You see, the problem was that I never understood the math that we were learning and while I do have quite a bit of grit and perseverance, grit doesn't matter when math is just about memorizing rules. And I never was great at memorization. All of the grit in the world doesn't matter when you are faced with 5.25 x 10 and you know that you either have to move the decimal right... or left? And is it one spot because there is one zero or two because ten has two digits??
And so, I struggled. Math rule, after math rule, after math rule was piled on high. As soon as the math regents (the NYS HS test you need to take to get your diploma) was over I quit the traditional sequence of math courses. I got out of my "regular" track and went in a completely different direction taking an AP Statistics course. I LOVED it! You see, in statistics, we erased years and years of math rules and talked about what we wanted to know from numbers and what types of math we could apply to learn those things. We stopped talking about RULES and started THINKING about numbers.
Fast forward a few years past college and into my first few years of teaching math. When the Common Core math standards came out there was so much talk about teaching why and how math works. Reading through the standards from first through fifth grade it became so apparent to me that if I could help students to master these standards, they would be better equipped than I had ever been as a student. We would teach them why and how and the challenge for students would then move away from a challenge of memorization to a challenge of persevering through problems requiring them to apply their knowledge.
And that, my friends, is where The Math Spot came in. It is my mission through this blog to make "research based" real, manageable, and attainable for every elementary teacher. Even on top of the 2,000 other tasks you need to complete in a day :) Because if you know why and how students learn math you can help them understand why and how math works.
And then, 15 years from now, our students won't be writing a blog post about how they weren't a great math student.