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How to Build Math-Motivated Students

Somewhere right now, a student is struggling with math. But is their struggle productive or pointless? The answer depends on one thing: motivation. The fact is, it takes patience and perseverance to build any skill, such as phonological awareness for budding readers or math fluency for budding mathematicians. But when students are motivated to keep going, they're on a sure path to mastery--even in the middle of setbacks and failure. What Motivates Math Learning? It's a given that no two students are alike. Clearly, what motivates one may not work for another. Moreover, each student needs a variety of problem-solving skills. In math--as in life--there may be more than one "right" answer. Given the complexity of this process, what motivators are best?
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How to Bring the World into Math Class

A guest post by Lori Breyfogle K-6 Elementary Math Specialist in Missouri Imagine Learning now publishes monthly guest posts in order to stimulate conversations about K12 education across the country. Opinions expressed herein are those of the individual author and may not necessarily reflect the official opinion of Imagine Learning.     When you were a student in math class, how many times did you ask yourself, "When will I ever use this?" And how often do you ask the same question about the math you are teaching now?
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Math Teachers Who Undermine Math Fact Memorization

A guest post by Ben Harrison Developer of Big Brainz math-fact fluency software Imagine Learning now publishes monthly guest posts in order to stimulate conversations about K12 education across the country. Opinions expressed herein are those of the individual author(s) and may not necessarily reflect the official opinion of Imagine Learning. The following article was originally posted in February, 2015 on the Big Brainz Blog.   Every once in a while I encounter a savvy educator who is opposed to memorizing math facts--or at least he or she appears to be. Just today I saw a fearful article that exclaimed "memorization can inhibit fluency" and "memorization . . . can be damaging." Of course, educators are doing a wonderful job of championing number sense, comprehension, and problem-solving, but by attacking the vital skill of automaticity, they unwittingly undermine the very processes they intend to champion. From Where I Sit Before I go any further, let me jump to the punchline, because I know that if you're one of these educators, you're already getting ready to give me your very passionate point of view. So . . . if, as an educator, you have a negativity towards memorization, I would suggest that it's because you haven't seen it done well.
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Critical Thinking 101: What CEOs Want from Today's Students

The Thinker (Rodin) It’s 2016, and every educator seems to be talking about critical thinking skills. Students need critical thinking to succeed in and out of the classroom. Educators need critical thinking in order to help students get around common learning barriers. And CEOs want critical thinking from employees, so that they'll also have problem solvers on hand. Just what is critical thinking, anyway--and why is it so near the top of the hiring list?
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