Math Blog

  • Perseverance in Mathematics

    Posted by Jim Windisch on 3/10/2014

    Did you know that Colonel Sanders “Original Recipe” for chicken was rejected 1,009 times, Steven Spielberg was not accepted to film school until his fourth attempt, and 27 different publishers rejected the first book by Dr. Seuss?  Yet, all three of them became leaders in their fields.  They didn’t let failure stop them!

    Last week, I shared information about the eight Mathematical Practice Standards.  As a teacher, it is my responsibility to incorporate these standards into everything we do in math class. As a human being, it is the first standard that I find myself dealing with everyday: Make sense of problems and persevere in solving them.  Professionally and personally all of us are faced with many problems that we need to sort out and solve.  And frequently we find that our first solution doesn’t work. Yet, whether the problem is big or small, we keep chipping away at it until we find a solution!

    Our kids need to be comfortable struggling through problems and making multiple attempts to find a solution.  By now you have probably noticed that the math problems I send home take more than one step to solve.  Real-world problems are rarely solved in one step, and what we do in math class represents that.  This week, I would like you to support your child by letting him or her really think this problem over and use multiple strategies to find the right answer.  Feel free to remind your child how to perform any needed computation, but let your child own the problem and the solution. Learning to deal with a failed first attempt will help your child in the math classroom and beyond.

    Thanks for reading,

    -Jim Windisch

    If your child needs a reminder on how to do the computations needed for this week’s problem, I recommend viewing the videos at Just enter the “quick codes” below into the search box on the site to find instructional videos on math concepts.

    Add and subtract fractions - LZ121

    Multiply a whole number by a fraction - LZ1548

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  • Standards for Mathematical Practice

    Posted by Jim Windisch on 3/3/2014

    The Idaho Core Standards emphasize having students explain reasoning for what they do in mathematics.  This is a huge change from our previous state standards that were measured entirely by each student’s ability to find the correct answer.  Everything we do in math class is guided by the Standards for Mathematical Practice from the Idaho Core Standards.  I’ve enclosed these standards in student-friendly language below.  Please look them over and think about how your child can do these things when completing his/her math homework.

    Good mathematicians…

    1. make sense of problems and keep trying even when problems are challenging.

    2. use numbers to describe situations.

    3. justify their strategies and listen to see if other people’s ideas are logical.

    4. make models of situations.

    5. use a variety of mathematical tools.

    6. try to be accurate and revise their thinking when they make an error.

    7. use the structure of a problem to help them find answers.

    8. look for and use patterns

    From San Diego Unified School District

    I plan to share more information about the Standards for Mathematical Practice with future homework assignments.  In the mean time, if you are interested in learning more, please visit the parent guide to the Standards for Mathematical Practice I have linked below.

    Thanks for your support,

    -Jim Windisch

    Parent Guide to the Standards for Mathematical Practice
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