Tag Archives: elementary

Engaging Readers: Lucy Calkins discusses the TCRWP Classroom Libraries

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In the first two installments of this blog series, we discussed why particularly chosen books matter and how the TCRWP Classroom Libraries were selected. In this final part of the series, we will explore additional, innovative ways that the team focused on driving reading engagement.

One such way is through the tools and resources that accompany the libraries. A vast collection of brightly colored, attractive book bin labels and book level labels lure kids to bins with irresistible topics. Additionally, student sticky-note pads help promote close, active reading. Students can identify “Must-Reads” and “Watch Out!” sections for others by leaving these helpful sticky notes in the book. Watch the video below to check out these amazing resources:

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Shifts and Challenges in Teaching Math

1Math in Practice is a comprehensive, grade-by-grade professional learning resource designed to fit with any math curriculum you are using. It identifies the big ideas of both math content and math teaching, unpacking key instructional strategies and detailing why those strategies are so powerful.

Rather than providing another sequence of lessons and units to take students from the beginning to the end of the year, Math in Practice focuses on developing deep content knowledge, understanding why certain strategies and approaches are most effective, and rethinking our beliefs about what math teaching should be. 

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Help Your Students Form Mathematical Arguments

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Access a complete instructional sequence from But Why Does It Work? now.

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Mathematical argument—the ability of students to justify their thinking and engage with the reasoning of others—is not just for solving individual problems. Take the following question and discussion from a second grade class:


Craig and Luisa were playing a game with 52 pennies. Craig hid some of the pennies, and then there were 29 showing. How many did Craig hide?

Henry: I wanted to figure out how many pennies are left if you take away 29. So I subtracted 20 from 52, so that’s 32. Then I had to subtract 9 more, but it was easier to subtract ten and then add one back, so I got 22, then 22 + 1 = 23.

Melissa: I did it a different way. I said 29 + 1 is 30. Then you need 22 more to get to 52.

Teacher: Does anyone have questions about Henry’s or Melissa’s solutions?

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Challenges Facing Elementary Math Teachers

1Math in Practice is a comprehensive, grade-by-grade professional learning resource designed to fit with any math curriculum you are using. It identifies the big ideas of both math content and math teaching, unpacking key instructional strategies and detailing why those strategies are so powerful.

Rather than providing another sequence of lessons and units to take students from the beginning to the end of the year, Math in Practice focuses on developing deep content knowledge, understanding why certain strategies and approaches are most effective, and rethinking our beliefs about what math teaching should be. 

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Adapting to Shifts in Math Instruction with Math in Practice

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You may have heard the words "what's wrong with the old way of teaching math? I learned math that way just fine!" from parents, students, family members, even colleagues. As the approach to math shifts toward students' understanding math, and away from rote memorization, many adults think back to their own experiences as students in the math classroom and often long for "the good old days. "

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Supporting Development of the Cardinal Principle

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Adapted from Young Children's Mathematics: Cognitively Guided Instruction in Early Childhood Education

By: Thomas P. Carpenter, Megan L. Franke, Nicholas C. Johnson, Angela Chan Turrou, and Anita A. Wager


Capturing a child’s understanding of the cardinal principle while they are counting can be challenging, as children don't necessarily end the process of counting by explicitly stating the total amount that they have in their collection. A child may know that counting objects involves reciting a sequence of numbers, but not that the outcome of this process is a number that represents the total quantity. A child may say “1,2,3,4” as they count a collection of four, but this does not necessarily mean that the child understands that there is a quantity of four objects. Applying the cardinal principle requires that children name the set according to the last number used in their count. In this case, that last number used was four, so there are four objects in the collection. Because the process of counting and what the count tells you are not necessarily the same thing, figuring out what a child knows about the cardinal principle often requires waiting for a child to complete their count and then asking a question like, “So, how many do you have in your collection?” Other ways to get at the cardinal principle could include saying to the child: “Here are some blocks. How many are there?” Or “Do you have enough to give me 4?” Asking children to make a group of counters of a given size rather than counting a given collection also can focus them on the cardinal principle. 

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