The CCSS 8 mathematical practices

As I spend time examining the Common Core State Standards for math, I am struck by how powerful the mathematics is in there.  What concerns me the most is that the CCSS was written by mathematicians who have a fantastic handle on what mathematicians need to know, but I think the documents lack a bit of down-to-earth verbiage for teachers and students.  When I read the 8 mathematical practices, I was impressed at how the practices discussed the habits of mind that it takes to be a mathematician.  The more I read it, though, the more I realized how difficult it would be in its current state to use in the K-8 classroom.  For the past two years, I have used the 8 practices in my classroom (grades 6-8) to not only drive my instruction, but to guide the methods that I use to help students become mathematicians.  I also have a version of the practices for the lower grade levels (K-3).  Over the course of two years, I feel that I created a student-friendly version of the practices and engaging lessons to help students use them every day in the classroom.  I have a narrated power-point to explain my lessons and there are documents to use in the classroom at my websitesmall_picture_8_practices.

Welcome to my blog!

My name is Holly Young and I am a mathematician, math teacher, and math trainer.  I just recently left the classroom and decided to go out on my own to create resources for math teachers.  By and large, math teachers have the raw deal in teaching, especially in secondary schools.  The onus falls on the shoulders of the math teacher to lead every day, every minute of every lesson.  We don’t have scores of amazing National Geographic videos or Discovery websites that further our curriculum.  If we have to be out of the classroom for a day, then we usually lose a whole day of instruction.  It is my goal, therefore, to create useful media that math teachers can access and help forward student learning.  I have lessons available for multiple grades and topics at and I will continue to add more lessons and useable media.  This is a journey for me, so I will be constantly improving and creating new resources.  If you have suggestions of what resources you would like to see on my website (or blog), please feel free to let me know.

This first file that I am posting came to me as a sudden inspiration while training teachers on creating essential understandings (questions) in the classroom.  As I was asking teachers to write an essential understanding that encompassed multiple grade levels along the same CCSS strand, I kept asking them, “What is the essence of this strand, and why do we need to learn it?”  The result of that exercise came to me in a flash when I asked myself, “Why do we study the main topics in mathematics?”   Math_poster