# Category: Meaningful Math

Michelle Russell’s blog

## Low Prep Math Activities to Start the Year Right!

Michelle Russell knows the back-to-school rush. So this year she’s found first weeks activities that are low on preparation and high on introducing math, sharing fun, setting the tone for the year, and helping students feel comfortable. Best of all: she shares her favorite finds!

## Tips for Finishing the School Year Mindfully

A week into summer break, teacher Michelle Russell looks back at how she adjusted the last weeks of class to lower her stress and make sure she would face less stress in the fall. Included: imposing order on packing away supplies and making time to check in with kids.

## My Students Struggle to Solve Basic Equations

To learn why her 11th graders have so much trouble with simple equations, Michelle Russell sat with each one as they attempted to solve two middle school-level problems. Read about the insights she gained and the strategies she’s considering to help them master the basics.

## 3 Activities I’ve Used to Engage Math Students

Students are more engaged when they’re talking and moving around, says math teacher Michelle Russell. “I won’t lie – it’s hard. But I believe a louder class that’s somewhat engaged in the concept is better than a quiet one.” She rates three engagement strategies she’s tried.

## Starting the Year by Calming Math Qualms

Michelle Russell starts the year with math activities that refresh skills and show students that her class will be welcoming to those with math anxiety. Multiplication refreshers, coloring books, Polaroids and shooting hoops help develop a supportive community.

## Two Fun Stats Activities for Middle School Math

Math teacher Michelle Russell remembers her own anxiety each year when the time came to teach statistics to middle schoolers. She shares two fun activities she’s discovered that address 6th and 8th grade standards: cup stacking and the candy grab! Student handouts included.

## Helping Kids Find Their Way in Word Problems

After trying without success to teach students how to decode word problems, Michelle Russell turned to research. A math journal article pointed to an ELA strategy: visualizing, retelling, making connections, and asking questions. Learn about her promising first experiment.

## The Teaching Practices That Work Best for Me

After 16 years teaching math, Michelle Russell has the confidence to make her own decisions about day-to-day best practices. “I’m the teacher in my classroom, I know my classes and my teaching style, and I’m the one in the position to decide what is best for my students.”

## Gearing Up to Get Math Students Onboard

Math teacher Michelle Russell is busy implementing her summer plans for the first days of school, matching activities to 5 goals she wants to accomplish – build community, puts kids at ease, introduce procedures, do a little math, and have fun. Discover what’s worked so far!

## Survive (and Enjoy) the End of the School Year

Covid or not, ending school is always hard. To quell the stress and fatigue felt by her math students and herself, Michelle Russell is taking more time for quick fun activities. Students have enjoyed documenting the year, preparing tips for next year’s students, and playing math games.