Building Number Sense

The Why & How of Number Sense

 “If you are a parent of a child in the K-12 system, there is today just one thing you should ensure your offspring has mastered in the math class by the time they graduate: number sense.”  Dr. Keith Devlin, mathematician at Stanford University   Number sense is the single best indicator of students’ success in math.  It is critical in the Common Core State Standards in math, and is the reason curriculum companies have built

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Properties of Shapes & Op Art

My first graders came to me with a lot of background knowledge on shapes and their properties.  I was impressed with the amount of information they retained from kindergarten and from other learning experiences.  Because we didn’t need to spend a ton of time on 2-D shapes it was the perfect opportunity to integrate art into our unit to help students continue to develop their understanding of shape properties and to demonstrate content mastery. Working at an

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Building Fact Fluency with 5 in a Row

5 in a Row: Building Fact Fluency

Fact fluency routines are often filled with worksheets and timed activities.  They do have their place in the classroom, but they’re not very engaging.  While I’ve definitely learned that fact fluency does not mean 1 second recall and strict timing systems, I also firmly believe that having a strong memorization of facts helps students focus their mental effort and energy on the larger math skills at hand.  It’s important to build fact fluency in students.

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Calendar in the Primary Classroom

Classroom calendars used to be commonplace in nearly every first grade classroom, and even a lot of second grade classrooms.  As the push for standards accountability has grown, I’ve noticed fewer and fewer teachers implementing calendar in their classrooms because the “standards” don’t “dictate” it. Or, because they just are feeling the time crunch and with the struggle to fit everything in, calendar has been cut. My classroom calendar is the single biggest tool for

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Math Block Structure

A Look at my Math Block

I first started teaching self-contained third grade seven years ago.  After spending close to 10 years in and out of classrooms, working with intervention students, and seeing some amazing teaching and learning, I knew I wanted to do math centers in my room and I knew how my math block ‘should’ look.  I wanted time to meet with small groups of students, and I wanted students to have time working independently and so I implemented

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Hi! I'm Tessa!

Tessa Maguire image

I’ve spent the last 15 years teaching in 1st, 2nd, and 3rd grades, and working beside elementary classrooms as an instructional coach and resource support. I’m passionate about math, literacy, and finding ways to make teachers’ days easier. I share from my experiences both in and out of the elementary classroom.




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