Igniting Mathematical Thinking!

In 2 minutes, write down different uses for a brick and a blanket.

Welcome to the new kind of interview question.

Seem easy? Not so for thousands of potential job candidates at companies like Google, Apple, and Facebook. The truth is being really good at memorization and regurgitation doesn’t help much anymore when it comes to preparing for future success.

We are teachers and our goal is to prepare students for the future. The challenge comes in the realization that the jobs they will be seeking probably don’t even exist right now. So how do we get them ready to meet and surpass expectations? We begin by teaching students HOW to think, not just what to think. We cultivate their ability to apply and transfer knowledge, we provide plenty of opportunities to notice similarities, connections and patterns of thought, and we make learning relevant so our students can answer WHY what they are learning is important and how it impacts them.

Numeracy is about making sense of numbers and understanding the effect numbers have in the world around us. Being numerate means having the ability to use mathematics in everyday life and to appreciate information presented in mathematical terms.  It is an approach to teaching mathematics that levels the playing field for all students to approach numbers thoughtfully as they gain access to using them in more sophisticated settings.

I began my research in Numeracy more than 15 years ago. After many years of researching and experimenting with how to empower children to see learning mathematics as meaningful and useful, I am delighted to share the summer with you, Frankie, and The Educator’s Book Club! I am honored.

~ Margie Pearse

Teaching Numeracy Book CoverHow exciting is it to be able to read a book with the author themselves?! Beginning this May, The Educator’s Book Club will begin hosting a live book study with Margie Pearse, author of Teaching Numeracy: 9 Critical Habits to Ignite Mathematical Thinking.

If the title alone doesn’t excite you and make you wonder about those 9 critical habits, then just take a look at these reviews from Amazon.

  • “Margie Pearse and Katie Walton have given us a rich treasury of research-based best math practices. This resource is filled with new tools to enhance the skills of teachers at all grade levels. This book offers practical, engaging, numeracy strategies to support our struggling students, and sets the bar high for our advanced young mathematicians.” (Mary Dunwoody, Director of Secondary Curriculum and Professional Development 2010-11-29)
  • Teaching Numeracy is the book that all math teachers should get their hands on! The authors share their own classroom experiences in an easy-to-read, heartfelt way, and they give readers the opportunity to move from theory to practice the very next day. After reading this book, teachers will understand how to help students actually think through the math instead of just doing the math.” (Elizabeth Ann Moorcones, Educational Consultant 2010-11-29)
  • “This book is for every math teacher who has ever been frustrated and confused about why many math students ‘just don’t get it’. Pearse and Walton have compiled clear, concise techniques in a straightforward approach to teaching math in the 21st century. Teaching Numeracy is a must-read, must-implement guide that teachers can utilize for every math lesson.” (Nancy Paterni, ESE Teacher 2010-12-01)
  • “Much like the efforts undertaken in literacy, we must take students on a journey through the process of mathematics. Pearse and Walton have presented a book to help us develop depth of knowledge and understanding through the practical application of research-based best practices.” (Jeffrey Ryan, Assistant Superintendent 2010-12-13)
  • Teaching Numeracy is refreshing and unique.  Written in a conversational tone, every teacher will at some point see themselves or their classroom situation discussed in this book. It is a well-organized “filing cabinet” of research, methods, activities, suggestions, and lesson plans that align well with every elementary math curriculum.” (Kathleen Eross, Teacher 2011-01-13)

Teaching Numeracy came highly recommended by several teachers on Facebook. After reading the Forward in the book, I, personally, am very excited to begin this study!

So, who is Margie Pearson? Well, here is a little bio.

Margie Pearse Picture

Margie Pearse has over 30 years of teaching experience with certifications in mathematics, elementary education, English as a Second Language (ESL), and Pennsylvania Quality Assurance Systems (Certified Instructor – PQAS 2014). She is presently in higher education training education students how to teach math that is relevant, engaging, and represents best mathematical practice. Margie also works as a math coach helping hundreds of elementary teachers create deeper, more meaningful numeracy based lessons. 
Margie’s educational philosophy can be summed up as such, “Why NOT reinvent the wheel! Yesterday’s lessons will not suffice for students to succeed in tomorrow’s world. We need to meet students, not just where they are, but where they need to be. There is great potential in every child. It is our job to empower students to discover that potential and possess the tenacity and self-efficacy to reach it.”


Published Books: Teaching Numeracy: 9 Critical Habits to Ignite Mathematical Thinking, released by Corwin in 2011; Learning That Never Ends, released by Rowman & Littlefield in 2013; and Passing the Mathematics Test for Elementary Teachers, by Rowman & Littlefield, February 2015.

On Thursday, Margie and I met on-line and discussed how we would like to host the discussions. We have agreed on using the Adobe Connect platform, and will be hosting weekly discussions on Sundays beginning May 24, 2015.

Below are the tentative dates. Each session will begin at 7pm EST.


Stay tuned for more info!


Working with Authors as a By-Product of Stupid Talk

If you had asked me a year ago what I would be doing today, I would have rambled off about dozen education related ideas. I take after my Dad. He’s a dreamer. He’s always concocting a new invention, theory, or idea, in general. Always. He calls it “stupid talk”. Somewhere in the midst of all of the “stupid talk”, something smart and innovative will come about. Not every time, but eventually. I would say that, in this respect, I am much like my dad. I ramble. I dream. And I dream up big ideas that, sometimes, make no sense at all. You should see my husband when I say something completely ridiculous and he is trying to find a polite way to tell me, “no”.

Of all of my ideas, I never thought I’d be working with authors. Authors are, to me, like celebrities of the literate world. They are names splashed across books, much like directors of movies. They are experts in their field, while I am still in a learning-process. In education, many educational authors are mentors. Mentors to their peers and readers.

Imagine my dilemma when authors began ending their messages on a first name basis. Being raised by a southern Dad and Japanese Mom, I was always raised to be respectful of others. You call people Ms. or Mr. and you use last names. A courtesy practiced by both my American and Japanese families. Authors are my literate mentors, the experts. Naturally, I want to use last names, and expect to be referred to by my first name. After all, I am not the expert.

For those of you who may not know, I have had the pleasure and opportunities to communicate with a couple authors regarding book studies hosted by The Educator’s Book Club. Typically, this is a fairly informal process and not time-sensitive. A couple authors, Angela Watson and Dave Burgess, have joined the group and commented alongside the members throughout the book studies. Informal, inviting, and fairly simple.

This morning, I couldn’t sleep because I was so excited. I was going to meet an author for the first time via Adobe Connect. I sent out the link for the meeting room the previous night, and we met this morning at 8:30. I even dreamt that I was preparing for the meeting, so I suppose you could say I was double prepared. I was also very nervous and anxious.

If you are a part of the book club, then I’m sure you know who I am talking about. Margie Pearse, co-author of Teaching Numeracy. We had a couple technology hiccups in the beginning, but, eventually, were able to use the audio, share the whiteboard, and play around on the meeting board. I will be posting more specifics soon regarding the guidelines for the discussions.

The meeting this morning went so wonderfully, and, yet, the whole time I was trying to keep calm and not giggle too much. I giggle when I’m nervous, a trait I don’t typically consider a positive one. I could name a couple moments where giggling was the absolute last thing I should have been doing. And, imagine what I would do when I got nervous about giggling too much? Yup. You guessed it. I’d giggle more. Anyway, I digress.

The Educator’s Book Club began as a means for me to continue my growth as a teacher with fellow educators. We began with a handful of teachers and have grown since. Because of this group of wonderful teachers, eager to learn and grow together, I have had the opportunity to connect with authors in an attempt to bring deeper meaning and understanding to our book studies.

Regarding “stupid talk”, I consider The Educator’s Book Club a very positive by-product of it. Thank you to all of the members of the group who have voted, nominated, and participated in the group! And thank you to all of the authors who have shed so much more light and meaning on the studies we have and will be conducting! I look forward to reaching out and connecting with other authors as we all learn and grow together!

Learning to Teach to Learn


My name is Frankie Robinson and I teach in the Atlanta area. Learning is fascinating to me in all capacities. I’d love to say that I am a sponge, but I also fear that I forget easily. With that in mind, I have decided to take to blogging and archiving my “learning-curve”. I have much to learn, and I have much to remember. I hope that this tool will help me in that process.

So, who am I? What makes me interesting?

I grew up in Georgia about thirty minutes from Atlanta. Born and raised. However, I spent nearly every summer with my grandparents in Osaka, Japan. I grew up bilingual, although English is my native language.

To paint a very small picture of my life, my comfort foods consist of grits and bacon or miso soup and rice. Maybe I should mention that I love food, and I love analogies with food. Insert food emojis here.

Also, I am almost always starting a new hobby. Currently, I am learning how to code websites, use Adobe Captivate, facilitate The Educator’s Book Club, and sew dresses for my baby girl. Oh! And I’m starting this blog. Clearly, I can’t sit still for long.

More information can be found on the About page, as well.

Thanks for reading!