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Problem Solving Classroom

Tips from a Master Teacher (This is a work in progress.)

Article Topics

Higher-Order Thinking

Higher-Order Thinking

Aim Your Curriculum Correctly We often answer the wrong question: “What’s in the curriculum?” While having a curriculum is important, you better make sure that curriculum serves the students. The question we should always return to is “What do my students need in order to thrive?” A Road Map We Already Have We don’t have to look far to answer this question. We were all given a road map when we ...
Assessing Challenging Problems

Assessing Challenging Problems

Assess to Encourage The goal of assessment from the students’ perspective should be to support them—not to slap a label on them. In fact, that’s really the goal of all we do, right? Assessing students’ work should help them understand where they need more practice or assistance so that they can understand better. Our assessments should also encourage students when they take on new challenges. S...
Superhero in Training

Superhero in Training

Thanks for Being Brave Kudos to you for coming to this site and arriving at this sentence. That means you recognize the importance of asking students to think at higher levels in the math classroom as often as possible, and you’re willing to make the effort to learn how to do this better. That’s what this whole site is about—helping you to let go of tired ways of presenting mathematics that in ...
Creativity in Math?

Creativity in Math?

Yes! At its highest level, math is a creative endeavor. Do you give your students opportunities to develop their creativity? I’m not talking about students creating collages or doing improvisational dance to represent the triangle proportionality theorems. I’m talking about students doing original thinking. Here is what that can look like. A Starting Point A simple example would be in how you p...
A Dream Letter

A Dream Letter

Over the years I got many letters from students thanking me for one aspect their education that they liked. My most frequent letter by far had to do with students appreciating my teaching them to think. That’s why I’m here taking the time to share it with you. (By the way, I chose the graphic above because I like how ludicrous it is to think of a student writing a hand-written letter instead of...
Comfortable with Uncomfortable

Comfortable with Uncomfortable

This is Going to Be a Bumpy Ride I don’t know how far along the continuum of becoming a problem solving teacher you are, but I know that if you’re at the beginning stages, you can expect lots of discomfort in your classroom. You need to be okay with that. Changing Your Role Conducting a great problem-solving session is a far cry from the traditional role of the teacher as the dispenser of knowl...