Reflecting on My Own Math Experiences

Hi! Thank you so much for being here.

Welcome! I am so glad you have come across this post! My name is Julia Park and I am a senior at Millersville University! I am an Early Childhood Education major and I have learned so much so far! If you have a moment, feel free to check out my previous blog posts!

In my last post, I shared information about learning centers in math class! In this post, I will be reflecting on my mathematical journey. My experiences in math have really shaped the way I teach my students.

My Early Math Memories

I believe that early math experiences can really shape a child’s mindset towards mathematics. It has definitely shaped mine. Unfortunately, it has been a long journey of growing my interest in math, and I am still working on it! 

When I was in elementary school, even up until my time at Millersville, math has been a huge struggle for me. I have grown up with the incredibly damaging misconception that you have to be a “math person” to excel in math. A lot of my peers had the same mindset, which made it even harder to let go of those limiting thoughts. 

I discussed this in my growth mindset blog post, but “math people” do not exist! I have my own reasons as to why I thought there were math people, but children’s experiences often vary. I think my fixed mindset was formed from experiences with not-so-nice teachers, the pressure of time limits and the need for accuracy in class, and a lack of hands-on learning. Those are just a few ideas of why I think I have had a tough time with math and I will be discussing more ideas later in this post!

Although it was hard to get through math class sometimes, I am really grateful that I have had these experiences because I can learn from them and relate to my own students. I want my students to feel comfortable with asking for help and to know that it is possible to learn and grow in many ways!

What I Have Learned From Past Teachers

Through my time as a student in math class, I have had many different experiences with a variety of teachers. I want to share the good and the bad of what I have gone through because I think it is beneficial for teachers to reflect on all experiences related to learning. We can take what we learn to inform our own teaching practices. 

Positive approaches I have learned from teachers:

      • Providing assistance outside of class
      • Using a hands-on learning approach
      • Giving time to practice skills in class
      • Utilizing interactive math games
      • Facilitating class discussions 
      • Being kind and encouraging when a student is struggling 

Approaches of teachers that were difficult for me: 

      • Focusing on accuracy only and not effort
      • Putting pressure on students to turn in extensive assignments with a limited amount of time
      • Teaching new concepts too fast
      • Using too many lectures and PowerPoint presentations
      • Not having time to reflect on concepts in class
      • Being intimidating when a student is struggling 

Every student learns differently. These experiences are unique to me and not everyone will be able to relate to what I have taken from my past math classes. However, I think it is important to recognize that although one strategy might work for one student, it might not work for another student. This notion emphasizes the need for differentiation. I will be discussing differentiation more in the next section. 

Strategies I Want to Use to Teach Math

As I finish this semester at Millersville University, I am leaving with so many new ways of teaching math that I was not even aware of previously. I have a new passion for making math class fun and interesting for my students. The following are some examples of strategies I would love to incorporate in my future math class: 

      • My math instruction will be differentiated based on my students’ needs. I will monitor their progress through various assessments and observations to modify or individualize my instruction when needed.
      • Hands-on learning will be included to increase the engagement and participation of my students. I want to make math fun and exciting!!
      • Class discussions will be a huge part of my mathematics instruction. Discussions in math class promote a deeper understanding of mathematical concepts in children.  
      • I would love to try to use interactive notebooks to organize my students’ learning and create engaging experiences. I had not heard of these notebooks until this year and I love them!
      • Technology, manipulatives, and children’s literature are just a few tools I plan on using to enhance mathematics instruction for my students. 
      • Parent involvement is very important for a child’s education and I will consistently keep in contact with families to increase this involvement. 
      • I am very passionate about modeling a growth mindset for my students. I want my students to believe in themselves and in their ability to grow.
      • I will strive to create a safe and welcoming environment for my students. I want them to be comfortable with sharing their ideas and to not fear making mistakes. To do this, I will value effort just as much as accuracy. 

Mistakes Are Learning Opportunities!

One of the biggest lessons I have learned throughout my time at Millersville is that making mistakes is okay. I used to put so much pressure on myself to be perfect and know everything, but that is not healthy. Teachers are not robots made to feed information to students. Instead, we have a purpose to learn alongside our students and to welcome mistakes as learning opportunities.

I am much more comfortable now being honest with my students in moments of uncertainty. I would rather figure something out with them than provide them with the wrong information. It’s really fun to explore ideas with students and work together toward a common goal. These experiences with students are valuable and strengthen the student-teacher relationship. When children trust their teachers, they are more engaged, motivated, and feel an increased amount of comfort when reaching out for help and sharing their thoughts with others. 

Check out my blog post about growth mindset to learn more about the importance of making mistakes and the value of having a positive mindset in math class!

Thank you so much for reading!

I had a blast sharing my mathematical experiences with you all! I have grown so much through the years and I can’t wait to keep growing as I gain more experience. I hope you learned about some ways you can teach mathematics in your own classroom! Thank you for reading. I sincerely appreciate it!

-Julia 🙂

Learning Centers in Math Class!

Hello! Thanks so much for checking out my blog!

Blog Author- Julia Park

Welcome! Thank you for taking the time out of your day to read this post! My name is Julia Park and I am in my senior year at Millersville University as an Early Childhood Education major. I have been writing multiple blog posts about my experiences and information I have learned by being at Millersville! I am thoroughly enjoying being able to share my thoughts with you all. 

In my last post, I shared a few ideas for activities parents can do with their children at home to enhance their learning! In this post, I will be discussing the use of learning centers in math class.

The Benefits of Math Learning Centers

Learning centers are typically designed for independent and small group work designed to extend students’ learning. Students participate in activities or work on assignments related to curriculum content. These centers have a variety of benefits for students. 

Centers often have multiple tools that students can use to enhance their learning, such as manipulatives, books, games, and more! By using these tools and other materials at the center, students can have interesting, exciting, and engaging experiences that will help them understand and better retain mathematical skills and ideas.

Students can practice having mathematical discussions in a low-stress environment with their peers through different activities provided at the center.

Teachers can differentiate the materials at the center to support the needs of all students. Since centers are with smaller groups, teachers also have the ability to work closely with students to meet their individual needs. 

Educators can create materials that are for independent work, including a self-checking assessment. This will help students to work up to becoming independent learners. 

Centers can be used as a way for teachers to assess students’ understanding of concepts and monitor their progress. Teachers can use the information they gain from observing the children at centers to modify and differentiate instruction when necessary. 

Check out this website for more information about differentiation in learning stations!

Example of a Math Learning Center

Now that we have discussed the benefits of utilizing math learning centers in the classroom, I wanted to share my own learning center that I created! I created this center to be an individualized experience due to the pandemic. While I would love for this to be a group activity someday, I wanted to make a safe choice for my fourth graders!


This center is winter-themed to pique the interests of the students and to relate it to the current season. I did not want to make it holiday-specific considering not all students celebrate the same ones. I wanted to make the center fun, so I included gift bags, little present boxes, winter-related images, and bright colors. I laminated all paper included in the center to make sure it is durable to last longer. There are direction sheets for each bag. All materials fit in one bin very neatly, which is great because it is so important to stay organized!


The goal of these activities is to build six snowmen out of three pieces for each one. All the pieces will be scrambled in a box in each bag. Students will be reviewing their understanding of place value. Each bag is a different learning level. The teacher can decide if they want to choose the level for the student or if it would be better for the student to choose their own level. The following is a list of descriptions for each bag:

      • Blue Snowman Bag: This bag is for students performing at grade-level, but might need extra support and practice. This level includes numbers with digits from four to five. Three snowmen represent the thousands place and have the number on the hat, the expanded form in the center, and the number in base ten manipulatives on the bottom. The other three represent the ten thousands place and have the same top and middle as the others, but the number is written in word form on the bottom. 
      • Snowflake Bag: This bag is for students performing at grade-level. This level contains numbers in the hundred thousands place. Each snowmen has a number on the hat, the expanded form in the center, and the number written in word form on the bottom.
      • Reindeer Bag: This bag is more challenging and is for students performing above grade-level. The numbers on the snowmen are in the millions place. The snowmen have a number on the hat, the expanded form in the center, and the number written in word from on the bottom.

Example of the Activity (Snowman Level)

I apologize that the images are a bit blurry! Please read the descriptions above to get a better understanding of what is displayed on these snowmen!



The student is using the answer key to check her work.
Example of Answer Key

This center is self-checking, which is awesome for students developing their skills of independence. There are answer keys with the correct snowmen for the students to see if they organized all snowmen correctly. The answer keys are paper clipped to the back of the bag.

The students had so much fun ywith this activity and I loved seeing their processes of placing all the snowmen parts together!

Thanks so much for reading!

Math learning centers are great for providing students with interesting experiences that will enhance their learning. I had a blast making my learning center and I hope you enjoyed reading about it! Thank you for reading! Stay happy and healthy!

-Julia 🙂

Fun Math Activities to Do at Home!

Hi! Thanks for visiting my blog!

Welcome to this post! I hope you have a wonderful reading experience. I am Julia Park and I am an Early Childhood Education major! I am studying at Millersville University. If you have a moment, I would love it if you could check out my other blog posts! They include information about a variety of topics within the educational world.

My last post included information about parent involvement to benefit math instruction. In this post, I will be detailing activities that parents can do with their children at home to support their child’s learning. 

Learning at Home During the Pandemic

I wanted to write this post to assist parents/families in supporting their children’s learning at home during the pandemic. I admire the strength of teachers and parents throughout this challenging time of transitioning to online learning. This time has emphasized even further that parent involvement, as I discussed in my previous post, is very important in their child’s education. 

The following sections will focus on three specific activities parents can do with their children to extend their child’s learning at home.

Measurement Activity Ideas

There are many ways to practice measuring at home. Measurement can be complicated for children because of the variety of units. It is very beneficial for children to make measurement activities hands-on and interactive to provide children with the opportunity to deepen their understanding of these particular concepts. 

One way of helping children with their measurement skills at home is by providing them with opportunities to compare sizes between items around them. This is a simple activity that sparks discussions with children and allows them to practice their understanding that the objects in their surroundings have all kinds of attributes. Comparison words can include smaller, bigger, taller, longer, shorter, and many more!

Examples of objects children can use for comparison activities include shoes, silverware, books, pillows, water bottles, stuffed animals, other toys, and anything else around the house that you can find!

Another way to help children with their measurement skills outside of school is by having them measure items using nonstandard units. They can practice measuring with units before starting to use a ruler. Children can use string or even their own body to measure objects. They can compare the measurements they get to tie the last activity into this one as well. 

When they start using rulers, the child can measure having the ruler lined up differently with objects. This will help students practice using units to measure instead of just seeing the number on the ruler where it meets the end of the object.

Read Aloud Activity Example

I discuss read-alouds more in-depth in my other blog post, but I wanted to include a specific example of one here. 

Math activities do not have to involve a strict set of questions or problems for students to solve. Although practice like that is beneficial, read-alouds are just as helpful! They are super fun and engaging as well.

For example, the picture book in the image above promotes creative thinking skills rather than just memorization skills to practice math. The book contains amazing imagery, fun rhymes, and multiplication problems throughout the story. 

Parents can perform a read-aloud with their children to review multiplication concepts and engage in mathematical discussions. Children’s comfort levels can increase when working with math as well because they are practicing math in a low-stress environment. 

This is just one example of how you can use a book to extend a child’s learning in math! The website embedded in the image has so many other wonderful books and ideas you can use for a variety of ages to assist children with their math at home!

Math Walk Activity

A math walk is a creative way for children to practice their mathematical skills. They can explore the ground to figure out solutions to a variety of problems or questions.

I love that these activities involve movement. Movement strengthens a child’s learning, increases their motivation, and improves their memorization skills. Children can move around to take in all aspects of the information displayed on the ground. They can also participate in a series of math walks where they go from one problem or question to another. 

Math walks are also awesome for students who need visuals to provide them with extra support. There can be diagrams, patterns, timelines, shapes, different colors, and so much more to make these as interactive and supportive for the child as they can be!

Click the image above for some amazing math walk ideas! 

Thank you so much for reading!

I hope you enjoyed reading about activities parents can do at home to extend children’s learning! I had such a fun time writing about these interactive activities. Thank you for reading this post! Stay well!

-Julia 🙂

The Importance of Parent Involvement for Learning Math

Welcome to my blog! I hope you enjoy this post!

Blog Author- Julia Park

Hi! I hope you are doing well. I am Julia Park and I am an Early Childhood Education major. I am currently a senior at Millersville University! Time flew by so fast, but I am thrilled to share all of the amazing information I have been learning. 

In my last post, I wrote about the use of class discussions in math class. In this post, I will be sharing information about parent involvement in education!

Why is Parent Involvement Important?

Parent involvement is very beneficial for all involved. When a parent or family member is involved in a student’s learning, students feel much more supported at school. 

Through parent involvement, a connection between home and school forms, creating a sense of community and comfort for the child. Having the support of this community increases children’s motivation and engagement in class.

Teachers can also encourage parents to extend students’ learning at home to deepen their child’s understanding of mathematical concepts. This practice at home will lead to more success in and out of the classroom.

As the blog continues, I will be providing examples of how teachers can connect with parents so that they can help them support their children at home! 

Ways to Communicate with Parents

Communication with parents/families is the main factor in increasing their involvement in their child’s education. It is so important to make families feel welcomed and included in the school community. Actively reaching out to parents/guardians will show them that you care about their child’s learning journey. The following are ways teachers can communicate with the families of their students:

      • Introduce yourself to families at the start of the year and keep them updated throughout the year. 
      • When we are not in a pandemic, in-person meetings are great for getting to know the families on a deeper level. Personalities are much easier to read when individuals are in the same environment. 
      • Because we are in a pandemic, video chatting seems to be a very useful form of communication. Zoom and Google Meets are just two examples of programs teachers can use to meet with parents virtually!
      • Emails, newsletters, and blog posts are awesome ways of keeping the families updated on important news or to share information about current concepts their students are learning about.
      • Phone calls are also a way to communicate and keep in touch with parents. 

Before committing to any particular form of communication, it is very important that you make sure that it is the best option for the families. When introducing yourself at the start of the year, ask about their preference as to what form of communication would be most useful for them!

Other Ways to Support the Parents

Parents might have been taught mathematics differently than how their children are being taught. Acknowledging this is helpful because everyone’s learning experiences are different and families should not be expected to understand their children’s mathematical learning right away.

This is why keeping parents informed about the math their students are learning in school is very important. When parents understand the math their students are learning, they will feel much more equipped to support their children at home. 

It is important to also keep parents updated about their student’s progress in math class. By having knowledge about their student’s progress, parents can create a more specific goal of what they should be practicing at home with their child. 

The image above provides a helpful link for parents on how to support their child’s learning at home. It is a great resource to share with families! Another resource teachers can provide for families is a webpage that lists awesome websites that help support children’s learning in math at home!

Thank you for stopping by!

I hope you learned a lot about the importance of parent involvement in math education! I love thinking of ways to strengthen the school community because it is so helpful for the child. I really appreciate you checking out my blog! Thank you for reading! Goodbye for now!

-Julia 🙂

Students Should be Encouraged to Talk in Math Class

Hi everyone! Thanks so much for stopping by.

Welcome! I really appreciate you being here. My name is Julia Park and I am in my senior year at Millersville University. I am studying as an Early Childhood Education major and I absolutely love it! I have been posting all about what I have been learning and about some of my experiences out in the field. 

In my last post, I shared information about connecting children’s literature to mathematics instruction. In this post, I will be talking about the importance of discussions in math class. Let’s begin!

Benefits of Discussions in Math Class

Throughout my time at Millersville, I have learned about the importance of providing time for students to discuss concepts they learn in class. 

Discussions can be in the form of small groups or a whole group setting. Teachers can use think-pair-shares to engage students in discussions. This form of activity allows students to form their own thoughts independently, discuss their ideas with a partner, and then participate in a whole-class discussion. Children are able to work up towards feeling more confident and comfortable when sharing their ideas with others by participating in a think-pair-share. 

Small group discussions are very valuable because students can take a deeper and more focused look at math concepts with their peers. Whole group moments can be overwhelming for some, so many students will enjoy this time to talk in a smaller group setting. 

In small group discussions, students can receive direct feedback on their ideas from their peers. Teachers can work more closely with students in this type of setting to provide them with feedback and assistance as well, which is important for students that might need one-on-one attention. 

Small group and whole group discussions provide students with the opportunity to hear the perspectives of other people. Children can practice having an open-mind to others’ thoughts and can learn that sometimes, thoughts can change and grow by discussing ideas with other people. This is a beautiful process that enhances children’s learning and can really flourish through discussions. 

In a whole group discussion, students can continue to ask questions and share their ideas. Whole group discussions typically follow small group discussions to allow all children to hear some of the ideas that were shared previously. In this setting, children can also reflect on their experiences by discussing what they learned with a smaller group of peers before. 

The image above has an awesome link embedded in it! Click on it to read about Jennifer A. Privitera’s experiences and advice on how to strengthen mathematical discussions in the classroom!

How to Facilitate Discussions

In this section, I am going to describe some helpful tips on how to facilitate a successful discussion in the classroom. If you are worried that a class discussion can lead to disruption, these tips will help you prevent anything from getting too out of hand.

One important factor in making sure chaos does not ensue is by creating and enforcing clear rules and expectations for the students. An example of this is by setting specific volume levels for the students to follow. Guidelines for volume levels remind students to be respectful to those around them and to focus on the task at hand.

Educators can pose an interesting question or problem to inspire students to discuss their ideas. When students are interested in the topic of discussion, they will be more engaged and willing to participate.

Teachers should create a safe, low-stress environment in the classroom so that students can feel comfortable sharing their thoughts with others. For an environment to be supportive of our learners, we have to make sure they know that mistakes are okay and risk-taking is encouraged.

Another way of keeping discussions focused and productive is by providing students with explicit directions. This will help children have a specific goal in mind as to what to talk about which will lower the stress and confusion that might happen in a group setting. 

One more tip on how to have successful discussions in class is by modeling and describing appropriate behavior when working in groups. The following are just a few examples of what teachers can do to promote appropriate behavior: 

      • Teachers can remind students to take turns when speaking and to be attentive when their peers are sharing their ideas. 
      • Educators can influence students to provide helpful feedback to their peers by modeling it themselves.
      • They can also provide students with sentence stems to support students’ ability to articulate feedback in a respectful way for their peers. Check out this blog post for some awesome sentence stems provided by Tina Jennings!

Click the image above to read a blog post by Jeannie Curtis for more tips on how to facilitate discussions! 

How Can Discussions Support Teacher Planning?

Discussions support the teacher and their instructional methods immensely. Teachers can monitor students’ progress and understanding of concepts by listening to the students’ ideas. 

Monitoring students’ progress is helpful for teachers because they can differentiate children’s learning materials based on their observations of each child. Teachers can even build class discussions around the needs of the children to support their learning. 

Teachers can also gain an understanding of the attitudes of students. Having a growth mindset, which is the ability to believe that one can grow in their ability to do something, is essential for learning math. When students believe that their abilities can evolve, they are more motivated and focused on their work. Teachers can observe student behavior in groups to determine if any children need extra support in shifting their mindset to be more positive!

I discussed the importance of having a growth mindset in one of my other blogs! I encourage you to check it out for more information about having a growth mindset in math class.

Thanks for reading!!

I am super passionate about class discussions and I am so glad I got to share what I know with you all! I still have so much to learn and I can’t wait to have more class discussions as time goes on. Thank you so much for reading this post! See you in the next one!

-Julia 🙂

Connecting Children’s Literature to Mathematics

Welcome to my new post!

Blog Author- Julia Park

Hi! I hope you are staying healthy and happy during the continuation of this pandemic. I am Julia Park and I am a senior Early Childhood Education major at Millersville University! I have many posts up on this site already, so check them out if you would like!

In my last post, I provided information and links to other resources about using manipulatives to benefit math instruction! In this post, I will be detailing the use of children’s literature when teaching math. 

Why is Reading so Helpful for Learning Math?

Using children’s literature to teach mathematics has a variety of benefits. Combining multiple subjects provides teachers with an amazing opportunity to allow students to strengthen several skills in one lesson or activity. Some benefits of connecting children’s literature that I have learned about so far include the following:

      • Children’s literature can contain mathematical vocabulary and concepts in a familiar and understandable way for many children.
      • Students might have a deeper connection to literature. Children’s interest in math may increase since it is being taught by using a subject they really enjoy or feel more comfortable with. 
      • Teachers can use books, poems, or other forms of literature that contain information that is relevant to their students. By containing content that is relevant, children will be more interested and have an easier time grasping the skill or concept that is being taught. 
      • Literature can also provide children with real-world contexts to support their learning. Math is used in everyday lives, although many students do not realize this. Using literature materials that connect math concepts outside of the classroom will encourage students to feel like there is more of a purpose to what they are learning, resulting in memorable experiences in math class. 
      • Children’s literature materials can be used to spark conversation about a mathematical concept. Class discussions are very beneficial because students can share their thoughts and receive feedback, ask questions, hear their peers’ thoughts, and critique the ideas of others. This will give students the opportunity to practice their mathematical thinking and hear the thinking processes of others in a safe space. 
      • The use of children’s literature in math class can be a great tool for differentiation. Teachers can use reading materials that are developmentally appropriate for children and can support them based on their specific needs. 

An Example of How to Implement Children’s Literature into Math Class

There are many ways teachers can implement children’s literature into math instruction. The most common one is by using picture books to support mathematical learning. I will be focusing on that example in this section. 

Using picture books can be a really simple way of starting discussions about mathematical concepts. Teachers can use interesting and exciting books to hook their students when introducing a new math idea. 

Picture books can also be used to pose a problem for students. There are many books that incorporate ideas or problems related to math for children to explore. 

Centers or lessons can incorporate math-related picture books. The storyline or contents of the book can correspond to what the students are learning. There are so many activities that extend children’s learning just by using picture books!

Click on the image above for examples of math read-alouds for primary grades! 

Beneficial Resources 

As we near the end of this post, I wanted to provide you all with resources to assist you in connecting children’s literature to mathematics. Here are some awesome resources I am excited to use in my own classroom: 

      • The image above has a link to an amazing website that has a culmination of books related to mathematical concepts that you can use in your own classroom! 
      • Another great page to check out is on and is written by Alycia Zimmerman. She provides teachers with information and resources about how to connect picture books to mathematics instruction!
      • Carol Hurst’s Children’s Literature Site includes links to helpful articles and resources to help teachers incorporate children’s literature into mathematics instruction. 

Thank you for reading my blog post!

I hope you enjoyed this blog post! Children’s literature is a great tool to use to connect math with a subject that many students find comfort in. I highly suggest checking out those links I included throughout my post because they are very helpful! Have a wonderful day and come back soon!

-Julia 🙂

Manipulatives Benefit Math Instruction!

Hi there! Welcome to my new blog post!

Thanks for checking out my blog! I am Julia Park and I go to Millersville University. I am in my senior year of studying as an Early Childhood Education major! If you have a moment, feel free to check out my previous posts! 

In my last post, I explained how technology can strengthen mathematics instruction. In this post, I will be providing information about using manipulatives in math class!

Are Math Manipulatives Useful?

Manipulatives are very useful tools that children can use to learn or practice math skills in a hands-on way. These tools can include objects like two-color counters, dice, hundreds charts, pattern blocks, place value blocks, and so many more.

Math manipulatives allow children to extend their learning by having fun and memorable experiences with physical, and sometimes virtual, objects. Many learners need different ways to visualize or discover how a new concept works. Students are able to explore and manipulate objects themselves, in a safe and low-stress environment, to make sense of the information that they are learning. 

When children have fun, personal, and memorable experiences in school, they are more focused and engaged in class. Increased focus and engagement will deepen students’ understanding of mathematical concepts. 

Ways to Use Math Manipulatives

Math manipulatives are often used to introduce a skill or as tools for children to practice their new skills with. These tools are typically used at the start of a lesson or for an activity after the teaching of a new concept. 

There are many strategies teachers can use to successfully incorporate manipulatives into the classroom. One of these strategies is modeling. Teachers can model using math tools for the students before they try to use them independently. The students can then practice using the tools on their own, with guidance from the teacher when necessary. 

Students can also explore manipulatives to extend their learning. Like I stated in the previous section, manipulatives can make math fun for children! Let them explore and come up with new ideas through the use of math tools. This can occur when trying to solve a problem, reviewing a new concept, or any other idea related to math! 

For information on how to use specific manipulatives in the classroom, click the image in this section! Elyse Rycroft does an amazing job at taking an in-depth look at implementing manipulatives into mathematics instruction! 

Tips for Organizing and Assembling Math Tools!

Having materials organized is crucial when implementing the use of manipulatives. If the classroom is disorganized, there is a chance that valuable time that could be used for learning will be wasted on finding specific materials or cleaning up unnecessary clutter. 

Teachers can use bins or different kinds of containers with labels to neatly organize manipulatives. Labels with pictures are super helpful for students, especially when they are still developing their reading skills. There should be a specific spot in the classroom for these materials that is easily accessible to the students. 

Another helpful tip to prevent time from being wasted is to have all manipulatives prepared and ready to go before it is time to teach or transition into an activity with the children. 

Click on the image above for Jillian Starr’s 10 tips for organizing math materials! I found these tips to be incredibly helpful!

Using Manipulatives at Home

It has been a challenging time since the pandemic started, especially with the transition to online learning. Children studying at home do not have access to many of the materials that are available at school.

I mentioned this in my previous blog post, but there are many websites that include virtual manipulatives for students to use. Children can engage in online activities to extend their learning even at home!

If you click on the image above, you will be taken to a blog all about using items from home as manipulatives. In times like these, we have to get creative! We have a lot more useful items to help us with math than we often realize. The blog linked above will show plenty of examples of that! 

Thanks for reading!

I always loved using manipulatives when I was learning math growing up. Math was never my strong suit, but manipulatives really helped me visualize certain concepts in a clearer way. I hope you learned more about manipulatives in this blog post!

Thanks for stopping by. See you later!

-Julia 🙂

Technology Can Strengthen Mathematical Learning!

Hi everyone! Hope you are doing well!

Blog Author- Julia Park

Welcome to my new blog post! My name is Julia Park and I am a senior Early Childhood Education major at Millersville University. I would love it if you could check out my other blog posts to get to know me a bit more! 

In my last post, I focused on the use of interactive notebooks in math class! In this post, I will be providing information on how technology can be another tool to benefit mathematical instruction. 

How Does Technology Support our Students?

Technology supports students’ experiences in math by providing them with different ways to learn and review mathematical concepts taught in class. The following are some examples of how technology can support the learning of our students in math:

      • Students can practice their math skills through virtual activities, apps, and games. Children can feel much more involved in and responsible for their learning when participating in fun, interactive activities. This feeling of being involved will increase their engagement in class and their understanding of the material. 
      • Children can utilize online manipulatives to develop skills they are working on. Many manipulatives like number lines, color tiles, and more are offered online!
      • Students can watch videos or presentations that further illustrate specific skills to provide them with another way of learning a new concept.   
      • Experiences online can be individualized, which can meet the needs of many students.

Click on the image above for four awesome ways technology can be used in the classroom to support teachers and students! These ways are discussed in this section and in the next, but this article provides a bit more detail for each one and I wanted to share it with you all! 

Technology Can Benefit Teachers Too!

Teachers can use technology to assist them in the classroom in a variety of ways. One major benefit is that technology extends our students’ learning, which we have discussed in the previous section. Those benefits support teachers because, through the use of technology, we can provide our students with resources to help them improve on their math skills. 

The use of technology provides teachers with computers to research concepts, find or create materials, organize and store lesson plans, create presentations for students, find mathematical videos, and so much more. SMART Boards or projectors are also useful for showing presentations or videos to provide visual representations of math skills when needed. 

With the range of materials available online, one benefit for teachers and students is that we can differentiate the learning experiences for each child. If needed, we are able to assemble activities for each student that meets their specific needs to help them grow in certain areas. 

Along with being able to differentiate for each child, teachers can use online activities or games to monitor student work and track their progress. Teachers can use the information they gain from monitoring their progress to modify their teaching strategies for in-person and online instruction! My cooperating teacher in my fourth-grade classroom has been using Google Classroom, especially during the pandemic, to assign work from home. This is just one example of how teachers can review the work students do online! 

One more really important benefit that is actually connected to both the student and teacher is that technology often allows teachers to stay in touch with families. Strengthening the relationship between the school and families will provide more support for the child. Teachers can keep in contact with families through emails, phone calls, and video chats. Educators can also allow families to be updated on their students’ progress by seeing their online work. 

Useful Mathematical Resources

Throughout my time at Millersville and out in the field, I have come across many mathematical resources that benefit students’ learning. The following are just a few examples that I have learned about so far: 

      • Students can access online manipulatives on many different websites. Click on the image in this section to explore one website that offers some great virtual manipulatives!
      • There is a website students can use to practice creating all kinds of graphs called “Create a Graph.” 
      • In my field placement, my fourth graders use a math app called Prodigy! This app lets students participate in battle games while practicing their math skills throughout their battles! My fourth graders love it!
      • Sumdog is another program where students can play games while strengthening their mathematical skills. 
      • BrainPOP offers a wide range of animated movies, games, and activities for a variety of math concepts to provide children with fun experiences while building upon their mathematical skill sets. 

Thanks so much for checking out my blog!

I hope you learned a lot about why technology is beneficial for teachers and children and how to utilize it in the classroom! During this pandemic, we have had to rely on technology a great deal. I have found it very helpful to embrace this new world of technology so that I can take advantage of all its benefits! Maybe this post will inspire you to do the same! Thanks again for reading! Check out my blog again soon. 

-Julia 🙂

Using Interactive Notebooks in Math Class!

Welcome to my blog! I am so happy you are here.

Hi everyone! If you are a new visitor here, feel free to check out my previous blog posts to get to know me a little more! I am Julia Park and I am currently in my senior year as an Early Childhood Education major at Millersville University. I am eager to continue sharing what I learn with everyone! 

In my last post, I discussed the importance of having a growth mindset when learning in school, especially when it comes to the subject of mathematics. Today, I will be discussing the use of interactive notebooks for math instruction! 

What is an “Interactive Notebook?”

I actually hadn’t heard of an interactive notebook until this semester at Millersville! I am really thankful I know about them now because they can be used as a tool to increase student engagement and organize their learning of math.

Interactive notebooks extend children’s learning by offering opportunities for guided notes and practice with skills students learn in class. If they are kept organized, interactive notebooks can greatly benefit mathematics instruction!

Ways to Organize an Interactive Notebook

It is super important that interactive notebooks are kept neat so that their learning can be organized. There are a few ways to organize interactive notebooks to benefit the instruction of math!

Interactive notebooks often have paper cutouts that are glued onto the pages of the book. These cutouts have guided notes, visuals, activities, and games for the children to support their learning in math. Some of the activities and games might have extra pieces that can be stored in bags that can be paper clipped or taped to the notebook!

Along with the cutouts that educators can use, teachers can include a table of contents at the beginning of the notebooks. The children number their pages and record each section in the front of the book to make their work and notes easily accessible. Click the image above to see an example of how teachers can organize their table of contents! Sarah Carter is a high school math teacher in Coweta, Oklahoma, but her example is helpful for younger grades as well! 

Another way to set up the children’s notebooks is by having them assemble their cutouts or contents of the books in the order of units and/or chapters of the units. This method can allow children to revisit each section of skills that they learned to review and build upon them as time goes on.

To make sure content is arranged in the notebooks to support students’ learning, the cutouts or information included can be structured based on standards. Rebecca Rojas does an awesome job at incorporating the standards in each of her interactive notebooks for her fourth graders! Check out her blog to see examples of some of her notebook pages!

The Benefits of Using Interactive Notebooks

For reasons discussed above, the organization involved in implementing interactive notebooks is one major benefit for students studying new mathematical concepts. 

Another benefit of interactive notebooks is that they can provide children with a range of visuals and fun activities to further their understanding of the concepts they are learning in class. 

While implementing interactive notebooks, teachers can provide students with scaffolding to help them practice skills until they are prepared to be independent and work on their own. Teachers can also differentiate learning through the contents of the book by making each notebook individualized based on the students’ needs. 

In relation to the benefit of differentiation, teachers can monitor student work through their use of the notebooks. This is a major benefit for teachers because they can track the progress of the students and can modify their instruction when necessary. 

One more benefit of using interactive notebooks is that they can connect parents to their children’s education. Parents can gain a deeper understanding of what their child is learning in math class by looking at their interactive notebooks. This will build the relationship between the teacher, parent, and student, creating a supportive community for the child. 

All of these benefits increase the engagement of the students when learning math. When students are engaged in class, they are more motivated and focused, which creates memorable learning experiences! 

Check out this blog post to learn even more about the benefits of using interactive notebooks for math instruction! 

Organization is Important!

In order to have a successful experience with interactive notebooks, it is crucial that they are kept organized and are developmentally appropriate for your class. There so many resources out there, including ones that I have not mentioned thus far, that can help you organize your own interactive notebooks!

I want to leave you all with just one example of a great resource I have found to help inspire what I would love to do for my fourth graders in the future. Fabie Lozano does an excellent job of displaying her resources and explaining how she organizes her notebooks. This format can be modified for lower grades as well!

Interactive Math Notebook for 4th Grade

Your 4th graders will love these interactive math notebook resources that address all 4th grade math content. These NO PREP resources make introducing new ma…

Thanks for stopping by!

I hope this blog post and the resources I have shared motivate you to explore the idea of implementing interactive notebooks into your classroom! Thanks again for checking out this post. Stay safe out there! 

-Julia 🙂


Let’s Talk Math!

Hi! Long time, no see!

Blog Author- Julia Park

Welcome to my blog! I am Julia Park and I am an Early Childhood Education major at Millersville University. It is my senior year here at MU and wow, it has been quite the journey! Although the pandemic has made life difficult, I am absolutely loving my field placement experience with my wonderful fourth graders thus far! The busy semester has limited the time that I would have dedicated to blogging, which has been a huge bummer for me. I am so excited to get back into sharing information I am learning with you all!

In this post, along with many future posts, I will be focusing on the instruction of mathematics. Let’s dive in!

Growth Mindset Matters

You might be wondering, what does the phrase “growth mindset” mean? When a person has a growth mindset, they believe that they can improve in their ability to do something. This is the opposite of having a fixed mindset. A fixed mindset is when a person believes that their qualities are fixed traits and focus on documenting these traits rather than improving on them.

Having a growth mindset is important in any subject because we want our students to believe that it is possible to grow in their own abilities. When children believe that their abilities can improve, they are more motivated to try new skills and activities. This motivation leads children into a world of endless, invaluable learning opportunities.

How do Fixed Mindsets Form in Math Class?

It is important to acknowledge how fixed mindsets might have formed to prevent them from forming in our own classrooms! It is also beneficial because it can allow us to understand why a student is lacking motivation in math.

There are so many ways fixed mindsets are established in the minds of children. The following are just a few examples that I have learned about or experienced out in the field:

  • Children often hear the idea that you have to be a “math person” in order to excel in mathematics. A “math person” does not exist! Students of all kinds can improve their math skills with hard work and practice. 
  • Students might have attended a class where only accuracy was appreciated. Having a teacher who does not value effort can create a fear of failure in children.
  • There is a possibility that teachers do not provide children with enough opportunities to challenge themselves. Without these opportunities, children are unable to practice the skills they are in the midst of developing.

If teachers are more aware of the possible reasons that students are lacking in motivation, we are able to problem-solve in a mindful way!

Encouraging Students to have a Growth Mindset

As teachers, we can do so much to encourage our students to have growth mindsets in math class. The following is a list of ways teachers can promote growth mindsets in their students:

  • Teachers can remind students that everyone learns in different ways and at different paces. This is why we must praise effort, not just accuracy. When effort is praised, students are better able to recognize that the process is just as important as the result. 
  • Educators should provide children with challenging opportunities so that students can practice using their problem-solving and critical thinking skills in a safe, low-stress environment. 
  • Teachers can model having a growth mindset by participating in think-alouds. In a think-aloud, teachers can demonstrate positive reactions when mistakes are made. By doing this, the teacher can work through the mistake aloud and show that mistakes are learning opportunities.
  • Educators should emphasize the power of “yet!” We need to remind students that they might not be able to do something yet, but with determination and practice, they will be able to work towards many goals! 

Check out this awesome blog for more ways on how to encourage our students to have a growth mindset in math! You can also click on the image seen above for another great resource on this topic!

In the TED Talk video below, Rita Pierson sets a great example for teachers to build trust with our students, show our students that making mistakes is okay, praise students for their effort, and encourage students to do better because we know they can!

Every kid needs a champion | Rita Pierson

Rita Pierson, a teacher for 40 years, once heard a colleague say, “They don’t pay me to like the kids.” Her response: “Kids don’t learn from people they don’…

I love this video so much and I think it represents beautiful ways we as teachers can model having a growth mindset for our own students! 

“It is hard to fail, but it is worse never to have tried to succeed.”Theodore Roosevelt

The fear of failure often limits the exploration and risk taking done by individuals, which is really detrimental to a person’s development. As you have just read in my previous sections, children have experiences that can lead to this fear, which is a major problem that we need to be aware of. 

We need to encourage children to recognize that so much can come out of trying something new, even if it results in failure. It is best that we treat failure and the process of making mistakes as learning opportunities because that is what they are! 

Thank you very much for reading this post!

I really appreciate you stopping by! Having a growth mindset is so important for our learners and I really enjoyed sharing this information with you all! Thanks so much for reading!

-Julia 🙂