If someone had told me twenty years ago that someday I would be working with some of the nation’s top mathematics education gurus to start a new brand of Mathematics PD Resources; that I would get to help to shape their work and words in an effort to help teachers get better at teaching math; and that I would LOVE it…well, I would have driven them to the nearest hospital. It’s not the job I ever envisioned for myself. But it’s a dream job and there are three things that make it so:
#1 People who teach math are AMAZING people
I mean, really, teachers in general deserve and have earned my utmost respect. I have so much admiration for what they get up and do every day (including my husband who incidentally teaches 6th grade math). But for those teachers from preschool on up who have embraced a topic that people famously dread almost as much as public speaking, who get up every day to try to help kids not only learn math, but love math? C’mon, that puts them in a whole different stratosphere! They also tend to be some of the most fun, collaborative, supportive, and creative people I’ve ever known. Just look at what goes on the MathTwitterBlogosphere (#MTBoS) and you’ll instantly see what I mean. And I get to talk to and hang out with these folks every day, which just brings joy to my world.
#2 Learning math is hard, but not impossible
While it never exactly came naturally to me, I always persevered and earned good grades in math. Still, I can’t say I developed deep conceptual understanding during my K-12 years, and for a long, long time, I considered myself “not a math person.” It’s a difficult subject even under the best learning circumstances, but the payoff when you finally feel that light bulb go off is tremendous. In editing math PD books, my own knowledge and conceptual understanding has grown tremendously since the time when I was taught in a somewhat stilted traditional way that never made much sense. Lightbulbs have gone off, and keep going off. I’m appreciative for that, and for the fact that I no longer have to fear helping my first grader with her homework. Phew!
#3 Math writing may be even harder
The books and videos I have been blessed to work on with my authors involve deep and complex mathematical detail, and yet still have to help readers think about all the other pedagogical issues students need them to consider…English Language Learners, struggling learners, high-achieving learners, differentiation, fostering conceptual understanding before procedural skill, being standards aligned, maintaining rigor, finding and using the best tasks…the list is endless. And all the while, we aim to mindfully present it in a way that is functional, friendly, accessible, and aesthetically pleasing to busy teachers. This experience has only increased my appreciation for what these teachers do every single day, what they need from us to support them, and most importantly the brilliance my authors bring to the table in endeavoring to help.
And in this dream job, I’ve had the unique opportunity to work with these experts and my incredible colleagues at Corwin to finally be able to officially present to you…drumroll please…Corwin Mathematics
Why Corwin Mathematics?
Like me, most teachers, kids, and parents have heard this at some point—“either you are a math person, or you are not.” And most automatically put themselves—or were put—into one bucket or the other. I don’t buy it.
At Corwin Mathematics, we believe ALL students should have the opportunity to be successful in math! We’ve brought together trusted experts in math education such as Linda Gojak, Ruth Harbin Miles, John SanGiovanni, Skip Fennell, Gary Martin, Nanci Smith, and many more, to offer teachers their best research-based and practical guidance in an effort help all students become “math people.” We want to help you move your students from surface to deep mathematical understanding, to stop favoring procedural knowledge over conceptual learning, and to get beyond rote memorization into true comprehension.
We’ve listened to you, and we’ve learned from you. In the last year, we’ve begun publishing just a taste of what is yet to come with our best-selling Common Core Mathematics Companions series among other great titles like Gerald Aungst’s Five Principles of the Modern Mathematics Classroom and Jennifer Wathall’s Concept-Based Mathematics. In the coming months, through books, videos, consulting, and online tools, you’ll see that we’re working hard to offer a truly blended learning experience that helps teachers demystify math for students. The user-friendly design and format of our resources provides not only the best classroom-based professional guidance, but many activities, lesson plans, rubrics, and templates to help you implement changes at your own pace in order to sustain learning improvement over time. We are committed to empowering every learner. Listen to what our authors have to say and check out some of our forthcoming titles at www.corwin.com/math.