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!


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