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Differentiate Elementary Math Instruction to Increase Engagement and Flexibility: Build Your Toolbox

Wednesday, March 20, 2024 @ 2:00 pm - 3:00 pm EDT

Differentiate Elementary Math Instruction to Increase Engagement and Flexibility: Build Your Toolbox

Presented by Elijah Ortiz, Fifth-Grade Educator and Teacher Leader, Concourse Village Elementary School (NY); Emily Semrad, Elementary Educator, Academy Adventures Midtown Charter School (AZ); Emma Simmons, Principal, Roxbury Prep Charter School (MA); and Alexa Poulin, Customer Marketing Manager, Unruly Studios

Sponsored by Unruly Studios

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Math anxiety and negative associations with math are common among elementary students and can develop as early as kindergarten. This can lead to avoidance and low achievement in math. However, increasing student engagement through varied instructional tactics can help students build confidence and resiliency in math. To be flexible problem solvers, students need strong number sense and a toolbox of strategies to choose from, and educators need the math foundation and support to do this in their classrooms.

In this edLeader Panel, current principal and former elementary educator Emma Simmons and elementary educators Emily Semrad and Elijah Ortiz share:

  • Current challenges faced in math education, including data insights from principals across the United States
  • How administrators can shape teachers’ instruction to cultivate flexible problem solvers
  • Math classroom strategies that help students stay engaged in their learning and in turn, build more positive associations with math

The goal of this session is for viewers to leave with strategies they can implement into their teaching practice to increase engagement and differentiate instruction. Emma, Elijah, and Emily have worked with a variety of grade levels and student populations, providing them all with a robust toolbox of math strategies.

This recorded edLeader Panel is of interest to elementary teachers, school and district leaders, education technology leaders, and math curriculum coordinators and directors.

Elijah Ortiz

About the Presenters

Elijah Ortiz has been an elementary educator for 10 years, six of which have focused on math instruction. He has taught departmentalized math in grades three, four, and five working with diverse learners, including students with special needs. Elijah loves teaching math because there are multiple strategies to get to the same answers, which really benefits students of different learning styles and abilities. He loves the idea of gamifying math and making it fun for students to help develop positive associations with math. Elijah currently teaches fifth-grade math at Concourse Village Elementary School in the Bronx, New York. He has been at this school for eight years teaching across multiple grade levels, serving as a coach and mentor to his colleagues, and delivering professional development sessions alongside the assistant principal centered on math instruction. He has a bachelor’s in elementary education and a master’s in special education.

Emily Semrad

Emily Semrad has been an educator for three years at a small charter school, Academy Adventures Midtown. She was introduced to Unruly Splats her first year there and the students she’s taught have participated in the competitions and have had a blast! She has a passion for mathematics and working with kids and is excited to see what other opportunities arise for her in her future.

Emma Simmons

Emma Simmons is the Principal of Roxbury Prep Lucy Stone, a middle school in Boston, MA, which is a part of the Uncommon Schools network. She started her teaching journey with Uncommon at North Star Academy in Newark, NJ as a second-grade teacher while also receiving her master’s in elementary education. Eventually, she moved to Boston where she specialized in math curriculum and taught fifth-grade math for two years. In making this shift, she recognized her passion for curriculum development and instructional leadership. Emma then transitioned into the role of Dean of Curriculum and Instruction with a focus on math curriculum and coaching STEM teachers. Eager to continue to learn more and increase her impact, she pursued a principal fellowship which ultimately led to her current position which is where she has been since 2021.

Alexa Poulin

Alexa Poulin is a Senior School Success Manager and the Customer Marketing Manager at Unruly Studios. She is a certified elementary education teacher with a certification in general special education. Alexa provides professional development to educators around cross-curricular computer science integration for various subjects from math, ELA, physical education, science, and more. She is passionate about providing differentiated learning experiences for students and supporting teachers with the implementation of education technology into the existing structures of their classrooms. Prior to joining Unruly Studios, she worked as an Academic Advisor for adult learners in STEM programs at Southern New Hampshire University. Alexa received a Bachelor of Arts in elementary and special education from Southern New Hampshire University and a Master of Science in coaching science in sport from University College Dublin.

Learn more about viewing the live presentation and the recording, earning your CE certificate, and using our new accessibility features.

Join the Building Understanding in Mathematics community to network with educators, participate in online discussions, receive invitations to upcoming edWebinars, and view recordings of previous programs to earn CE certificates.

Unruly Studios

Unruly Studios combines high-quality STEM learning with active recess-style play for K-8 schools and districts. Our award-winning Unruly Splats platform introduces students to computer science through the creation of physically active games in our block-based coding app. Unruly Math is a supplemental K-5 math program that reinforces foundational math skills through active, experiential group play using the Unruly Splats platform. Unruly Math infuses kinesthetic learning and peer-to-peer collaboration into your school’s existing math curriculum with a scope and sequence of 80 standards-aligned activities. The Unruly Splats platform can be utilized for various subject areas from STEAM, to math, to ELA, making it the perfect tool to create engaging summer programs for students and teachers. Splats are made to be stomped on and are iPad and Chromebook compatible.

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