I was inexperienced.
I didn’t have a teaching coach.
I didn’t have a mentor.
I was alone in this new journey.
My students were diverse in all ways.
My students were respectful and wanted to learn.
So, I planned for them and their needs.
My lessons were creative.
My lessons were thorough.
My lessons were thoughtful.
Planning and creating was how I spent my nights. My weekends. My holidays.
I didn’t have resources for Eduardo’s needs.
I didn’t have resources for Diamond’s needs.
I didn’t have resources for Diep’s needs.
I have 40 years teaching experience! I know. Who does that??!! Right? I loved seeing those small appreciative faces every day. I loved the happy and proud times when a new, or experienced, teacher had a break-through moment of great accomplishment that made her feel how powerful she could be. I loved the comradery. I loved the tough talks needed to make changes. I just loved every moment.
It was really hard to let go.
I taught in the primary grades for 17 years before becoming a math specialist for grades PK-5th.
I had started teaching to teach children to read. Then my second year of teaching, I went to a training about differentiating for students’ needs in math. Really? You mean you can’t teach the same thing to everyone?? That answer was a resounding, “No!”. Who knew?
During the training, there was much use of math manipulatives. I had not been trained to use these. It was eye-opening! For the first time, I saw how and why there was a need for differentiation. I saw the chunks of learning and could relate the different levels to my individual students.
It was also a breakthrough moment for me personally. Using manipulatives, for the first time I deeply understood place value and regrouping!
And so, my love for teaching math was born. My classroom became the “Math Model” for other teachers in the district to visit. It was so much fun and my kids loved “talking math” and explaining their learning to other teachers.
I changed grade levels a few times along the way and loved that as well. New learning! Yippee!
When I was asked to be a math specialist, I was thrilled and terrified all at the same time. I was determined to help other teachers love math like I did. To see its beauty and value. To enjoy each math lesson and continue to learn and inspire. Sometimes a hard sale. But I’m not one to give up easily. So-o-o…40 years!
Now, as a retired teacher, I volunteer in our local elementary school, I tutor, and I make resources to help you differentiate mathematics in your classroom.
I live with my husband and our blue heeler, Molly, in the mountains of Colorado. When I’m not at my computer researching, creating and writing, you’ll find me taking long hikes with Molly, reading some new math book, or working with students and teachers.
If you need differentiated math resources –
If you want to see the beauty and value in mathematics –
If you want to enjoy teaching your math lessons –
If you want to inspire others and continue to learn –
You are in the right place and we are going to be great friends!