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Practice Notes:
Teaching Math for All Learners

Welcome to our Blog

Check out our stories to learn more about the work of the All Learners Network. Our contributors include ALN Instructors, leaders, and math coaches. Click any of the photos below to read the full blog post.

Free Math Intervention Resources for Educators & Specialists

Christa Hagan-Howe

Math intervention is a constant topic for many of us in preK-12 education.  As an organization committed to supporting math pedagogy so all students can learn math, All Learners Network (ALN) frequently strategizes with districts and schools on how...

Countering Teaching Through Telling with 4 Inclusive Math Instruction Strategies

Tara Trudo

Picture this - a teacher stands at the front of the room. Their back is to you and they are writing an addition problem on the board: 24 + 37. They tell you to do what they are doing. “First, we line up the tens, then we line up the ones.” You copy...

Equipping Educators, Supporting Students: Partnering with ALN for a Summer Math Lab

Multiple Contributors

All Learners Network (ALN)'s very own Sandi Stanhope and Christa Hagan-Howe talk through what the ALN Summer Math Lab is and how it works. 

5 Free Workshop Recordings to Further Inclusive Math Instruction

Christa Hagan-Howe

Accessible and engaging professional development for math educators is always on our minds here atAll Learners Network (ALN). We are committed to supporting teachers and pedagogy so all students can access quality math instruction. We do this...

The Five Key Components for Unlocking Math Progress

Multiple Contributors

All Learners Network (ALN) is committed to improving math pedagogy so that all students can access quality math instruction. We know that it is time to move away from antiquated notions around math education and focus on strong pedagogy. It is...

Students sitting together with math manipulatives

A Call to Stop Labeling Our Students

Chris Farnham

Recently,  the All Learners Network (ALN) leadership team worked on a five-year plan. We dreamed big with the goal of spreading our mission around the country. In this projection, we designed a plan aimed at supporting thousands of districts,...

Why does high school math need a makeover?

John Tapper

There is no shortage of international studies to cast doubt on the effectiveness of American math instruction. Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS) and  Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) are two studies...

Building Confidence and Increasing Inclusion Through Launch

Carly Epstein

What is inclusion in a classroom really? Inclusion is talked about in education in many different ways and takes on many different forms. Inclusion is more than just being in the room. It is more than ‘just’. 

Why Should ALL Math Blocks Include Launch?

Multiple Contributors

At All Learners Network (ALN),  we start every balanced math block with Launch. Launch is typically about 5-15 minutes, depending on your time and schedule, and focuses on building number sense, reasoning, community and productive math discourse....

Making Math Lessons More Inclusive: ALN Problem Introduction Protocol

Multiple Contributors

What if there was a way to get students more comfortable sharing ideas during a math lesson? What if there was a way to reduce the amount of “I don’t knows” during a math lesson?

Math as a Door Opener

Ashley Marlow

All means all. Not “some” or “most,” but every single person deserves to have a humanizing learning math experience that affirms themselves as the capable, competent math thinkers that they are. As educators, we must consider all aspects of a person...

New Free Membership Level to All Learners Online (ALO)

Christa Hagan-Howe

All Learners Online (ALO) is the self-paced professional learning and math instructional resources platform by All Learners Network (ALN). ALO delivers its members with high quality self-paced professional learning, math resources, and more. ALO...

What are the High Leverage Resources?

Christa Hagan-Howe

Who is All Learners Network?

Multiple Contributors

Unpacking Belonging in Math Class

Ashley Marlow

Why is belonging in math class so important?

Feeling a sense of belonging is a vehicle to engagement. Engagement promotes both learning and empowerment as an expert learner. At All Learners Network (ALN), we believe in opening the doors to all...

Why do the High Leverage Concepts (HLCs) focus on one skill?

Multiple Contributors

What is math coaching? What is not math coaching?

Multiple Contributors

All Learners Network (ALN) facilitators Erin Oliver and Tara Trudo pull from their experiences as classroom teachers, interventionists, math specialists, and coaches to collaborate on this basic coaching primer.

White table has a succulent in the background and the foreground has wooden letter blocks that spell resilience.

Strengthen Resilience with Math Anxiety

Kate Hughes

You hear the chime. Chairs scrape across the floor. You see your classmates walk towards the meeting space and find a spot on the rug. Your teacher gets out the easel markers and some linking cubes. It is time to start math. What is happening in...

What does an intervention cycle look like?

Katie Jacobsen

All educators can frame the process of their work with students as a cycle. All Learners Network (ALN) particularly recommends this specific framing to special educators and interventionists, or any teacher working with students in small groups. 

...

What Do I Do With a Small Group?

Tara Trudo

Whether you are a classroom teacher, an interventionist, special educator, English as a second language teacher or other educator you might be wondering what do I do for small group math instruction?

We know all kids do not learn math at the same...

Why Concrete Tools Matter in ALL Math Classrooms

Carly Epstein

Concrete tools (manipulatives) support access, equity, universal design and differentiation in every math classroom. Manipulatives support mathematical connections and deep understanding. So why are they missing in so many math classrooms,...

How to Plan for Sustainable, Lasting Math Improvement in Schools & Districts

John Tapper
Administrators

Math pedagogy is the key to improving math performance and math understanding for all students. Pedagogy is the single most important element in instruction to improve math performance and understanding.Teachers are the critical element in improving...

The Background on the Newly Revised HLC Learning Progressions

Sandi Stanhope
Learning Progressions

All Learners Network (ALN) originally created the High Leverage Concepts (HLC) Learning Progressions as a resource for classroom teachers, math interventionists, and special educators who create learning opportunities for their students daily. We...

How do we encourage playful, productive struggle in Math Menu?

Erin Oliver
Math Menu

Our goal in Math Menu is for students to feel both relaxed and curious. Let’s use a recess analogy to help visualize our menu practice. At recess, students are independent and engaged in an activity of their choosing. They are motivated, playful and...

What is a Professional Learning Outreach Coordinator?

Pat Buono

Here at ALN, our mission is paramount in everything that we do. We’re constantly visiting our decision-making process and asking, “does this decision work with our mission in the way that we would want?” 

All Learners Network's Evidence-Based Practices Alignment

Ashley Marlow

Evidence-based practices (EBPs) are specific strategies, activities, or programs that have been found to be effective for improving student outcomes and backed by rigorous, high-standard research, replicated with positive outcomes (What Works...

What is Explicit Systematic Instruction?

Erica Moy

How can you support your students in interventions so that they are building conceptual understanding and connecting mathematical concepts and strategies to strengthen their understanding? One recommendation in the IES practice guide from What Works...

Discourse in the Mathematics Classroom

Carly Epstein

What is discourse and why does it matter?

Discourse is the communication of ideas where there is interaction between students' own thoughts and ideas and the consideration and examination of the ideas of others’ to make meaning and grow collective...

What is Specialized Math Instruction?

Erin Oliver

Specialized Math Instruction (SMI) focuses on improving instructional techniques–or pedagogy– of all educators for teaching mathematics for all students.  

A Case for High Quality Math Instruction for Students with Complex Needs

Glenn Patterson

I would like to discuss a topic dear to me - the importance of high quality instruction for math students with complex cognitive needs. In the state of Vermont, these students tend to fall under the disability category of Intellectual Disability. My...

The word math displayed on a background.

Purposeful Change: The ALN Rapid Cycle of Inquiry

John Tapper

A group of math coaches and I gathered for a local PLC meeting. We had been looking at student work and discussing some of the problems of practice facing the teachers in our buildings. In any gathering of educators, it’s pretty easy to articulate...

A male teacher welcomes math students into the classroom.

Establishing Classroom Culture

Carly Epstein

Establishing a classroom culture within the first six weeks of school is crucial for the success of a learning community. To facilitate an inclusive community culture, educators should establish routines and expectations with students, use language...

A teacher smiles at the class while a student looks on.

Inclusion and MTSS

Glenn Patterson

I spend a lot of time in schools in many different grade levels and while there are more differences than similarities in the goings on of a 1st grade classroom and a 10th grade one, a major similarity is the question of inclusion. How does one...

A young child learns with math manipulatives

Establishing a Feedback Culture

Erin Oliver

Use Student Work as Feedback We are in the business of being responsive.As educators we strive to establish a thriving feedback culture in our classrooms enriched by constantly looking at formative assessment data and responding. When armed with...

A team of math educators discuss their work.

Math Coaches Make an Impact

Erica Moy

Coaches provide support for teachers who have multiple demands through job embedded professional development. One key element essential to effective math instruction, that a math coach in particular provides, is supporting teacher knowledge of...

A young girl raises her hand in the classroom while her teacher looks on.

Problem Introduction Protocol (Updated)

Sandi Stanhope

About five years ago, several educators and ALN facilitators developed a Problem Introduction Protocol. We wanted to create a way in which we could introduce problems during the Main Lesson that would provide math access to all students. We’ve had a...

David’s Math Class: A Story of Inclusion

Glenn Patterson

Often, when we talk about differentiation and inclusion, the responsibility is put upon the teacher to create, provide, and derive the means for low floor/high ceiling tasks (with multiple entry points) so all students may access the learning...

teacher_students_instructional_support

Differentiation - What Is It?

Carly Epstein

What is differentiation and where can it be applied?A differentiated classroom is facilitated by an educator's timely and ongoing response to student needs. Educators target and implement strategies and tools that provide access and inclusion and...

A young black girl shows her classmate how to work out a math problem.

MTSS and the ALN Lesson Structure

Erica Moy

Schools and classrooms are filled with diverse learners who all have their own individual knowledge and needs when it comes to learning. A Multi-Tiered or Multi-Layered System of Support (MTSS) provides a system in which educators can meet the needs...

student using math strategies at white board

Perseverance and Growth Mindset

Erin Oliver

No matter how many years of experience we’ve logged as educators, we all have to put in the work at the beginning of a new school year to build our classroom culture.  This always starts with student relationships. 

Student work sample ALN

What do special educators need?

John Tapper
Special Ed

What do new Special Education teachers need most? More support for teaching math!

A dog looks on as a teacher lines up pattern dots for a math problem.

Systems Matter

Erin Oliver

I began my career in education because I believed it was a broken system that we could mend. My senior year I read Jonathon Kozol’s The Shame of the Nation and became convinced that the way to solve poverty in our country was to...

Why Math Menu Matters Even More Right Now

Erin Oliver

This school year has so many of us feeling like our first year teacher-selves, struggling with the work and effort that is required when you’re learning how to do something new.  

It feels like we are facing more obstacles than...

Precision of Language

Natasha Wheel

“Wow this game is really hard!” my aunt told my son while playing an arcade game. It’s easy to drop the token in and watch it land on the wheel, it’s just not likely that it lands exactly in the winning spots. I thought about her choice of words...

Ask a Smaller Question

Natasha Wheel

I just finished working with a large group of teachers in Montpelier. They were inquisitive and eager. In the exit slips, several participants asked for more information about using questions to teach. This post is a response to...

Math problems on a worksheet with a pencil.

30 Minute Intervention Block Using Math Menu

Ashley Marlow

At Malletts Bay School, we had a set 30 minute intervention block beyond what we call “First Instruction.” My everyday math block consisted of about 55 minutes for the math lesson that day and then an additional 30 minutes set aside for...

A wooden bridge descends into fog.

Using Work Places in Bridges to Differentiate and Support All Learners

Natasha Wheel

The blog is back from the holidays with a piece from Essex Westford School District on a topic that has come up numerous times in ALN meetings and workshops. How can I use Bridges for Differentiation? Here is how one district responded to this...

Jamboard Routine for 3 Act Math Tasks

Erin Oliver

After April vacation, I polled my fifth and sixth grade math lab groups to see how they wanted to close out the year together.  I told them that in our last intervention cycle of the year we had two options. 

  1. I could design team problem-solving...

Commitment to Equity: Current Climate Demands a Need to Post Again

Erica Moy

We are once again bearing witness to violence and racism in our country targeted at people within the Asian community. We are uniting with those who are facing incidents of hate. We once again want to reiterate our commitment to equity.

We stand...

Pick the Mini-Marshmallows

Erica Moy

On a cold afternoon after my boys had been out sledding we were making hot chocolate with marshmallow of course! My youngest commented on how tiny the marshmallows were in comparison to the jumbo ones we use for roasting over the fire. The...

Math Learning in the time of COVID

Erica Moy

As we enter 2022 we hope the new year brings health and reduced stress in schools, for staff and students alike. As we embark on year 3 of a pandemic, we continue to face challenges - staffing issues, absences due to sickness and quarantine, and...

From “Hey guys!” to “Hey y’all!”

Erin Oliver

I’m working on breaking a deeply ingrained habit of addressing groups of people as “guys”. I’ve played on sports teams my entire life and “guys” is just part of the sports lingo. I’ve used the word so often that now I use it...

Black heart on white background

ALN Commitment to Equity

John Tapper

In the wake of the murder of George Floyd, we wish to state unequivocally: Black lives matter.

We stand with those protesting the brutalization of people of color by police.

We stand with those fighting against the white supremacy culture that...

Conscious Discipline and Math Learning

Natasha Wheel

This week we hear from Paige Benedict about Conscious Discipline – an approach to managing challenging behaviors with integrity and respect. Since we hear quite a bit about the prevalence of these behaviors, we thought this was an important...

Best Practices Support ALL Learners

Erica Moy

When you think about your students and consider instruction you might have a particular child in mind. Maybe you are considering a multilingual learner, or a student who is on an IEP, maybe a student who is differently abled, or one that has not...

Finding Math Outside

Erica Moy

Teaching during a global pandemic has brought about many changes and some of those have been good things that have moved teaching, learning and student engagement forward in a positive way. One change I hope sticks around is getting kids outside...

Math Trips at Folino’s

Natasha Wheel

This idea emerged after a year of working on the All Learner’s Project and a summer spent working at the Folino’s pizza restaurant in Burlington.

One of the reasons I joined the All Learner’s Network is the High Leverage Concepts....