Build Math Minds

The Podcast

The Build Math Minds podcast is for my fellow Recovering Traditionalists out there.

If you don’t know whether or not you are a Recovering Traditionalist, here’s how I define us. We are math educators who used to teach math the traditional way. Flip lesson by lesson in the textbook, directly teaching step-by-step how to solve math problems. But now, we are working to change that to a style of teaching math that is fun and meets our students where they are at, not just teaching what comes next in the textbook. We want to encourage our students to be thinkers, problem solvers, and lovers of mathematics…we are wanting to build our students math minds and not just create calculators. If that is you, then this podcast is for you.

Listen To The Latest Episodes

Episode 46: Get Going Using Math Manipulatives with Lori Linsmeyer

Welcome fellow Recovering Traditionalists to Episode 46. Today we are getting Information & Inspiration from Lori Linsmeyer who encourages us to Get Going Using Math Manipulatives.

Lori was an elementary teacher for 29 years and now does math intervention with a focus of kindergarten through grade 3. In this episode, Lori gives lots of inspiration and information including her thoughts on:

-How We Learned Math Impacts How We Teach Math
-Opening up Math Time Builds Connections
-Using Math Manipulatives

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Episode 45: 13 Rules That Expire

Welcome fellow Recovering Traditionalists to Episode 45. Today we are looking at 13 Rules That Expire.

I’ve been guilty of telling my students tips or rules that I thought were helping them get to an answer quicker, because in the past I used to think my job was to help my students get answers. Now, I see my job of a teacher as helping students make sense and many of those tips had no “sense” behind them. They really were just rules to help my students get an answer.

The article I want to share with you today was published almost 6 years ago but so many of the things mentioned in this article are still being used. I can honestly say I probably would still be doing many of them if I hadn’t read this article – but once we know better, we do better.

13 Rules That Expire by Karen S. Karp, Sarah B. Bush, and Barbara J. Dougherty forever changed my teaching. Not only do they share the 13 rules but there is also a section about expired math language that we use and they give alternatives to use instead. This article is seriously a MUST READ. To give you a glimpse into the article I’d like to share with you just one of the rules today. Get all the info here:

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Episode 44: Making Sense is First and Computation is Second

Welcome fellow Recovering Traditionalists to Episode 44. Today we are looking at why Making Sense is First and Computation is Second.

I’ve always been bugged by the way textbooks use word problems, but I wasn’t ever able to verbalize what I didn’t like. Then as I was reading the new book Mathematize It! Going Beyond Key Words to Make Sense of Word Problems: Grades 3-5 by Sara Delano Moore, Kimberly Morrow-Leong, and Linda M. Gojak, they put into words what I never was able to.

There is also a book for Grades K-2 for those of you who work with the younger grades.

These books are full of information about the different word problem types, but also about the best way to implement the use of word problems in your classroom. In the last chapter of the book, they describe 8 shifts in instruction that we need to do if we want to build students’ problem-solving skills. One of those is exactly the reason why I don’t like the way textbooks use word problems and so I’d like to share that with you today. Get all the info here:

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Episode 43: Open Middle Math

Welcome fellow Recovering Traditionalists to Episode 43. Today we are taking a look at Open Middle Math.

This week’s book is from a friend of mine, Robert Kaplinsky. I’ve known Robert for years but I’m not sharing this book just because he is a friend. I only share things that I love and I love Open Middle.

While I’ve known Robert for years and I’ve known about and used Open Middle, I’ve never known the backstory of how they started. So to introduce you to Open Middle problems I thought I’d read a section from Robert’s book, Open Middle Math, that gives the background of Open Middle problems.

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Episode 42: Making the Case for Play in the Classroom

Welcome fellow Recovering Traditionalists to Episode 42. Today we are Making the Case for Play in the Classroom.

As I’m recording this it’s the holiday season and it’s the time of year when teachers break out all kinds of fun activities and just let the kids play. I mean, how else are you going to survive that last week before break, right!?!?

So with all this play happening, I pulled out the book Exploring Mathematics Through Play in the Early Childhood Classroom by Amy Noelle Parks.

Now, even though this book is full of ideas for the early childhood classroom she makes some great points that apply no matter what grade level you work with.
Get all the info here:

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Episode 41: Help Students Learn to Love Math with Kelly Sickle

Welcome fellow Recovering Traditionalists to Episode 41 today we are going to learn how to Help Students Learn to Love Math from BMM member and 1st grade teacher Kelly Sickle.

Kelly is a member of the Build Math Minds PD site and a 1st grade teacher. As you will see in this episode the trainings she has gotten inside of BMM are just a small part of the professional development she has done. Kelly mentions a video about the C-R-A model, I’ll link to that video inside the membership site but I’ll also link to a free video that’s on my vlog. You can find those links at and if you are interested in becoming a member of Build Math Minds, I’ll post a link to the waitlist page. We only open up registration once a year to the general public but occasionally we will open it up to people who are on the waitlist.

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Past Episodes