Hi! I’m Susan. I help elementary math teachers and interventionists to improve their students’ learning without increasing stress or workload.
My goal is to give you the strategies and resources you need to support your math students- even your most struggling math students through simple and effective instructional strategies.
You’re In The Right Place.
If you are here you are most likely bending over backwards to support your students in their math growth but I’m sure you have a lot on your plate – it can be overwhelming!
It’s possible that…
- You have a curriculum you are using but it’s not cutting it for a group of your students. They are just falling further behind.
- You have students who seem to need everything but you aren’t quite sure where to start.
- All of the math PD you are provided by your district circles around the curriculum you have been provided- not at the heart of how students learn math!
- Even when you do receive quality PD, the crossroads of research based math practices and real life teaching is beyond elusive.
I attended SUNY Geneseo in upstate NY for my undergraduate work. I became certified in childhood and special education. I later added a graduate degree in the area of educational technology.
While at Geneseo I “re-met” my husband (we actually went to high school together!). We now have two beautiful little red-headed children.
My career as an elementary teacher began in a co-taught 4th grade classroom. I spent four years as a special education teacher working alongside the most fantastic teaching partner anyone could ask for. After two more years teaching in a self-contained, multiage classroom I found my home as a math interventionist.
In each of these positions I was tasked with “closing the gap” for my students. I would really rather think of it as unlocking my students’ potential. In any case, I needed to make sure I was on top of my game and I took absolute pride in watching my students progress.
My Educational Philosophy
- I believe all kids can learn math concepts – even if they are not all ready to learn in the same way and at the same time.
- I believe that students learn math when they are comfortable and when they feel safe and supported.
- I believe that 5, 6, 7 and 8 years olds need to move. Kids aren’t designed to “sit and get”.
- I believe that math is language and that students need the chance to talk… a lot… during math instruction.
- I believe students learn by doing. It is never wrong to start in the concrete, hands-on world.
- I believe exposure to grade-level materials is fantastic and necessary. It is also incredibly necessary to meet students where they are RIGHT NOW.
- I believe procedures are easy to confuse and forget. Concepts you understand deeply are easy to remember and are invitations for future connections.
- I believe math skills, math facts, number sense and word problems are not separate entities and should not be instructed as such.
- I believe your students will never be independent in their math skills if they are not allowed to practice math independently. We sometimes hold the hands of our most struggling students too tightly.
- I believe an orientation to a curriculum that has been purchased for you does not constitute professional development.
- I believe curriculum materials are not necessarily evil. Evil is when we eliminate flexibility and professional judgement. When we forget that curriculums don’t teach students; TEACHERS teach students.
- I believe math professional development often over-complicates both content and strategies. When we are taught a wide variety of “teaching procedures” for a variety of skills and standards, it becomes overwhelming and we don’t know which one to use at which time. When you learn the principles of how students learn math you can easily implement simple and effective lessons and units.