I want to take the fear out of mathematics. "
CGI: Fractions & Decimals ,
Common Core ,
Hands on Equations ,
Taking the fear out of mathematics and learning by doing are goals I have for teachers and students alike. My passion for engaging, meaningful, hands-on math activities are a part of all my trainings because I still love watching "the light bulb” pop on for educators just like I did with students! I want to help change how our culture views math…from a generation that is A-OK with saying, "I HATE MATH!”, to one that values, loves, and wants MORE math!
Renee Smith (Curriculum Specialist) is an elementary and middle school mathematics specialist at ESSDACK where she facilitates courses around instructional pedagogy aligned to the Common Core Standards. She also assists districts in the areas of math coaching, and differentiated instruction. Renee facilitated two successful MSP grants in the last eight years, in which she observed and provided feedback to participating classroom teachers. Renee’ obtained her bachelors degree from Southwestern College and her Masters in Education from Baker University. She has 25 years in the field of education and has presented at the local, state, and national levels. Renee’ and her partner, Tammy Fellers have developed a line of products tied directly to the common core for use by elementary and middle school teachers during small group instruction time.
After obtaining her bachelors degree from Southwestern College, Reneé began teaching math in, of all places, a maximum security prison. "I was 21 years old, some of my students were convicted murderers and as scary as it sounds, it was incredibly sad. Many of those men had failed in the school system and then turned to crime.” That early experience with public school dropouts, cemented Reneé’s resolve to help future students understand and succeed in the area of mathematics. To that end she dedicated 16 years to the classroom, teaching 5th grade math through algebra.
After obtaining her Masters in Education from Baker University and serving her district in a variety of leadership capacities, Reneé joined the ESSDACK team in 2007. She has presented at the local, state, and national levels but her most worthwhile experience at ESSDACK has been helping teachers improve their own mathematical understanding. Trainings such as Cognitively Guided Instruction (CGI), Extending Children’s Mathematics: Fractions and Decimals, Developing and Assessing Number Sense, and Small Group Math Workstations are all aimed at helping teachers understand math conceptually and the pedagogy involved in taking the practice back to the classroom.
Although her primary focus has been providing professional learning for teachers in the area of mathematics, she also works in schools with coaches, teachers, and students. One of Renee’s latest projects has been developing a line of products for use during small group math workstations with her partner, Tammy Fellers.
Working at ESSDACK has provided Reneé the opportunity to do many of the things she loves. "I have the time to research current educational practices, I get to be creative, and I meet tons of new people. I have learned so much here and have thoroughly enjoyed collaborating with other specialists and teaching professionals.”