The Case for Statistical Literacy Across Subject Areas

This post originally appeared in the October 2018 edition of Reflect & Connect: The Reflective Practitioner, managed by our colleagues at the SABES ELA Center. by Melissa Braaten In the academic sphere, statistics can sometimes seem like the odd one out. Most of us associate statistics with math, although it is far more dependent on context … Continue reading The Case for Statistical Literacy Across Subject Areas

Calculator Use in Adult Education

by Melissa Braaten Calculators are something that both teachers and students seem to have strong opinions about. Some cling to them like a magical tool that will solve all of their math woes, while others blame them for the decline in mathematical fluency. I don’t find either of these attitudes helpful. A calculator can be … Continue reading Calculator Use in Adult Education

Scale Diagrams as a Testing Strategy and a Teaching Opportunity

by Melissa Braaten The end of the calendar year is the season for HSE testing, so I’ve had a lot of students looking for test prep recently.  Every practice test seems to include at least one Pythagorean Theorem question with an accompanying diagram, like the one below: Sarah has to drive from her home to … Continue reading Scale Diagrams as a Testing Strategy and a Teaching Opportunity

Differentiating Instruction with Parallel Tasks

by Sarah Lonberg-Lew & Melissa Braaten One of the biggest challenges we face teaching math in adult education classes is having students who vary widely in their readiness, prior knowledge, and reasoning ability. Ask a question of your whole class and some students will have their hands up with the answer before others have made … Continue reading Differentiating Instruction with Parallel Tasks

Why is Reading Math So Hard? (aka, My attempts to assess why my students struggle to read word problems)

by Melissa Braaten It’s common knowledge that many adult students struggle with word problems – which, incidentally, make up the majority of the questions they will be asked to answer on high stakes HSE exams.  Since word problems bring together both language and mathematical reasoning, they require students to use and integrate several skill sets.  … Continue reading Why is Reading Math So Hard? (aka, My attempts to assess why my students struggle to read word problems)

Paying Attention to Student Work

by Melissa Braaten Effective teaching of mathematics uses evidence of student thinking to assess progress toward mathematical understanding and to adjust instruction continually in ways that support and extend learning.  National Council of Teachers of Mathematics, 2014[1] The quote above is a good description of “formative assessment” in mathematics, in which assessment information is sought … Continue reading Paying Attention to Student Work

5 Great Reasons to Teach Number Lines

by Melissa Braaten I am an adult education teacher, therefore I never have enough time with my students. I want my students to be able to problem solve a wide range of mathematical problems, but I also want to ensure that they leave me with a deep conceptual understanding of the material they have studied. … Continue reading 5 Great Reasons to Teach Number Lines

Creating Open Questions

by Melissa Braaten “Open questions” are getting a lot of attention these days in math education, and for good reason. Unlike more traditional “closed” questions, which have one right answer, open questions allow for many possible correct answers, and/or many possible ways of approaching the problem. Open questions often invite deeper mathematical reasoning than closed … Continue reading Creating Open Questions