Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Mathematically Inspired

Today's post comes to us from Cheryl Henjum, a fabulous presenter who we've had the good luck to welcome her into the Creative Mathematics family!  If you haven't had a chance to see a workshop with this electrifying woman, check out her upcoming classes and locations here.  Cheryl's known for inspiring a rejuvenated mathematics teaching style, and I'm so happy to get to share her thoughts and some of her journey to Creative Math here.  Enjoy!

Mathematically Inspired
By: Cheryl Henjum

Have you ever hit a teaching wall? Felt that sense of blah, as you look at your lesson plan book? Well, I have! It made me feel like an inadequate teacher, who was more focused on state tests, district assessments and structure that seriously suffocated my creativity and knack for teaching. I needed some inspiration!!! I love creating lessons that are engaging, fun, interactive, challenging, celebratory, and inspiring for all levels of learners.

I quickly searched for classes that would help bring back the “creative” twist to my classroom. I found a workshop by Kim Sutton and I thought the name of her company suited exactly what I was looking for, “Creative Mathematics.” Bingo!!! Just what I needed!

During the workshop I was engaged with games and activities that could easily be adapted to ALL learners. We used dice to create equations, identify place values of numbers, T-charts helped us find unknown patterns and the music was super catchy and FUN! I was truly inspired! Well, that was over 10 years ago when I first saw Kim Sutton. Today, thanks to Kim, I am still inspired, driven and always awaiting her next new book with eagerness.

Kim has a way of bringing mathematics to life without threat. She uses music to grab the attention of the students, engages them with activities and games that are interactive and FUN…..AND she is practical! As an elementary administrator I am always looking for ways to increase mathematical competency in each and every classroom within my building. The activities and games that Kim has created are easily adaptable to every learning level within the classroom, tracking sheets allow teachers to grab the data they need to establish and sustain mathematical competency. I call many of her activities and games “organic.” I guess I came up with organic after really seeing each student creates their own path, pattern, equation, etc. Students are then inspired because they truly have a part in the learning process.

I have seen drastic improvements in the quality of mathematical lessons delivered in our classrooms. Students are excited and learning is active. I am now inspired and have a sense of creativity even in light of all the changes that are happening within our education system.

Don’t let your creative senses dry up…..instead visit Kim Sutton the next time she is in your area. You will feel inspired, motivated and energized to build mathematical competency within your classroom!


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