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Why Common Sense Math?
Common Sense Math was created out of 
"teacher need" and "parent need"

     Being an educator, wife & mother for 32 years, I saw both sides of education.  My husband and I, as parents, knew how important commonsense, everyday math skills were to our children.
    And, as a teacher, I knew the need for basic skills and foundations was vital for their educational journey, as well as, in real life situations. 
 I couldn't find an effective tool to develop number sense and mental math skills. So, I created one.

"I couldn't find
 an effective tool
 to develop
 number sense
and mental math skills.

So, I created it!!"

A Powerful Effect on Students
As I developed and used Common Sense Math in my classes, some interesting things started happening: 

  • State Assessment scores improved
  • Students were engaged! (some even admitted they enjoyed Math again!!)
  • They were relating math to real-life
  • Students had a reason to learn.
  • Confidence was growing within students because it "made sense"
  • Students were "catching up" 
  • I easily integrated research based strategies in every lesson


The Trunk of the Tree
Number Sense is the trunk of the tree that all the other areas - Algebra, Measurement, Geometry, and Data - are built upon. How was I going to prepare students for next grade if they had gaps in the basics?  I needed something that would:

  • develop number sense & mental math skills.
  • create a sense of ugency, eliminating crutches.
  • easily fit into my classroom schedule and curriculum.
  • develop State Math Standards and help with Assessments.
  • review prior skills and then build upon them in the current lesson.
  • NOT take away from valuable classroom time.
  • answer parents when they asked, "What can Ido at home to help?" 



Working with Struggling Students
I found two consistent factors with students who had failed the previous school year:

  • They struggled in all subjects because they didn't have "math literacy or comprehension".
  • They were failing math simply because they didn't know basic facts, vocabulary, and mental concepts for their level.  

They did not have the math foundations to build upon, and I didn't have an effective tool to "catch them up".  So I created one!

  Calculator or No Calculator? That's the real question.
Calculator use will always start a debate with teachers and with parents. Are kids really ready to move on if they are relying on a calculator? 
  • When are they beneficial?
  • When do they stiffle a student? 
  • When do they hurt instead of help?
  • When do the help instead of hurt? 

I've always felt that in order to use a calculator effectively, you have to know if your answers make sense. That's number sense! The calculator shouldn't always be the first and only choice, but a part of the problem-solving process.  Estimation skills are a must when using a calculator!

The Math Toolbelt
Students must develop all the tools in their "Math Toolbelt"  
(read NCTM article).

They need to know the appropriate time to use each.  Problem-solving uses combinations of all three.  Relying on just one of these tools, will frustrate and hold students back, not only in school, but in life.

  Math "Work Ethic"
Common Sense Math Workouts are unique because they promote both mental math skills and paper & pencils skills. 
  • see the problem
  • apply mental strategies
  • write it down
  • work in steps, if neededf

All done with a sense of urgency to develop automatic recall skills and number sense.  This is what they do when they solve multi-step problems.   

Educational Background
Connects Math Across the Curriculum
My wide variety of experiences has been put into Common Sense Math tools and Workshops, making it easy to connect other subjects and real-life to Math.
  • Middle School Math
  • Managed "remedial" classroom for failed Middle School students
  • 5th & 7th Grades - All Subjects
    (Math, Reading, Writing, Social Studies, Language Arts, Science, Yearbook) 
  • K-12 Art  
  • Training on Classroom Technology
    (Many Brands of Interactive White Boards, Tablets & "Clickers")
  • State Scorer, Kansas State Writing Assessments
  • Taught college courses on American History, Geography, Ethics and Pre-Algebra
  • Hundreds of hours with workshops, trainings & inservices
  • Presented workshops & inservices on a variety subjects

Wal-Mart doesn't give worksheets!
Help students develop tools they will use

     It's the MATH CURSE - you have to apply number sense, estimation and mental math skills all day, every day, everywhere, in everything.

In summary, most everyday, real-life situations are based on mental math skills, estimation, drawing conclusions and making sense of things.  
     You don't get a worksheet to do as you walk into Wal-Mart. You have to rely on number sense, mental math & estimation.
     Common Sense Math is based on this idea, and IT WORKS



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