Elementary Math

I am here for you…

With districts across the United States starting school or getting ready to start school in the next month I wanted to make my intentions clear, I AM HERE FOR YOU!

Yes, you!

If you’re here reading this, you are probably an educator of sorts. You could be a teacher in a traditional setting or a homeschool parent teaching your children from home. You could be a district administrator looking for ways to help the teachers in your district teach math better. You could be a math coach in a district in search of activities or ideas you can take back to your staff to help the students in your district to understand their math standards better. You could even be a parent reading this. I have parents come up and ask me all the time in the basketball gym or at the soccer or lacrosse field about the “new math” or they’ll tell me about the struggles their children are having in math class. If you are any of those people or if you’re in a different role, my purpose is to help you.

When I started this website and my company, the goal of MakeMathMeaningful.com and Kappel Consulting LLC is exactly that- I want to make math meaningful for teachers, students, and parents. Too often I hear about test scores and people not being “math people.” I hear adults say, “I memorized my facts, what’s wrong with how we were taught?” I just don’t accept that. Using the excuse of , “I was taught…” doesn’t cut it. If you’re in education you know test scores are a big deal with how districts are graded. It is my opinion, test scores take care of themselves if we do our jobs and teach students for conceptual understanding, not for scores. Students don’t dislike math, they dislike how not understanding something feels. Students dislike feeling confused and not being able to make sense of concepts.

Throughout the course of my career I have sought out opportunities to continue to learn, grow, and understand the connections between the various ideas and concepts in mathematics. I have had so many of my own lightbulb moments, I want to share what I’ve learned with other educators so they (you) can have those same lightbulb moments and then you can set your students up for those exact moments as well.

Over the next few weeks as schools begin to open their doors for the 2022-2023 school year I will be sharing with you some of my very favorite activities I have done for years with students to get to know them as mathematicians. We need to know where they are mathematically, how they feel about themselves as a mathematicians, and what connections they can make within their knowledge of mathematics. What we choose to do with our students very early on in the school year sets the tone for your math block this year. Make your choices carefully.

You can always reach out to me with any questions you have or if you are interested in working together.

I have some ideas and things ready to send your way, but if you’re looking for something specific, don’t hesitate to reach out and ask.

I’ll leave you with this… A few years ago I came across this Name Tent idea from Sarah Van Der Werf. It was a great way to get to know my new students on Day 1 of the new school year, especially the shy students who need time to show their true self to a new adult. Don’t let the talk of high school math classes scare you in her blog post. Instead, focus on the idea behind the name tent. This is a chance for you to get pretty quick feedback from students and a chance for you to reply back to them. Primary teachers: maybe you ask your students how their first days was and they pick an emoji to draw from options on the board that stand for Great, Good, Ok, Bad. Intermediate, your students can write you a little comment or answer a question to propose. Last year I created my own version. Below you can download and print onto white cardstock paper and have your students create their own name tents. They simply fold in half with the printed part on the inside and write their name on one side of the blank side.

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