Global Math: Of Problems and Strings

Global Math: Of Problems and Strings

Edited By Brian Bushart @bstockus

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Online Professional Development Sessions

Problem Strings: A Lesson Structure for All Students
Presented by Pam Harris (@pwharris)

A problem string is a powerful lesson format where all students learn, have access to the problems, and are challenged. The success hinges on the order, the discussion, and the teacher modeling student strategies to build connections. In this webinar, you’ll experience strings of problems such as solving proportions, decimal operations, and solving equations.

To join the meeting when it starts at 9pm Eastern (or RSVP if it’s before 9pm), click here.

Last week at Global Math Jenise Sexton shared about implementing effective mathematics instruction by first meeting the emotional needs of our students.

Check out the recording here if you missed the presentation.

Mining the MTBoS: Literacy Connections, Perseverance, and Visual Patterns

Literacy and Math

At our school, we are working to create a culture of reading. Our data shows our students’ lexile scores are lower than the average middle schooler, promoting our administration to develop a plan of action. Part of the plan is to incorporate literacy standards within every content area including mathematics. This could be a difficult task but these bloggers are on to something.

Within her Chipmunk Error Analysis post, blogger Rachel lays out how she is able to get her sixth graders to give a lot of thought into the mathematical mistakes of others. It appears within her post, Rachel purposefully creates problems showing the errors of 3 students with famous chipmunk names. Purposeful as she wants her students to consider the use of various strategies. What I love about her blog is her coverage of multiple error analysis based on concept, reminds a bit of Math Mistakes.

On Math Equals Love, there’s a means for having students analyze their own errors. With the reflection sheet posted on the blog, students identify their own errors and develop a corrected solution prior to completing a retest. Consider the evidence they must gather from the text, which is their own work. They also must support their claims of error with reasons as they develop the new solution.

Bringing technology into the error analysis action, the post from Tech Adventures in Middle School Math Class discusses the use of an iPad to help with the analysis. Through the use of an iPad, students are able to upload their error analysis, similar to how Andrew Stadel set up the activity within this post, and complete related practice activities.

Written by Jenise Sexton (@MrsJeniseSexton)



Perseverance is my theme this week. What we do when things don’t work out so well – which happens pretty much every day in this line of work.

My friend John Golden (@mathhombre) wrote this post about his struggles with one particular class, which include not being able to get them to talk to each other. Talk about a problem with which I, and I’m sure many of us, are familiar. John is persevering by changing things up in order to accommodate these students’ challenges, but at the same time nudge them out of their comfort zones. Scaffolded worksheets and math writing are the strategies he describes in this post. I love his assertion that he is “teaching the students in front of me, rather than some fantasy class.”

Jennifer Vadnais (@RilesBlue) persevered with a “Desmos Activity Builder that flopped”. In this post, she outlines two attempts, in two different classrooms, to teach the same lesson using a Desmos Activity. In both cases, the activity started off well, but then lost steam at about the same place. Jennifer redesigned it so that the activity was integrated with vertical white boards, in fact, she switched things around so that the Desmos activity slides played a supporting role to the VWBs. She accommodated not only her students, but the teacher who, with good reason, was keen on using these boards.

Written by Audrey McLaren (@a_mcsquared)

Feedback Around Visual Patterns


Visual Patterns have been a mainstay of the MTBoS for years now. Fawn Nguyen’s site is an excellent resource for teachers interested in using these fun, simple patterns to foster creative math thinking.

Michael Pershan recently posted an essay he wrote about the ways that students think about visual patterns, and the ways that teachers can provide feedback to help them move between various modes of thinking. Michael mentions at the outset of his introduction that this is an unfinished work, but there is still plenty of thought-provoking commentary about the strengths and weaknesses of visual patterns as a math task. If you teach with visual patterns, do yourself a favor and check out this essay.

Written by Kent Haines (@MrAKHaines)

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