**Staff Development for Educators Conference, Las Vegas, Nevada, 2017**

For the first time, I attended the SDE conference July 11 and 12th at the Palazzo/Venetian Hotel in Las Vegas. I enjoyed it and found it valuable. I always can walk away from a conference/workshop/session with at least one new idea, but what I found this conference did for me was reaffirm and confirm I am/have been doing great things for student and teachers learning.

I attended one morning keynote speaker and 7 sessions within the 2 days. I am going to provide you the highlights of each session as well as a wrap up of what messages I found to overlap in all sessions.

**KEYNOTE SPEAKER: JO BOALER- MATHEMATICAL MINDSETS**

Jo Boaler’s key message is that ALL students can learn mathematics. Mathematical ability is NOT heredity, nor is there smart math students and weak math students. Their success is the outcome of the teacher’s messages of encouragement and empowerment as well as the teacher’s instructional methods and practice.

**SESSION 1: COMPUTATION: FROM CONCEPTUAL UNDERSTANDING TO PROCEDURAL UNDERSTANDING** by Jana Hazekamp

- Number sense is developed, it can’t be taught.
- Visual learning of number is a necessity. Students need to visualize the decomposition and recomposition of number, first numbers to 5, then 10, then 20 and so on.
- It is important to introduce math words before symbols.

**SESSION 2 AND 3: ALL ABOUT ADDITION AND ALL ABOUT SUBTRACTION** by Jana Hazekamp

Although these two topics were presented separately, it is crucial to connect subtraction to addition when decomposing and recomposing number. This connection will enhance basic fact fluency which impacts multi-digit addition and subtraction.

Horizontal adding from left to right forces place value which is the foundation to developing number sense.

Strategies for addition:

- Part part whole
- Friendlies
- Hundreds chart
- Compensation
- Open Number line
- Traditional algorithms

Subtraction in not just ‘take away’ and ‘minus’, it is about the ‘distance’ and ‘difference’ between numbers.

Strategies for subtraction:

- Part whole
- Place value (pull apart the value of each digit and/or two digits)
- Hundreds chart
- Open number line
- Compensation
- Traditional algorithm

**SESSION 4: TAKE THE NUMB OUT OF NUMBER SENSE (K-2)** by Eileen K. Ryan

There are 5 competencies of mathematics that create problem solvers

- Number sense
- Visualization
- Generalization
- Metacognition
- Communication

The key to developing number sense with our primary students is understanding number through the decomposing and composing of number.

**SESSION 5: DEVELOPING MATHEMATICAL THINKERS(K-2)** by Eliza Thomas

- Talk to your students, give them the opportunity to share their thinking.
- Pull out/see mathematics everywhere in our world.
- Vocabulary needs to be an instant piece of their repertoire because it develops mathematical thinking.
- Focusing on spatial awareness is also important in mathematics.

**SESSION 6: FILLING IN KNOWLEDGE GAPS (Gr. 3-5) **by Cassey Turner

- Students must develop number sense before being taught the algorithms.
- Decomposition and recomposition is crucial to all operations with all types of numbers.
- The Japanese believe division is the final step in teaching place value.
- Equivalent fraction knowledge is the foundation to all fraction learning.

**SESSION 7: EARLY ALGEBRAIC THINKING** by Kar Hwee Koh

Without an understanding of number-eg. patterns, relationships, place value, regrouping, add, subtract, count on, problem solving- students will not be able to do algebra later on in the middle school and high school years.

**WRAP UP/OVERLAP MESSAGES**

- Empower students
- Engage students
- Encourage communication by asking the how and the why– can use the words , convince me, prove it, how do you know?
- Number sense is a MUST to develop in order to enhance mathematical problem solving in our students
- Do not teach traditional algorithms until later elementary years (Gr. 4-6) when number sense is developed.
- Speed is not always better, nor does it mean the student is smarter.
- Productive struggle is crucial to students growth and learning. It pushes them to think further and harder.
- Number sense is the understanding of number and number relationships; and the ability to use number flexibly, creatively and efficiently.
- The equal symbol is about ‘balance’ NOT computation
- Contextualize number equations for all operations. This means have students tell stories connected to the equations.
- The unknown in equations has to be in every place holder, not just at the end for the answer. Eg. 5 + 5 = x , 14- x = 8, a x 8 = 40, x = 25 divided by 5

I wanted to share this and I am hoping this is helpful to your own teaching.

Please do not hesitate to ask questions. As I continue on my journey, I am always learning and growing. I am so excited in having the time this Fall to pursue my passion in helping students, teachers and parents. Together, we can make a difference and improve the mathematics learning for children of all ages and throughout the entire world.