About Brian Twitchell

I spent 24 years as a high school math teacher at Mt. Abram High School and am currently the district math coach in RSU #74

Equal is not an operation

Consider the problem "3 + 5 = ____ + 2". Any elementary teacher will tell you instantly the most common WRONG answer is 8. The teacher will then lament that students just aren't reading the entire problem. I'm not convinced this is the case. I believe students think that the equal sign is an [...]

By |2021-10-16T18:05:44-04:00February 21st, 2021|General|2 Comments

Diving into Division Part 1

Over the past few days I have had several discussions with 4th, 5th, and 6th grade teachers about the operation division. Division is often viewed as the most difficult of the 4 operations for students to master, and I am constantly looking for ways to help teachers better communicate how to divide. In my [...]

By |2022-02-08T11:38:46-05:00December 4th, 2018|General|0 Comments

The Best Job in the World

I have to say. I think I have the best job in the world! Last week I was working with a first grade teacher on measurement. The standard says to have students measure in non-standard units, such as paperclips, counters, or other objects. So we decided to measure the classroom in "Twitchells". Here [...]

By |2018-05-22T20:44:29-04:00May 22nd, 2018|General|0 Comments

Talking about Numbers

Mathematical Discourse In Principles to Actions (2014), NCTM proposes 8 principles for teachers to implement in their teaching of mathematics. The fourth principle is "Facilitate Meaningful Mathematical Discourse", while principle number five is "Post Purposeful Questions." One of the best ways I have discovered this year to implement these practices it to introduce "Number Talks" [...]

By |2018-02-11T00:09:30-05:00February 11th, 2018|General|0 Comments

Multiplication – Multiple Methods

To the surprise of many people, there are multiple methods for multiplication. Every so often, a "new" fad in doing arithmetic makes the rounds on social media. One that is currently going around is termed the "Multiplication - the Japanese Way".  Here's one video that shows the process: Professor Puzzler (www.theproblemsite.com) has [...]

By |2017-11-30T13:57:36-05:00November 22nd, 2017|General|0 Comments

What’s with this new math?

Is there really "New Math"? The internet is full of images and posts bemoaning the "New Math" and "Common Core Math", as a major step backwards in student mathematical performance. I am presenting what I believe to be a alternate view point of this position, however. A common theme is that this "new method" [...]

By |2017-11-07T19:59:36-05:00November 7th, 2017|Standards|0 Comments

Mapping the Standards

Mapping standards Mapping standards is an important task for many educators. A map of the standards is a graphical display that shows connections between different standards. These connections can be either within a grade level or between different grade levels. This map allows teachers to examine more closely the skills and knowledge that students [...]

By |2017-09-17T22:35:37-04:00September 16th, 2017|Proficiency-Based, Standards|0 Comments

Problem Solving – the Good and the Bad

Problems with Problem Solving One of the most important skills students can have, and yet one of the most difficult to teach, is the skill of problem solving. In the Standards of Mathematical Practice, it says that students should be able to "Make sense of problems and persevere in solving them." The skill [...]

By |2017-09-11T20:16:37-04:00September 11th, 2017|General|0 Comments

Traditional versus Proficiency Based Grading System

Traditional Grading System The following conversation is one that could readily occur when a student brings home a report card under our traditional grading system. Congratulations! You got an 89 in your Algebra 1 course! That sure represents a lot of hard work. Can you please tell me, from that grade, what topics you [...]

By |2017-08-13T19:50:21-04:00August 11th, 2017|Grading|0 Comments
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