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As always, I hope this email finds you and yours happy, healthy, and loved. I love vacations. They allow me the time to decompress, reflect on where I am and where I would like to go next. My mind is flooded with ideas when I go on vacation and, I can’t wait to come back and share them with all of you. I can’t wait to see how this cutting-edge group of educators,  that is always looking to get better will create next.

Continue sharing those good ideas.

At the end of almost every math lesson, 1-3 mathematicians share their work with their classmates. Students ideally put their work under the document camera and point to and verbally explain their process for how they solved a particular problem. This approach is fantastic for students learning English as a second language and for students who need to practice slowing down and explaining themselves carefully. At other times, the class might analyze a student’s work “Angie” and determine what process they think she used to solve the problem. Students might turn and talk to a partner and say, ” I think Angie multiplied first, then she subtracted.” “Angie” might confirm or expand on what the students said about her work. Then, teachers might invite students to try out their peers’ work in the future, celebrate the student’s efforts, and then move on.

I think we might be missing out on a powerful opportunity when we stop sharing student work right there. We can share the students’ good ideas, techniques, and strategies for days, weeks, and months to come when we create anchor charts of those good ideas and hang them for all to see.

Unit Anchor Charts

Can you envision a subtraction anchor chart filled with the students’ strategies and names up on the wall for all to reference? The anchor charts you create can serve as a silent teacher or coach. The students can see their name “up in lights” and beam with pride. If a student is stuck or confused, they can refer to the work of a peer who has a little more expertise.

Wondering what to do with all those papers?

Can you envision finding a powerful student strategy in your pile of papers, being blown away at what your student accomplished, and turning that good work into an anchor chart or creating a class book filled with anchor papers for future reference?

I can.

Develop your students’ presentation skills and create Open House projects.

Can you envision students creating their own anchor charts in preparation for their presentations, a class book, or an open house project?

I can.

I see beautiful anchor charts in the classrooms I visit. The anchor charts describe for students the directions they should follow, tips on what good readers, writer’s and mathematicians do, and strategies they can use. Yet, imagine the feeling a child will have when they look up at a bright, beautiful anchor chart and see that their thinking serves as an anchor to others.

I cannot wait to see what you come up with next.

Looking for an excellent curriculum resource?

Look no further than the Math By The Book series from Heinemann.


You know I love hearing from you!

If you have any questions, ideas, or wonderings send them to In the meantime, if you would like to learn more about your students’ mathematical thinking enroll in the University of San Diego’s online CGI math course. Take up to 6 months to complete the course, enroll at any time, and take up to 6 months to complete the course.