Dealing with Math Anxiety

Post # 28 How to Deal with Math Anxiety in Students

Nearly every student who walks into an adult education program has some degree of math anxiety.  This short article by Jessica Deshler offers three practical tips to help you “alleviate the anxiety” of your students when it comes to learning math:

  1. Let them work together.
  2. Let them learn from their mistakes.
  3. Give them lots of feedback.

To learn more about how to implement these three suggestions, take just one minute to read this brief blogpost, .  Your students may thank you for it.

Building Fluency-Using Flashcards in Math

Post # 27 Using Flashcards in Math

Too often students enroll in your program lacking sufficient fluency with their addition and multiplication facts.  As instructors, you know these gaps often affect students’ future success in math, but no one wants to spend a lot of time drilling math facts. Typical drill methods can seem childish, be tedious, or bore students with the repetition. In his blog post, Using Flashcards in Math, standards co-author Jason Zimba offers us a method using the age-old idea of flashcards that, with a little creative adjusting for an adult audience, might just help your students gain the fluency they need to be comfortable with fractions and more advanced math topics.  Once addition and multiplication are mastered, it’s an easy leap to understanding the relationship with subtraction and division, respectively.  Also, I think your students will be motivated by tracking their own progress on the fact map.

Procedural skill and fluency, along with conceptual understanding and application, make up the components of Rigor, one of the three Key Shifts of the College and Career Readiness Standards (CCRS)- Focus, Coherence and Rigor.

Building a Mathematical Mindset Community

Post #26 Building a Mathematical Mindset Community

If you’ve been with Math Matters for any length of time, you know I love to share the materials  Jo Boaler makes available on her site,  The latest gem is a one-page summary of her book,  Mathematical Mindsets. This summary takes  Carol Dweck’s work on Growth vs. Fixed Mindsets and applies it to the math classroom.  What characteristics would such math classrooms share?  What questions might be asked to promote deep thinking and conversations around the math?  How might one design mathematical tasks to enhance learning?  Download the summary here for suggestions.

Another Resource from Jason Zimba

Post #25 Another Resource from Jason Zimba

I really enjoy following Jason Zimba’s blog at Is it possible that I’m becoming a “math geek?!” His most recent post includes some engaging worksheets developed for his daughter and an interesting explanation/ history of perfect numbers.  A lead writer of the Common Core State Standards for Mathematics, Jason Zimba is also a founding partner of Student Achievement Partners.  His blog posts are always interesting, and many of them relate well to math instruction for adults.  Even if you don’t use his exact worksheets, I think they will spark ideas for some excellent math activities to use with your students.  Here is an excerpt from his most recent post which can be found at

“I thought people might like to have the latter set of worksheets, so I’m posting them here (PDF).

  • The first page is a skills brush-up.
  • She then filled out the second page, while I co-piloted as necessary.
  • Finally she completed page 3, which summarizes the conceptual work of page 2.

The last question on page 3 is an unrelated question about perfect numbers. At dinner the night before, I had remarked that 6 is called “perfect,” because if you add up the factors of 6 not counting 6 itself, you get 1 + 2 + 3 = 6. Perfect numbers are fun (here is some cool background on them) but my underlying purpose in asking about them was actually to provide a bit of brush-up with multiplication facts.”

Kentucky Center for Mathematics 2017 Conference to Feature Cynthia Bell

Post #24  Cynthia Bell to be Featured Speaker at 2017 KCM Conference

Those of you who attended the 2016 KCM Conference know just how outstanding, applicable, and interesting the sessions were.  Hardin County program director Diane Kelley said the conference was second only to COABE in its usefulness.

I’m pleased to announce that KCM listened to our suggestion to include a national presenter from the world of adult numeracy at their 2017 conference.  Cynthia Bell, numeracy specialist with the Literacy Assistance Center of New York will be a featured presenter at this year’s conference in March.  Registration is now open:

Hope to see you there!

KYAE Instructor’s Video Nominated for Award

Post #23  Robert Recorde and the History of the Equal Sign

A math instructional video, Robert Recorde and the History of the Equal Sign, has been nominated for a 2016 eCaps Award.  The video, created by Garrard County lead instructor Catherine Beechie, was selected from over 90 projects as one of three finalists for the EKU award.  You’ll definitely want to watch this 14-minute informative and entertaining mini-lecture. Congratulations, Catherine, on your first video success; we anxiously await more projects from you that help to make learning math so entertaining.

Three-Phase Lesson Structure

Post #22  How Real-World Examples Can Better Illustrate Lessons on Fractions

Though this fraction lesson is presented to a third-grade class, the lesson structure and teaching strategies apply to any age.  Watch the video to see how this teacher implements the elements of the three-phase lesson structure: Before, During, and After.

You’ll notice that the lesson hits on multiple standards for Mathematical Practice, but I think it especially targets two of them: MP.3, Construct viable arguments and critique the reasoning of others, and MP.4, Model with mathematics.  Do you agree?

Rigor is one of the three key instructional shifts  for the CCRS for Mathematics.  The lesson addresses two of the components of rigor: conceptual understanding and application, thereby laying a foundation for the third component, procedural skill and fluency.

This lesson also illustrates well the indicators in two core actions of the KYAE Observation Tool: Core Action C, Learning is monitored and instruction adapted, and Core Action D, Learning engages students in higher-order thinking.  Finally, it demonstrates all five Mathematics Lesson Indicators of the observation tool.

It’s a pleasure to see all of these best practices in action!  Happy viewing.