Current Workshops

Math Anxiety: Effort - Nerves - Performance

The Institute for Conceptual Mathematics (ICMathematics)

Expand Your Teaching Toolbox with Differentiated Instruction

Wiring the Brain for Mathematics

Mathematics is among the most important subjects that children study in school as well as the most complicated to teach, yet teachers receive little in the way of support beyond the course outlines and textbooks they are given at the beginning of each year. To further complicate matters, many of the materials are based on methods which should have been discarded long ago or don't incorporate the latest research. Finally, when given the opportunity, teachers receive "one shot" workshops where they are either given a "master plan" which is too complicated to implement, or a few tips which don't bring much change.

At BLTMath, we believe in the idea that all teachers should be engaged in high level and continuous support which follows them into the classroom and beyond. We offer workshops that are based on the most current findings in how children best learn mathematics and how teachers can best teach it. Our comprehensive programs of training and support follow teachers out of the lecture hall and into the classroom so that they can implement their new found skills immediately and permanently.

 

 
 

Current Workshops

 

Fractions: You're Teaching Them Wrong

Fractions are among the most feared and misunderstood elements of the elementary and middle school curriculum, yet they form the basis of understanding that will continue through high school and beyond. Unfortunately, we often present models that do a poor job representing the concepts, use language that is vague and/or contradictory, and teach procedures that are incomplete or poorly understood. We can help our students understand fractions more thoughtfully and thoroughly by working with better models, developing deeper concepts with those models, and then teaching procedures that promote understanding. Using findings drawn from neuroscience, linguistics and cognitive science, we can help students develop an understanding of fractions that is flexible and comprehensive.

In this workshop, we will examine what what kinds of practices should be implemented to help clarify and deepen our our students' understanding of fractions. This includes:

  • You can add 1/2 + 1/3 and get 2/5. What question will this answer correctly?
  • Why are some ways of reading fractions are better than others? Why is saying "3 over 5" the worst?
  • The "pie model" of fractions is popular, but its also the most rigid and confusing; here's something better!
  • Why is the yellow pattern block not equal to 1?
  • If multiplication is repeated addition, how do we explain 1/2 x 2/3?

This full-day workshop (9 am - 3 pm) is specifically designed for educators who wish to enhance the quality of their instruction by learning about specific techniques centered around the teaching of fractions. It is especially suitable for math specialists who work with students of various ages.

Click here for scheduled dates.

Math Anxiety:

Effort - Nerves - Performance

One of the most important, yet little acknowleged, barriers to mathematics achievement is the feeling of frustration and helplessness that our students experience on an occasional or, for some, a regular basis. This fear and anxiety leads to negative attitudes towards mathematics, inhibits academic achievement and limits our students choices both in school and careers.
In this workshop, we will examine what research has uncovered about the connection between mathematics and the emotions, and will answer the following questions:

• What are the unique properties of mathematics that lead many people to develop deep seated fears of it?

• What are the genetic, environmental and neurological causes of mathematics anxiety?

• What are the gender and racial components of math anxiety, and how are they connected to stereotype threat?

• How can we diagnose the level of mathematics anxiety in our students?

•How can we help our students control their math anxiety so they can perform better on assignments and assessments?

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The Institute for Conceptual Mathematics (ICMathematics)

The ICMathematics workshop focuses on how we teach the underlying ideas of mathematics. Many children who struggle with mathematics do not have an understanding of the basic concepts and as a result tend to over- or under generalize, resulting in an incomplete understanding of the principles. The ICMathematics workshop answers three main questions:

• What is a mathematical concept, and how does it differ from a skill?

• How can we best teach children these mathematical concepts?

• How can we assess their understanding of these concepts and apply them to learning skills and solving problems?

The ICMathematics workshop is approximately 6 hours long, and each participant will receive a copy of the book "How to Develop Robust Concepts."

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Expand Your Teaching Toolbox with Differentiated Instruction

This workshop will examine the practical aspects of bringing differentiated instruction into your classroom.
Each participant will receive an example of a two-week curriculum module designed, identifying specific strategies that teachers can use to modify their classroom instruction for the natural range of learners they encounter. During the workshop, participants will select a mathematics unit they wish to modify and use the modeled strategies to create curricular units for their classrooms. They will also learn how to start with a basic mathematics strategy game, and adapt it so that it challenges a broad spectrum of students.
Finally, participants will take a single activity and “spin” it so that students from the remedial to advanced levels can all comprehend the important themes while working at a level that is satisfying without invoking frustration.

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Wiring the Brain for Mathematics

Advances in brain imaging over the past 25 years have provided us with new insights into how humans process mathematics. This workshop will focus on the work of Stanislaus Dehaene, and would include the latest research on how neuroscience has uncovered critical information about the nature of mathematical development in the human brain. This includes the following discoveries:
* Babies as young as 2 - 3 days old are "hardwired" with a capacity to carry out mathematical operations.
* There is no single area of the brain responsible for mathematical thinking. The parts of the brain responsible for storing and retrieving addition and multiplication facts is completely different from those responsible for subtraction, division, and even algebra.
* There is no specific "math gene," but there are certain traits that make some people better equipped to master mathematics.
This workshop will focus on both the theory and application of a neuroscientific approach to teaching mathematics. Participants will learn
* why some children have a harder time than others in learning certain concepts and skills in mathematics,
* what can be done to rectify that, using techniques that are consistent with our understanding of how the brain processes information.


This workshop is balanced between a summary of the scientific research that describes how our brain processes mathematics, and how we can evaluate and build upon the inherent capabilities of our students. We will examine software that can be used to detect and treat dyscalculia, as well as learn how to design activities that take advantage of our neurological systems. Participants will receive a comprehensive bibliography of relevant books, articles and software, as well as sample activities for them to try out in their classrooms.

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