In The News: ‘My Favorite No: Learning From Mistakes’

This week’s ‘In The News’ blog post highlights a really unique way to learning, collaboration, and allowing students to understand that mistakes are something that happen. This teacher puts a different spin on mistakes and invites mistakes as part of her warm up. Check out this awesome video from Teaching Channel on ‘My Favorite No: Learning From Mistakes.’


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In The News: Appreciate Teachers by Understanding What They Do

As part of our weekly, ‘In The News’ blog posts, where we highlight an article that resonates with us. We provide this week’s article found on on titled “Appreciate Teachers by Understanding What They Do.” One of the quotes from the blog that stuck out to us was “The best way to thank a teacher is not to treat what they do as a good deed, but to treat it as a highly professional career path that they love to follow, and for which they work hard to be successful.”

Below is the article:

Just this week, I asked some of my non-educator Facebook friends to tell me what responses they get when they describe what they do for a living. Overall, the consensus fell into one of these categories:

  1. People don’t really understand what the job is and ask exactly what it entails.
  2. People already know what the job is and ask for advice or a favor, or start telling the person all about their experiences or opinion with that career or about their friend who is in the same field.


The Perception

When I tell people what I do, I rarely get asked for advice or a favor, and people never ask me what my job entails. However, I will get plenty of opinions or stories related to my career. Most of these involve stories of family members who are teachers and the crazy things they have to endure, strong opinions about what it must be like to be a teacher, or comments about some crazy news article they recently read.

Unlike many careers, teaching is well understood. Nearly everyone has attended school and has had experience interacting with teachers. In their minds, there is no question as to what teachers do because 15 (or however many) years ago, they were sitting in a classroom learning from a teacher. People also don’t seem to look to teachers as a source of advice, and rarely is teaching seen as a career where anyone has any clout to give a favor. This, to me, is an indication that, unlike many other careers (even non-prestigious ones), there is an assumption that teaching hasn’t changed in the last 15-20 years, and that teachers don’t hold enough expertise to be able to provide advice or fulfill a favor. In addition, many of the responses I get are framed around the idea that teaching is a career that is charitable, or that I’ve made some kind of sacrifice to do a good deed.

The next time you talk to a teacher, ask them why they got into teaching. Ask them about their favorite reading strategies, or a recent project their students worked on that they are really proud of. Ask them for advice for your own child’s education. Ask them for their opinion on the Common Core Standards, or for their favorite learning website or tool in the classroom. If they have some great suggestions, ask them a favor — ask them to send those resources to you by email, or write them down on the spot.


The Reality

Teaching is not what it was 15 years ago. Teachers are expected to track student data, integrate technology, map their teaching to standards and be familiar with the diverse ways in which their students learn, while also doing daily things like taking attendance, getting students to lunch on time, tying shoes, resolving conflict, grading homework, and all the while making sure that all of their students learn. They also work with families and with the community, creating partnerships and navigating the difficult world of interpersonal relationships. Teachers tend to be highly educated (usually at their own expense), with their certification often dependent on continuous learning. The teaching career at this point in time is as demanding and professional as some of the most prestigious careers.

The best way to appreciate a teacher is to appreciate the hard work that they do and their high level of expertise by allowing them to share the positive and professional aspects of their career. Too often, we focus on the negativity that surrounds the profession in the news, and conversation turns to working conditions, class size, union issues or other outside forces that teachers have little control over. The best way to thank a teacher is not to treat what they do as a good deed, but to treat it as a highly professional career path that they love to follow, and for which they work hard to be successful.

Pattonville Selects Middle School Math Program

PATTONVILLE SCHOOLS • A two-year process to select a new math program for Pattonville middle school students was completed Tuesday night as the School Board approved $114,000 for texts and instructional materials.

“Big Ideas Math” will help the district “stay true on standardized tests,” said Tim Pecoraro, an assistant superintendent. “It is philosophically aligned with the elementary program.”

The program’s curriculum aligns with the Common Core State Standards.

Pattonville began using “Everyday Math” in its elementary schools last year and will now start the process of selecting a math program for its high school.

See the full story: here

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Big Ideas Learning Conference Recap: NCTM 2014

We had a fabulous time exhibiting Big Ideas Math at the NCTM  2014 Annual Meeting in New Orleans last week. We would like to thank all of you that visited our booth, shared your stories and brightened our days with your Big Ideas Math experiences and love for the book and program that we work to provide you with. It was fantastic to hear such enthusiasm surrounding Big Ideas Math from amazing educators and professionals at the conference.

This year we debuted our new High School Series.

 We received an abundance of praise and excitement from current Big Ideas Math users, and excitement from those that were new to the program. A lot of attendees were eager to get copies so that they could start using them in their classroom.

In addition to our new books, we also show cased our Dynamic Technology which features STEM videos found in the High School Series and our Dynamic Assessment and Progress Monitoring Tool.

On Friday, April 11th Dr. Ron Larson had a book signing at National Geographic Learning and Cengage Learning’s booth where he gave away t-shirts, signed books, and posters. In addition to the book signing, Big Ideas authors Dr. Ron Larson and Dr. Laurie Boswell signed books at the Big Ideas Learning booth. Many that came were very appreciative of both authors commitments to education.

 For more pictures from NCTM, click here

We had a fantastic time at NCTM in New Orleans. We look forward to NCTM in Boston in 2015. How was your time at NCTM? Let us know in the comments!

Website Troubleshoot

Teachers, if your site looks this (image shown below), here are steps to take to fix the site based on your web browser:

Internet Explorer: 
1. Click “Tools” in the top menu
2. Click “Delete Browsing History”
3. Select “Cookies and website data”
4. Click Delete

1. Click the chrome menu on the browser toolbar
2. Select “Tools”
3. Select “Clear Browsing Data”
4. In the dialogue box select “Cookies and other site and plug-in data” (if it’s not selected already)
5. Click clear browsing data

1. At the top of the Firefox window, select Tools then “Options”
2. Select the Advanced panel
3. Click on the “Network” tab
4. In the Cached web Content section, click “Clear Now”
5. Click “Ok” to close the options window

1. Click “Edit”
2. Select “Reset Safari”
3. Click “Remove all website icons”

As always, the Big Ideas Learning technical support team is here to assist you if you need any additional guidance.You can contact technical support from 8:00am to 5:00pm EST Monday through Friday by calling (877) 552-7766.

You can also e-mail technical support 24 hours a day by visiting A member of our support team will reply within 24 hours.