Place value is one of the most important foundational concepts about our number system. Watch my assessment interviews of second graders and learn how you can find out what your students understand about place value.

Marilyn BurnsJanuary 18, 2016

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# Marilyn Burns

Place value is one of the most important foundational concepts about our number system. Watch my assessment interviews of second graders and learn how you can find out what your students understand about place value.

Marilyn BurnsJanuary 18, 2016

At a math workshop, the presenter suggested that students have opportunities to be producers as well as consumers of their learning in the classroom. I put this advice into action with fifth graders, using the activity of Fix It to provide students additional experience with comparing and ordering fractions.

Marilyn BurnsDecember 11, 2015

In a previous blog, I described a lesson I taught to second graders using the wonderful children’s book One Is a Snail, Ten Is a Crab. At John Muir Elementary School in San Francisco, I observed two other lessons using the same book, one in Kindergarten and the other in fourth grade. The lessons were a joy to observe, and I feel that my own teaching repertoire has now been enhanced.

Marilyn BurnsDecember 8, 2015

Students begin learning about the equal sign in the early grades, and Quack and Count by Keith Baker is a terrific children’s book for helping with this in kindergarten and grade 1. It’s one of my favorite children’s books for teaching math. (Yes, yes, I know I have lots of favorites.) Here I describe the lesson I taught and what occurred.

Marilyn BurnsNovember 13, 2015

Are you interested in a lesson that combines a wonderful children’s book with activities that engage students with organizing data and reasoning numerically? Read about how lessons using Chrysanthemum unfolded in two classes.

Marilyn BurnsNovember 10, 2015

Read how 7th graders collected and analyzed data about the frequency of letters. They chose sentences, recorded the frequency of letters, and put their data on a class chart. Then we compared the class results to the actual frequencies of letters. Engaging the students in collecting their own data gave them an authentic math experience, not rigged by me in any way.

Marilyn BurnsOctober 18, 2015

I’ve taught students in grade 2 through middle school how to solve KenKen puzzles. If you’ve never solved KenKen puzzles yourself, or haven't engaged your students with them, read about how I’ve introduced them in the classroom. But be warned: KenKen puzzles can be addictive.

Marilyn BurnsOctober 1, 2015

A comment posted on my previous blog was a Yikes! experience for me. The comment was about one of the ways to make 11 that I included in the book I created for my grandson’s birthday. The comment was a wonderful reminder about how arithmetic, algebra, and geometry connect.

Marilyn BurnsSeptember 23, 2015

My grandson Jeffrey just turned 11 and I created a book to celebrate his birthday. Now I’m thinking that making books like this might be a good class project for students. Take a look.

Marilyn BurnsSeptember 21, 2015

In my early years of teaching, children’s books weren’t typically where I looked for help when planning math lessons. But that has changed. I now rely on children’s books regularly for engaging students with math. Here’s an example.

Marilyn BurnsSeptember 9, 2015

Bring an open mind is #1 on a poster of Sara Liebert’s expectations for her fourth grade class. Lynne Zolli used that expectation when introducing a math activity to the students.

Marilyn BurnsAugust 26, 2015

Using games has long been standard in my teaching, and for several reasons. Games capture students’ interest and engages them in learning math. They’re ideal when students have extra time. And they’re effective options for the paper-and-pencil practice. Here’s one of my favorites.

Marilyn BurnsAugust 17, 2015

Here’s an idea that I was first introduced to about ten years ago by Nicholas Branca, a math educator who contributed profoundly to my thinking about math and teaching. I’ve tried presenting it as a math-in-three-acts investigation.

Marilyn BurnsAugust 13, 2015

In my June 2 post, I described how students solved 99 + 17. Actually I described only part of the lesson. Now, in response to a tweet, I explain how I also had students think about one of the important mathematical practices.

Marilyn BurnsAugust 11, 2015

I began a back-to-school session for elementary teachers by asking everyone to write an opening sentence for Goldilocks and the Three Bears. The teachers were surprised by the request—the session was supposed to focus on teaching math. What was the connection?

Marilyn BurnsAugust 3, 2015

I’ve been tweeting since September of 2014, and I’m hooked. I never would have predicted that I’d join Twitter, much less enjoy it and benefit from it professionally. In this post, I describe my initiation into Twitter and what I’ve learned.

Marilyn BurnsJuly 27, 2015

The 1-10 Card Investigation has a big payoff with students. It engages their interest, involves them with making sense of a problem and persevering to solve it, and gives them experience with evaluating their progress and changing course as necessary. Plus it has a playful aspect that too often is lost in math class.

Marilyn BurnsJune 29, 2015

I asked a class of fourth graders to figure out the answer to 99 + 17 in their heads. In this post, I describe why I chose that problem, include a video of how the lesson unfolded, describe a teaching error I made in a subsequent lesson, and more.

Marilyn BurnsJune 2, 2015

A long-standing instructional practice has been to teach students how to multiply (or add, subtract, or divide) and then, after the students have learned to compute, give them word problems to solve. In this post I present a lesson with a different approach, where word problems become the lead and reason for learning to compute.

Marilyn BurnsMay 20, 2015

Students’ ideas often amaze me, and Lydia’s is one of the most suprising examples. She used 7 x 3 = 21 to figure out that 8 x 4 = 32. She reasoned that since the factors in 7 x 3 were each 1 less than the factors in 8 x 4, she’d just increase each digit in the answer, changing 21 to 32. She was correct! Read about Lydia's discovery, what I did, and what I learned.

Marilyn BurnsMay 11, 2015