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Every Math Learner, Grades 6-12

Every Math Learner, Grades 6-12
A Doable Approach to Teaching With Learning Differences in Mind

  • Nanci N. Smith - Effective Classrooms Educational Consulting, LLC (President & CEO)

Foreword by Carol Ann Tomlinson

July 2017 | 352 pages | Corwin

As a secondary mathematics teacher, you know that students are different and learn differently. And yet, when students enter your classroom, you somehow must teach these unique individuals deep mathematics content using rigorous standards. The curriculum is vast and the stakes are high. Is differentiation really the answer?  How can you make it work?

Nationally recognized math differentiation expert Nanci Smith debunks the myths, revealing what differentiation is and isn’t. In this engaging book Smith reveals a practical approach to teaching for real learning differences. You’ll gain insights into an achievable, daily differentiation process for ALL students.

Theory-lite and practice-heavy, this book shows how to maintain order and sanity while helping your students know, understand, and even enjoy doing mathematics. Classroom videos, teacher vignettes, ready-to-go lesson ideas and rich mathematics examples help you build a manageable framework of engaging, sense-making math. 

Busy secondary mathematics teachers, coaches, and teacher teams will learn to

  • Provide practical structures for assessing how each of your students learns and processes mathematics concepts
  • Design, implement, manage, and formatively assess and respond to learning in a differentiated classroom
  • Plan specific, standards-aligned differentiated lessons, activities, and assessments
  • Adjust current instructional materials and program resources to better meet students' needs

This book includes classroom videos, in-depth student work samples, student surveys, templates, before-and-after lesson demonstrations, examples of 5-day sequenced lessons, and a robust companion website with downloadables of all the tools in the books plus other resources for further planning. Every Math Learner, Grades 6-12 will help you know and understand your students as learners for daily differentiation that accelerates their mathematics comprehension.

“This book is an excellent resource for teachers and administrators alike. It clearly explains key tenants of effective differentiation and through an interactive approach offers numerous practical examples of secondary mathematics differentiation. This book is a must read for any educator looking to reach all students.”
—Brad Weinhold, Ed.D., Assistant Principal, Overland High School
Video Contents
Foreword by Carol Ann Tomlinson
About the Author
CHAPTER 1. START UP: Why Knowing and Addressing Students’ Learning Differences Is Critical

What Differentiation Is and Is Not

A Glance at a Differentiated Classroom


Frequently Asked Questions

Keepsakes and Plans

CHAPTER 2. FIND OUT: Strategies for Determining Who Each of Your Students Is as a Mathematics Learner
Who Our Learners Are

Strategies to Determine Readiness

Strategies to Determine Interest

Strategies to Determine Learning Profile


Frequently Asked Questions

Keepsakes and Plans

CHAPTER 3. TEACH UP: Making Sense of Rigorous Mathematical Content
Mathematics Makes Sense

Themes and Big Ideas in Mathematics

Teaching Up

What Learning Mathematics With Understanding Looks Like


Frequently Asked Questions

Keepsakes and Plans

CHAPTER 4. STEP UP: How to Make Proactive Planning Decisions That Deepen Thinking
Decisions, Decisions

Differentiation and KUDs

Strategies for Differentiation

Classroom Structures


Frequently Asked Questions

Keepsakes and Plans

CHAPTER 5. SET IT UP: Establishing the Right Tone to Make Differentiation Doable
A Healthy Learning Environment

Embracing Fair

Everybody Learns


Frequently Asked Questions

Keepsakes and Plans

CHAPTER 6. POWER ON: Mastering and Modeling Daily Routines for Achievement All Year
Classroom Routines


Frequently Asked Questions

Keepsakes and Plans

CHAPTER 7. STEP BACK: Tools for Assessing and Evaluating in a Differentiated Classroom
Assessment For, Of, and As Learning

Principles to Develop Assessments

Designing Effective Assessments


Frequently Asked Questions

Keepsakes and Plans

CHAPTER 8. CLOSE UP: A Week in the Life of a Differentiated Mathematics Classroom
A Look Into a Week in a Middle School Classroom

A Look Into a Week in a High School Classroom

Advice From the Field


Appendix A: Further Reading on the Topic of English Language Learners
Appendix B: Further Reading on the Topic of Special Education
Appendix C: Further Reading on the Topic of Rich Problems and Mathematical Discourse

“I will admit, when I first began reading, I was thinking ‘here we go again, another book on differentiation.’ As I read, my feelings quickly changed. I believe this book provides different information than previous books I’ve read on the subject. It is very easy to read, and most teachers could make substantive changes in their instruction immediately. This may be the quickest way to improve math learning and understanding I’ve seen. I am anxious to incorporate the strategies in this book in my planning for all students to enhance their ability to know, understand, and do math while loving it!”

Marcia Carlson, Classroom Teacher
Crestview School of Inquiry

“While we know that the importance of differentiation is the key to student engagement and success, implementing key differentiation practices remains elusive to us as we balance competing curriculum, student, and administrative demands. Smith’s book seamlessly unpacks what differentiation is and is not and provides explicit and, dare I say, beautiful examples of what this can look like in the classroom. You will be hooked from the first page and be inspired and empowered to transform your classroom, your teaching, and your students’ mathematical learning experiences through and with this practical, realistic, and meaningful differentiation system.”

Beth Kobett, EdD, Assistant Professor
Stevenson University

“I believe Dr. Nanci Smith’s Every Math Learner: A Doable Approach to Teaching With Learning Differences in Mind is arguably the best book now available for math teachers. In my conversations with math teachers and observations of classrooms, there is generally good-to-great expertise in math content knowledge. Problems occur, however, when there is lock-step reliance (perhaps with minor variations) on the math textbook or when there are beliefs and practices that all students predominately learn in the same way. Dr. Smith—a master teacher and trainer—flips the paradigm from teaching to learning. I’ve personally seen Dr. Smith’s work with teachers and know that she creates tremendous excitement within the teaching profession for practically and substantively moving from teacher-centered classrooms to learning centered classrooms that support the needs and interests of ALL students.”

Mark Boyer, Retired Assistant Superintendent for Learning
Singapore American School

“For years I have searched for a book that had practical tips and ideas of how to differentiate instruction for secondary mathematics. That book has FINALLY arrived! While reading the book, I felt like I was having a conversation with someone who understands students and what helps them make sense of their learning in the mathematics classroom. This book provides teachers with ‘common sense’ ideas and activities to help engage students in their own learning.”

Cathy Battles, Consultant
University of Missouri, Kansas City and Regional Professional Development Center

Every Math Learner is a powerful tool for educators serious about meeting the needs of all learners in their mathematics classrooms. Nanci Smith balances philosophy with practicality while providing a glimpse into real classrooms with real students. Teachers will ultimately learn how to lift students up to their greatest potential in learning.”

Eileen Hogan, District Mathematics Facilitator
Winnetka District #36

Every Math Learner continuously invites the reader to interact with the content through the Watch It, Try It, and Consider It processes. The immediate application of the book’s content, the mathematics examples, and the videos of real secondary classrooms are helpful for all educators who want to learn more about their students, differentiate instruction, and plan and implement units or lessons that deepen students’ mathematical interest, understanding, and learning.”

Nora G. Ramirez, President
Arizona Association of Teachers of Mathematics

“As a New York State public school administrator, I have observed Nanci Smith work with middle and high school teachers across disciplines. She
is engaging and interactive! Her ability to respond spontaneously to questions in all disciplines is remarkable. So excited to see this book coming out!”

Ellen Shields, Retired Curriculum Director
North Shore Public Schools

“This book is an excellent resource for teachers and administrators alike. It clearly explains key tenets of effective differentiation and through an
interactive approach offers numerous practical examples of secondary mathematics differentiation. This book is a must read for any educator looking
to reach all students.”

Brad Weinhold, EdD, Assistant Principal
Overland High School

“As a Professor of Mathematics highly involved in K–12 education, I look for two major things in teaching resources. There must be solid, rigorous
mathematics and there must be attention paid to varying the delivery system to allow learners to access the mathematics in appropriate ways. Nanci Smith has done both things admirably in this valuable and unique addition to our teaching resources.”

Billie Earl Sparks, PhD, Professor of Mathematics, Emeritus
University of Wisconsin–Eau Claire

“Dr. Smith provides a clear and well-structured solution to truly making math ‘doable’ for all students. As our society continues to move toward a more technology-based economy, the importance of math concepts becomes more essential for all our students. Dr. Smith provides clear, understandable solutions for educators to reach all students to ensure they meet the demands of 21st century.”

James Scott, Director
Educational Services Nadaburg School District

Sample Materials & Chapters

Chapter 3: Teach Up

Chapter 1: Start Up

For instructors

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ISBN: 9781506340746

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