” and seeing the world in a way that I connect with.

MARIAN SMALL @mariansmall Marian’s Blog

A fellow Canucker, Marian Small is a Canadian mathematics educator and regular speaker on K-12 mathematics throughout Canada and the US. Marian is the former Dean of Education at the University of New Brunswick, and has been a classroom teacher and professor of mathematics education for over 30 years.

When I set my sights on improving student understanding of mathematics, Marilyn’s booksMaking Math Meaningful to Canadian Students K-8 and Big Ideas from Dr. Small became extremely pivotal in my growth and understanding of effective math instruction and how kids learn.  These are books I received when I first started teaching and they are the ones that are open on my desk still to this day.  Thank you Marian for your continuing guidance and support in understanding math for my students.

I would also like to give one last recognition to Shirley Scott, the high school math teacher who never gave up on me.  Thank you.

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