All posts by mmradmin

From the Desk of David Berg, E.T. – Special Summer Edition

“Uncertain Times”
Algebra 1 Pop-Up Discounts

These are still extremely uncertain times. Since the onset of the COVID 19 Pandemic in 2020, Making Math Real, in the effort to keep providing our series of courses, has shifted from in-person classes to a distance learning format via Zoom; and now, in May 2022, we still have no stable understanding of the ongoing impact of the pandemic, as recently there has been a significant increase in new cases of COVID.

ALGEBRA 1 IS THE ESSENTIAL FOUNDATIONAL DEVELOPMENT FOR HIGH SCHOOL MATH

Despite the uncertainty of the times, it is always part of the vision and mission of the Making Math Real Institute to continue to maximize a positive impact on the delivery of math education, and in that spirit, we want to maximize the positive impact of the upcoming Making Math Real: Algebra 1 course starting on June 30 – August 5. Algebra 1 is the essential foundational development for high school math, especially for algebra 2, pre-calculus, and calculus. Just as Making Math Real: The 4 Operations & 400 Math Facts is the essential foundational course for elementary grades mathematics, so too, is algebra 1 equivalent in its foundational importance to the development of higher mathematics.

THE ALGEBRA 1 CLASS WILL NOT BE OFFERED AGAIN FOR YEARS TO COME

Therefore, we want to encourage all of you who are ready for the Making Math Real: Algebra 1 class, (meet all prerequisites – for a list of Algebra 1 prerequisites, click here) first-timers or repeaters, to benefit from this last chance for the Algebra 1 course that will not be available again for years to come.

TWO POP-UP DISCOUNTS FOR ALGEBRA 1 THIS SUMMER

10% Off
for First Timers

Unlimited 50% Off
Repeat Discounts

In maximizing our effort to encourage all of you to benefit from the upcoming Algebra 1 class this June, we are offering two special “Uncertain Times Pop-Up Discounts”. The first discount is for MMR participants who are enrolling in Algebra 1 for the first time: 10% Off discount from now until June 1st; and the second discount is for MMR Participants wishing to repeat the Algebra 1 class: unlimited 50% Off Repeat discounts!

This will be the last offering of Algebra 1 for years to come — Don’t miss out!

We hope the offer of these two “Uncertain Times Pop-Up Discounts” encourages you to benefit now rather than having to wait for years before the next Making Math Real: Algebra 1 course will be offered again.

Be well and stay healthy.

David Berg, E.T.
Founder & Director of the Making Math Real Institute
Creator of the Making Math Real Simultaneous Multisensory Structured Methods

Looking Forward to the Next 25 Years – Part 7

Part 7:
NEW 9 Lines In-Service
The 9 Lines: The Most Renown of the MMR Strategies

The 9 Lines Multiplication Fact Acquisition and Application Strategy is the most internationally renown of all the Making Math Real Simultaneous Multisensory Structured Methodologies K-12. It is extremely effective, powerful and develops the automatic retrieval and immediate application of the 100 multiplication and the 100 division facts. Automatic retrieval of the multiplication and division facts significantly reduces cognitive load within all problem solving related to multiplication and division involving whole numbers, fractions, decimals, polynomials, rationals, exponents, logarithms, etc. Therefore, once the 9 Lines Multiplication Fact Acquisition and Application Strategy has been introduced to students, it provides the necessary fact finding basis within the vast majority of problem solving content areas in mathematics from the time of its introduction (typically in early third grade) through calculus and beyond.

Delivering the 9 Lines Appears Deceptively Simple

As with all the Making Math Real Simultaneous Multisensory Structured Methodologies K-12 I have created, the 9 Lines has been engineered to provide maximum cognitive efficiency and power while requiring minimum cognitive load. This means all the multifaceted detail layers of structure embedded within its instruction are extremely specific and distilled; that any omissions, substitutions, changes in sequence, or other errors of commission will mitigate its power. However, from an uninformed perspective, the 9 Lines looks so simple, which is why so many, having witnessed its power and without proper instruction, delude themselves into believing, “I get it – I can do that.

Over the past 26 years I have spent countless hours (and funds) getting spurious versions of the 9 Lines in videos, instructional articles, games, materials, etc., removed. In every case these spurious versions of the 9 Lines were completely off-base, eliminating all the specifically engineered promptings, language, sequences, assessments, pacing, guided cognition, and engagement that activate symbol imaging the files of a multiplication table.

More Supervised Practice Is Needed

However, the aforementioned spurious versions are not the only versions of incorrect applications of the 9 Lines I have observed. There have been numerous and varying circumstances that have presented me with the opportunity to see how MMR practitioners who have completed the Making Math Real: The 9 Lines Intensive (even multiple times) are also committing significant errors in their deliveries to students. The error rate is exceedingly high, for which I take some responsibility because when the error rate is so high, even for participants who I know are serious and are trying to deliver the 9 Lines as best they can, it indicates that every 9 Lines course participant needs and deserves extra support beyond what a class can provide; and without this prescriptive support from me, I believe this problem is being exacerbated by MMR practitioners networking with one another as a way to seek support and recommendations on how to deliver the 9 Lines rather than checking in with me.

Prior to the COVID-19 Pandemic when all the 9 Lines classes were in-person, significant practice time within each 9 Lines course was required for all course participants, so I could address participants’ major errors both individually and collectively during the classes. However, even with my ability to correct errors during the course, all students need and deserve additional supervision to ensure they are delivering the 9 Lines correctly. But now with the distance learning version of the Making Math Real: The 9 Lines Intensive course, I no longer can include any class practice as was required in the in-person courses. This has created a serious concern. I need to find a way to provide direct support for all 9 Lines practitioners, whether 9 Lines course participants or MMR practitioners of recent or long-term practice.

NEW Clinical Support Service: The 9 Lines In-Service

As a new inclusion in Making Math Real’s services for clinical development, and as an adjunct option separate from the Making Math Real: The 9 Lines Intensive course, I am introducing a new clinical service, “The 9 Lines In-Service” available exclusively to MMR practitioners who have completed The 9 Lines Intensive course. The creation of this new clinical service is in direct response to requests from course participants during 9 Lines classes who have asked if they could send me a video of them doing a 9 Lines with a student(s) and get my feedback. This is a great idea, but there are numerous reasons why this request is untenable during a 9 Lines course, which include:

  • The time required for me to review each video followed by my detailed feedback would be minimally two hours per participant
  • There is no available time during a 9 Lines class for this feedback
  • The nature of the individually prescriptive feedback is highly confidential and requires private and confidential sessions
  • There may be indications of extra time needed to address corrections, which may also include new videos sent to me to verify correct 9 Lines delivery and/or provide further corrections/adjustments

Send Me a Video Recording of You Teaching the 9 Lines

To get started with the 9 Lines In-Service, I need to observe you teaching an authentic 9 Lines to to a student in a one-to-one setting or to a group of students in a classroom setting. It is required that the student(s) is actually imaging a new table and is not a volunteer who is pretending to image a table so you have the opportunity to practice delivering the 9 Lines. Authentic imaging is imperative because it is necessary to observe the student’s affective and cognitive behaviors that would indicate your delivery of the 9 Lines is having the specific and intended developmental impact of activating symbol imaging. Therefore, you will need to record your representative sample of teaching the 9 Lines on one of the following: Zoom, phone, iPad, computer, video camera, etc. Your recording must show everything the student does including the student’s face while responding to your prompts and everything the student writes during phases 2, 3, and 4. The recording also needs to include you so I can observe your prompts, gestures, pointing, tapping, etc. Therefore, the camera can be placed between your student and yourself in such a way as observing a tennis match at midcourt, including as full a view of both teacher and student(s) as possible.

Please understand that the recordings should not be edited in any way. Each video recording needs to show an authentic imaging experience from start to finish without any interruptions whatsoever. The video recordings are for clinical purposes only and are not about production values or professionally made videos. Please also understand that if the video recordings are not complete or do not appear to be authentic, real time documentations of your 9 Lines delivery, I will request a new video recording before we can continue forward with the 9 Lines In-Service.
The 9 Lines imaging recording must include all aspects of the four phases and four assessment points within the 9 Lines including generating a new table at the very beginning through phase 4 application practice. After I review your video recording, I will schedule a Zoom session with you in which we will watch your video recording together, stopping it as needed for me to provide you with comments and/or corrections and allowing you the time to take notes.

Typical 9 Lines recordings are around 25 minutes, and as video files of this duration are too large to email. A good way to share video recordings without embedding them in the email is to use Google Drive and send me the link for the Google Drive file to [email protected]. Another way to record and send your 9 Lines recording is to record it on Zoom (for 9 Lines sessions delivered via Zoom and recorded in gallery mode) and send me the link to your Zoom recording including its password to [email protected]. Please contact us at [email protected] if you need additional support for making your video recording.

The 9 Lines In-Service is exclusively for those who have successfully completed the Making Math Real: The 9 Lines Intensive at any time, either recently or long ago. For those of you who wish to benefit from this new clinical service:

  • To get the 9 Lines In-Service started and scheduled, pre-payment for two hours of my time, (the minimum time needed) will be required. This covers one hour for me to review the video recording and one more hour for me to meet with each participant via Zoom to discuss my feedback.
  • Send a link to your video file (and password, if needed) to [email protected] of you doing a 9 Lines imaging through Phase 4 (application practice) with a student who is authentically imaging a new table, not a volunteer subject who already knows the table. If after reviewing the video, I believe more than one hour of intervention time is indicated, I will inform the participant of my estimate for the amount of additional time needed, and pre-payment for the additional time will be required prior to scheduling the intervention session(s) indicated. All videos will be held in the strictest confidentiality and will never be shown outside of the prescriptive relationship of the 9 Lines In-Service, unless the participants (student and teacher) wish to make the video public or agree in writing that permission to show the video has been granted. In addition, MMR will not keep or store any video recordings. Once the 9 Lines In-Service has been completed, all links and/or copies of each video recording will be deleted immediately. All video submissions that do not include a complete 9 Lines imaging, Phases 1-4, will not be acceptable, and I will request a new and comprehensive version. All extra time needed for viewing extra versions of video recordings will be charged at the hourly rate.
  • On a case-by-case basis, I may determine that a second video demonstrating a corrected version of delivering the 9 Lines is needed to verify that appropriate corrections/adjustments have been made.

I understand that the prospect of being observed and possibly receiving feedback about errors in one’s earnest attempts to do the best one can, might make one feel vulnerable and intimidated. Please understand that the entire focus for the 9 Lines In-Service is to help support your work as a clinical professional, and is never intended to be any form of qualitative reflection on the ability, character, effort, personality, commitment, dedication or integrity of the practitioner. It is my sincerest intent and hope that all of you would feel safe within this coaching relationship and could benefit from my direct feedback and input.
As an investment in your own future as a clinical practitioner, I hope all 9 Lines practitioners may take advantage of this coaching opportunity to fine tune their ability to deliver the 9 Lines Multiplication Fact Acquisition and Application Strategy correctly.

Be well and stay healthy.

David Berg, E.T.
Founder & Director of the Making Math Real Institute
Creator of the Making Math Real Simultaneous Multisensory Structured Methods

25th Anniversary Special: WARNING! How to Find a Reputable MMR Practitioner

25th Anniversary Special: WARNING!
How to Find a Reputable MMR Practitioner

As Making Math Real continues to increase its reputation and renown, so, too, are the increases in fraudulent misrepresentations of spurious “MMR practitioners”. It is of crucial importance that the public becomes aware of these false advertisements of “certified” and/or “trained” Making Math Real tutors. Please be on the lookout for these frauds as they can cause untold damage for your child. These frauds advertising “Certified MMR tutors” often misappropriate screenshots from MMR’s website that falsely imply they are officially connected to and approved by the MMRI, have never taken an MMR course, and are intending to take advantage of MMR’s worldwide reputation as being the “Gold Standard of Math Education”.

Please see representative fraudulent example below:

How to Protect Yourselves: Contact MMR Immediately

Whenever seeking professional level services, especially for clinically provided services such as for MMR-based interventions, due diligence is required. It is essential that you thoroughly vet every possible MMR practitioner. For example, in the representative example above, a concerned parent contacted us directly to verify these spurious claims. We provided this parent with questions to ask the frauds, and as expected, they were unable to answer any of the questions and their lies were brought to light. THIS IS HOW YOU CAN PROTECT YOURSELVES: AT ANY AND ALL TIMES, PLEASE CONTACT US AT [email protected] TO VERIFY ANY CLAIMS MADE BY ANY PROSPECTIVE MMR PRACTITIONER, AND WE WILL PROVIDE YOU WITH EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO VET THE PROSPECTIVE MMR PRACTITIONER.

Please understand we cannot publish any of these vetting questions, as this would provide the frauds the opportunities to craft their nefarious and misleading responses.

Warning Signs

Immediate red flags indicating fraudulent advertising are the inclusion of the words, “certified”, “trained”, “expert”, etc. Making Math Real upholds the strict policy for all course participants to abide by the Making Math Real Institute’s Terms and Conditions, which explicitly state that using the words “certified”, “trained”, “expert”, etc., in reference to one’s MMR practices is strictly prohibited. See the Making Math Real Institute’s Terms and Conditions here.

Another key identifier of potentially fraudulent advertising is the lack of the mandatory Making Math Real Disclaimer, which is required to be placed clearly and in direct connection with the name and background of the practitioner:

REQUIRED DISCLAIMER
Any individual, school, district, or business that lists the use of Making Math Real-based methods is required to include the following disclaimer directly alongside or directly beneath such listing(s):
_______________________, in utilizing Making Math Real® (MMR®) methods, is in no way affiliated with, a member of, or employed by the Making Math Real Institute (MMRI), and does not represent or reflect MMR® or David Berg in any way whatsoever. Neither the MMRI nor David Berg has trained, certified, licensed, monitored, endorsed, recommended, or sponsored _______________________. MMR® is a clinical methodology, not a program or a curriculum, and neither the MMRI nor David Berg monitors, endorses, or accounts for the quality of services provided by _______________________.

For the First Time in the 25 Years of the Making Math Real Institute’s History, We Will Be Able to Make Referrals to Certified MMR Practitioners.

Up to this current time, the Making Math Real Institute has never conferred certification for any practitioner, and consequently, without having sufficient basis to recommend a practitioner with confidence, we have not made referrals to any practitioner. Starting this year, and through the onset of the Making Math Real Institute’s Lab School Mentorship Program (LSMP), the certification process in the Making Math Real Simultaneous Multisensory Structured Methods has begun, and the names of the Making Math Real certified practitioners will be listed on the Making Math Real Certified Practitioners page on the Making Math Real website. The only referrals given by the Institute for MMR practitioners will be exclusively for Making Math Real Certified Practitioners. Therefore, if you encounter any claims of “certified MMR tutors” please visit the Certified Practitioner’s page to verify the claim; and if the name(s) are not listed on the certification page, then do not use that person(s) to work with your child/student, and please, contact us to let us know the name(s) of the spurious MMR tutor(s).

The Making Math Real Institute Relies On You!

All of you are our eyes on the world, and over the years many of you have reported to us suspicious or fraudulent activities you have encountered. We deeply appreciate these reports so we may deal with these transgressions directly and continue to decrease the number of misrepresentations and fraudulent claims made by spurious MMR practitioners.

The Problem with the Word “Trained”

Making Math Real provides intensive and comprehensive professional development, and to date, we have worked with thousands of educators worldwide. In this capacity, we provide workshops, seminars and in-services that range from a 1-day introduction through a series of course work that spans over 700 hours of instruction. Since we have touched so many thousands of educators in such a wide range of formats, we cannot possibly account for each educator’s development and proficiency. And, unfortunately, there have been educators, who after only a 1-day introduction, have inappropriately advertised themselves as “Making Math Real trained.”

As stated above, the word “trained” in reference to MMR practitioners creates an image/sense that the practitioner has achieved a level of competency that can be misleading. Unless a practitioner has completed the Making Math Real Institute’s Lab School Mentorship Program, all they have received is course instruction. Completing a Making Math Real course does not imply that the MMR course participant having received the course instruction is capable of applying those methods with the clinical competency necessary for being successful with your child or student. Making Math Real is a clinical methodology, not a program or a curriculum, and therefore the effectiveness of its application is entirely based on the practitioner’s ability to be prescriptive to students’ processing indications and needs. Someone may have taken all the courses (the courses are not trainings), but this provides no basis for the individual’s ability to apply the methods to a variety of students with diverse processing styles effectively. Training includes both coursework and supervised practicums, not just classes alone.

The following is a crucial understanding for all parents: regardless of the reputation of the school or program, your child’s learning experience is only as good as the teacher in front of your child.

How To Find a Quality Practitioner Who is Not Yet MMR Certified

We deeply empathize with parents who want to provide support for their children. Please understand there are numerous reliable and effective MMR practitioners utilizing Making Math Real-based methods in their practices who are not yet certified.  Therefore, in addition to thoroughly vetting any prospective MMR practitioner who is not yet certified, authentic word of mouth is still the best way to find the appropriate choice for your child. However, there is only one kind of word of mouth that is useful, and that is a direct conversation with a parent(s) whose child with similar needs to your own child has experienced authentic success. Please do not rely on internet-based or any other third party reviews as these “reviews” can be entirely fabricated and/or misleading. Only direct contact with another person to whom you can ask questions and receive specific responses about the effectiveness of the practitioner in question can provide good indications for making an informed choice. Often, but not always, a practitioner whose practice is perpetually full can be a good indicator of an effective educator. Please do not be discouraged when finding a practitioner with a currently filled practice. They may provide waiting lists and other opportunities to get your foot in the door. Many practitioners have more opportunities during the summer and this may help you get in their practice for the Fall. If you are trying to get into a summertime practice, please contact the practitioner as early as possible. Waiting until the last minute will not likely yield good results.

Please remember, it is the teaching, not the program that will provide success for your child. The Making Math Real methods are the most comprehensive, systematic, and incrementalized in the world today. However, an educator who merely takes a class does not guarantee that educator’s ability to teach the Making Math Real Simultaneous Multisensory Structured Methods effectively.

Please See Below for Some Resources to Help You In Your Search For An Appropriate Practitioner For Your Child:

Questions To Ask the Professionals:

LD OnLine offers hundreds of expert-reviewed articles and resources for educators, parents, and others concerned about children and adults with learning disabilities and ADHD:

Stay safe and be well.

David Berg, E.T.
Founder & Director of the Making Math Real Institute
Creator of the Making Math Real Simultaneous Multisensory Structured Methods

Looking Forward to the Next 25 Years – Part 6

Part 6:
Personal Transformations: A Celebration and a Request

The entire reason I decided to go public with Making Math Real 25 years ago was to help effect positive changes in math education. Now, as part of celebrating 25 years of changing lives, I feel it is important to celebrate and acknowledge all the successful MMR participants who have provided so much positive educational service. Many of you over the years have expressed to me your personal transformations of growth and development as a result of helping others grow, develop, and achieve; and I believe the positive impact in changing your students’ lives and your personal transformations of growth and development are of equal value and benefit.

In celebration of those steadfast MMR practitioners, who in addition to changing the lives of their students, have also experienced their own personal transformations, I am sending out the request to share your stories of having experienced powerful, personal transformations as educators, clinicians, math learners, and as human beings. Your stories of personal transformation, like your stories of changing your students’ lives, will again provide invaluable inspiration and motivation for countless others seeking to help their children/students. Please feel free to remain anonymous as your stories need not include any identifying information (unless you want to). I hope to continue publishing your stories for years to come.

Next Up:
Introducing “Clinician’s Corner”

Clinician’s Corner will start out as a monthly online open discussion group via Zoom in which I will respond to questions/requests from MMR practitioners. The intended format of Clinician’s Corner is to encourage questions and support pertaining to the clinical aspects and applications of maintaining MMR-based interventions, specifically the development of practitioners’ abilities to engage their clinical observations and diagnostics of students’ affective and cognitive behaviors. Clinician’s Corner is structured and intended for intermediate through advanced practitioners who have completed a baseline of coursework and have been applying MMR-based methods for students at various levels and diverse processing styles.

So please stay tuned for the final installment of “Looking Forward to the Next 25 Years” for the full description of “Clinician’s Corner”, the exciting new inclusion in the Making Math Real Institute’s commitment to providing significant support in helping MMR practitioners maximize their development as clinical math educators.

Be well and stay healthy.

David Berg, E.T.
Founder & Director of the Making Math Real Institute
Creator of the Making Math Real Simultaneous Multisensory Structured Methods

Looking Forward to the Next 25 Years – Part 5

Part 5:
Making Math Real Build Your Own Group Consulatation Program

In looking forward to the next 25 years, the Making Math Real Institute (MMRI), in addition to continuing its focus on providing and expanding the 700 hours of seminars currently available, will present a new focus on providing significant support in helping MMR practitioners maximize their development as clinical math educators. I will be offering the following new structures to implement this new focus on the clinical development of MMR practitioners and all will be presented in a distance-learning format:

BUILD YOUR OWN GROUP CONSULTATION PROGRAM (BYOG)
Distance-Learning Format

The Making Math Real “Build Your Own Group” is a consultation-based program for groups of any size from individual participants to groups of any number. If forming a group of 2 or more participants, all group members must share a common baseline of completed courses, which will define the parameters of the content covered for each group.

“Office Hours”

The Build Your Own Group Consultation Program (BYOG) is like having access to a professor’s office hours during which participants can receive whatever support they need/want, in any and all aspects of learning and applying MMR for a current course, any previous courses (group participants have in common), or extensions of content from any courses (group participants have in common). During MMR courses, there are frequent, good questions from participants spanning a wide range of requested information, which reflect a desire for deeper clinical understanding, specialized instruction not included in the courses, practical applications of MMR in the classroom or private practice, how to provide and interpret initial assessments, etc.

These kinds of questions typically require more time to respond to than is available during a course, and the BYOG Consultation Program can provide the platform and structure to answer these questions prescriptively and comprehensively. Benefits of the group sessions include the possibility of receiving a wider span of content and information and in defraying costs per person for group sessions: the greater the number of participants, the less the cost per person.

Build Your Own Group Information and Policies

If forming a group, the group must appoint a liaison to work with the Office of the Institute to get the group approved and is responsible for organizing all aspects of scheduling session(s) and payment(s). All sessions must be prepaid by the liaison and MMR accepts credit cards, checks, and money orders for all sessions’ tuition. Pre-payment can be for any number of 1-hour sessions, and when available, sessions can be for 1 to up to 3-hours per session. All session fees are charged by the hourly rate set for individual participants, groups of 2 – 6, 7 – 12, 13, 14 – 17, and 18 – 48.

IMPORTANT NOTE: It is never appropriate for participants to receive new and unstructured content. For example, if one member of the group has completed the Making Math Real: Algebra II course and asks a question about algebra 2 content, and another member has only completed the Making Math Real: Overview and Making Math Real: 9 Lines Intensive, it is not appropriate for the latter member to receive the response to the algebra 2 question as the response would be completely dissociated from all the structure required to make it meaningful and applicable for students. Therefore, prospective group members must first organize themselves around common courses completed and common goals/questions. In addition, as a consultation-based program, the Making Math Real “Build Your Own Group” is not structured or intended to present a new MMR course, rather, it is structured to provide any and all information and extensions relevant to current or previous course work.

Please contact the Office of the Institute for scheduling
and group pricing rates: [email protected]

SCHEDULING AND REFUND POLICY: Once the desired number of sessions have been scheduled and pre-payment has been received, the dates will be officially reserved on my calendar. Any participant and/or group canceling registration at any time or for any reason, after payment has been received, will NOT receive a refund. If MMR receives the cancellation at least 2 business days in advance of the scheduled date, rescheduling of the session(s) is permitted. If MMR cancels any session(s), all payments received will be fully refunded and/or credited back.

Next Up: Your Stories of Personal Transformation as a Result of Learning and Teaching MMR

For a number of years now, some of you have shared stories of “Changing Lives” of your students and their families as a result of successful MMR-based interventions. These success stories are inspirational and motivational in their evidence-based authenticity that there are solutions to the problematic teaching and learning conditions/challenges so prevalent within math education. Your success stories have provided countless new MMR participants the inspiration and motivation to empower themselves to begin solving these problematic educational challenges, so please keep contributing any and all stories you are willing to share with the world.

Personal Transformations

The entire reason I decided to go public with Making Math Real 25 years ago was to help effect positive changes in math education. Now, as part of celebrating 25 years of changing lives, I feel it is important to celebrate and acknowledge all of the successful MMR participants who have provided so much positive educational service. So many of you over the years have expressed to me your personal transformations of growth and development as a result of helping others grow, develop, and achieve.

So please stay tuned for the next installment of “Looking Forward to the Next 25 Years” for the full description of my request to those of you to share your stories of having experienced powerful, personal transformations as educators, clinicians, math learners, and as human beings. Your stories of personal transformation will again provide invaluable inspiration and motivation for countless others seeking to help their children/students

Be well and stay healthy.

David Berg, E.T.
Founder & Director of the Making Math Real Institute
Creator of the Making Math Real Simultaneous Multisensory Structured Methods

25th Anniversary Special: The Problem with Word Problems – A Research Basis Part I

25th Anniversary Special: The Problem with Word Problems –
A Research Basis Part I

Word problems, word problems, word problems – the most common requests I receive and the highest anxiety-causing mathematics – everybody gets so worked up about word problems!

Throughout all the courses and over all the 46 years I have been an educator, many of you have heard me discuss the problem with word problems. I talk about how and why word problems are an entirely different category of math development than all the K-12 Making Math Real Simultaneous Multisensory Structured Methods; and consequently, why the teaching of word problems must be entirely different than the teaching of numerically-based mathematics.

The Strong Parallels Between Solving Word Problems
and Writing Expository Essays

In my discussions, I note the strong parallels between the extremely high-order cognitive demands of solving word problems and expository writing. Both are:

  • High(est) order cognitive demands on the ability to generalize current knowledge to new connections and on multidimensional executive functions in support of extensive working memory applications that must encompass the open-ended problem solving and critical thinking required for a wide diversity of word problems or for expressing a wide diversity of essay styles and topics:

Activate (Synthesize) Complete Comprehension Picture

Word Problems

Activate a complete comprehension picture from the language of the word problem

Expository Writing

Activate a complete comprehension picture (idea) of the entire essay to be written

Translate Complete Comprehension Picture

Word Problems

Translate the complete comprehension picture from the language of the word problem into a mathematical comprehension picture

Translate the mathematical comprehension picture from the language of the word problem into a mathematical equation

Expository Writing

Translate (organize) the complete comprehension picture (idea) of the entire essay to be written into a general sequential order of paragraphs: introduction with thesis statement, body with supporting evidence, and conclusion

Translate the complete comprehension picture of the entire essay to be written into a specific sequential order in the form of a detailed outline, paragraph by paragraph

Solve the Indicated Task

Word Problems

Activate the required mathematical abilities to solve the equation

Expository Writing

Activate the required written expression abilities to transform the detailed outline into complete sentences and paragraphs

Demands on Working Memory

Word Problems

Activate and sustain the complete comprehension picture of the word problem throughout problem solving and know the solution makes sense

Expository Writing

Activate and sustain the complete comprehension picture of the entire essay throughout the planning and writing process and know the thesis statement, supporting evidence, and conclusion make sense

Demands on Open-Ended Problem Solving and Critical Thinking:
The Highest Order of Generalizability

Word Problems

Solving word problems encompasses all math content. Any and all math applications can be expressed in any word problem form. The ability to independently solve word problems in general requires students’ abilities to synthesize, generalize, and translate all their math learning from the language of the word problems to the mathematical comprehension picture and apply the mathematics to solve them.

Expository Writing

Solving the challenges of expository writing encompasses all conceivable content/information/ideas that can be expressed in the different types of expository essay styles. The ability to independently write expository essays in general requires students’ abilities to synthesize, generalize and translate their content knowledge/ideas using word finding, sentence construction, grammar, and mechanics into expository forms of written expression.

  • Multi-year development (typically 10) starting in kindergarten is indicated for both with respective year-by-year incremental instruction leading to the independent ability to solve an extensive variety of word problems or to write the classic American 5-paragraph expository essay. The significant duration of the multi-year development is directly related to the ongoing developments of front to back connections in the brain, which support the high-order cognitive demands of critical thinking and open-ended problem solving. Front to back connections typically start developing later in life, often starting in early adolescence.
  • Neither word problem development nor expository writing development can be taught by assignment. Both require specific and explicit sequential development and there are no shortcuts for either. Representative examples of “shortcuts” for word problems include “Key Words”, “the 5-Step Plan”, “Draw a Picture/Make a Diagram”, “Guess and Check”, “Work Backwards”, etc.; and for expository essays, “The Hamburger Model” and graphic organizers such as “Webs, Mind Maps, and Concept Maps”. Interventions for word problem development and for expository writing must first determine students’ current developmental level within each respective multi-year progression and begin the intervention at that point, Chronological age and current grade level of the student do not factor into where the developmental intervention begins.
  • Solving word problems and writing expository essays are extremely valuable developments
  • Solving word problems and writing expository essays have been and continue to be extremely challenging for students of all ages

Request For a Research Basis to Explain
Why Word Problems Can Be So Challenging

I requested my colleague, Nancy Knop, PhD, a classroom science teacher, an educational therapist (currently retired) and a research biologist, to write an article based on the most current research on math and language to provide a research basis from cognitive science and neurobiology to explain why word problems are such a problem for so many of us. Dr. Knop and I have collaborated in multiple capacities over the last 20 years including co-presenting at Learning & the Brain Conferences in San Francisco, Cambridge, and Washington D.C., and she has provided me with numerous and valuable research-based resources throughout this 20-year period.

The Problem with Word Problems

One of the most frequent requests I continue to receive from educators and parents throughout the courses and in my private practice is how to deal with word problems. Perhaps since word problems can be so challenging for so many of us, word problems continue to be inappropriately included as part of the domain of numerically-based mathematics and therefore considered as the highest level of mathematical achievement, and consequently are given prominent emphasis on standardized tests, general math assessments, grade level expectations across all grades, and IEP goals and objectives. This is the problem and this is the principal purpose of this article: word problem development with its significant requirement on translating language to math makes it a separate educational development from the teaching of numerically-based mathematics; and therefore, cannot be used either as a way to teach numerically-based mathematics or as a way to assess numerically-based mathematics achievement. Word problems and numerically-based mathematics require separate and explicit instructional practices and separate assessments to serve as respective progress monitors and measures of achievement levels.

Providing Some Relief: When Indicated, Remove the Inappropriate
Inclusion of Word Problems from IEP Goals and Objectives and
Student Study Plans

In addition to wanting to help people understand the unique nature of word problem development, another of the principal reasons I asked Dr. Knop to provide this research-based article is when indicated, to help families provide the necessary basis to schools and IEP teams to have the inclusion of word problems in IEP goals and objectives and student study plans removed. Schools and IEP teams who are unaware of the unique nature of word problem development and inappropriately include word problems, especially for students with reading and language-based learning disabilities, as the means to address the development of numerically-based mathematics have caused profound distress and damage to numerous students and their families for decades. It is my sincerest hope that Dr. Knop’s article, “Of Course You Hated Word Problems: Current Research in Cognitive Science and Neurobiology Explains Why”, can provide much needed relief for students who have been subjected to the contraindicated inclusion of word problems in their IEP goals and objectives and/or student study plans.

Of Course You Hated Word Problems:
Current Research in Cognitive Science and Neurobiology
Explains Why

Nancy Fike Knop PhD, ET/P

Abstract. Brain pathways for processing words and processing numbers do not completely overlap. Mathematical thinking has its own set of brain pathways. As a result, solving word problems requires translation between these symbolic languages, making the math more difficult, leading to anxiety and avoidance. Math learning requires systematic, incremental development from concrete to abstract understanding using numbers, not words. Learning to solve word problems is a separate, though important, process.

It’s perfectly natural to hate word problems. You couldn’t help it. Our brains are wired one way for quantity/number symbols and a different way for language/letter-word symbols (Almaric & Dehaene, 2018, Fuchs et al., 2016a). Having to dip in and out of language areas of your brain to use separate quantity areas makes math more difficult. It’s like feeling your way through a room with your eyes closed. You can use hearing and touch to figure out where things are, but sight is easier – different areas of the brain are involved. Why make it more difficult?

Specialists in the brain and learning talk about domain-general and domain-specific brain functions. The hippocampus (memory formation), deep in the middle of your brain, and the frontal lobes (planning and inhibition of irrelevant information) are domain-general: you use them for all kinds of learning and thinking. Areas on the top toward the back, the parietal lobes (quantity), and the temporal lobes, on the left side inside your temple (language) are more domain-specific. In other words, these areas are wired into pathways you developed for specific kinds of thinking and communicating (Battista et al., 2018). Seeing, hearing, and touch all have their own specialized brain areas, too.

You were born with a brain area and pathways already specialized for recognizing, estimating, and comparing quantity (amount, loudness, brightness) and a separate area and pathway for recognizing spoken language. Your senses send information to those specific areas for interpretation. As you learned to count and read, letter and number combinations were stored in your memory and new connections were formed, but they developed in different places, with different pathways. Both domain-specific areas and domain-general pathways are involved (Qin et al., 2014, Vogel & De Smedt 2021, Wu et al., 2017).

For reading, your knowledge grew from hearing and understanding language into decoding written words, then combinations of words, then sentences, then chapter books. You combined that with encoding: writing words, sentences, paragraphs. If you were fortunate, you learned to do creative and expository writing. The left temporal and frontal lobes developed important pathways for this.

For math, you learned to use ideas about quantity and the symbols that represented quantity to carry out arithmetic operations: addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division. You used your visual-spatial memory and your hands to move things around that represented quantities. You actually understood concepts. For instance, you laid colored counters on a number line, different colors for each addend, and built a picture of addition in your mind that easily translated to number symbol addition. You saw that multiplication is just a shortcut for repeated addition. You valued all the math facts and operation ideas stored in your memory because it made solving arithmetic problems fluent and successful (Price et al. 2013). Transferring your direct understanding from concrete manipulatives to abstract symbols in a specific, systematic progression allowed you to be able to use the symbols fluently and accurately. You built an automatic recall of the information you needed. Or you could do all this if you had a chance to learn these things in a direct and explicit way, incrementally, using all your senses, with creative practice in clearly recording or expressing your computations and solutions. You developed the ability to do proportional reasoning (fractions, decimals and percents). You developed working memory and executive function (domain-general attributes) in algebra. You activated big picture understanding and deductive conclusions from partially given information in geometry. Your frontal and parietal lobes developed important wiring for this.

What happened when word problems entered the picture? At first, maybe not so much. Perhaps you could translate adding apples and oranges to figure out the total quantity of fruit in the basket. But if that problem was a written problem, it was more difficult than one spoken to you, because you had to decode the letter/word symbols and translate into number and operation symbols: different languages. Any language-based learning issue just added to the difficulty (Fuchs & Fuchs 2002, Geary, 2011, Kennedy, 2020). As the information included got more and more complicated, it could become too difficult. Too many brain areas were involved in sorting it out and translating it. If you didn’t have automatic understanding of the math, understanding literally in your body, involving, seeing, touching, and hearing, or enough practice doing problems like this one, the word problem was a serious challenge. Written words put you back at square one, trying to translate.

Increasingly, students are asked to solve math problems and then to “explain your thinking” using words or written language. Solutions to math problems that show all the steps using numbers DO completely show thinking, in mathematical language. Restating solutions in words requires another translation step. Solutions to word problems should be expressed numerically, with terms labeled as necessary, e.g. ‘15 pieces of fruit total.” That is enough. Once solutions are shown mathematically, it is not necessary, and you should not be required, to write sentences explaining again everything you just explained mathematically.

The demands of solving word problems are very similar to the demands of expository writing. Both require major translation tasks. For word problems: 1) translate the language of the word problem into a big picture of understanding, 2) translate that big picture into its equivalent as an equation, 3) solve the equation. For expository writing: 1) translate the big picture of an idea into an organized sequence (outline), 2) translate the organized sequence into expository language (expository language is different then spoken language), 3) write the essay. It takes many years of laying groundwork and developing the concepts and skills involved (Berg, n.d.). You are fortunate if you are comfortable with either one.

Most of us are not comfortable with word problems and we were not comfortable with them in school. Now, research in cognitive science and neurobiology is yielding an explanation for our discomfort. Our math brain was not designed for words. We developed strategies for coping, but we didn’t develop fluent understanding. Or we hated word problems, developed math anxiety, and avoided any further math (Ashcroft & Moore, 2009, Choe et al., 2019). Alas, real life presents us with “word problems” every day: knowing what 20% off means, balancing checkbooks, understanding simple and compound interest, income and tax rates, or analyzing statistics for accurate interpretation.

Confidence and competence in word-problem solving depends on knowledge of arithmetic (Fuchs et al., 2016b). Although this is basic and essential, it is not enough. For spoken story problems or word problems presented in text, language and reading comprehension is also necessary (Fuchs et al., 2020). For anyone with a learning issue that involves reading, executive function, working memory, or number sense, no matter how gifted in other areas, word problems become even more challenging (Knop & Chou, 2020). This is why arithmetic problem solving and translation of word problems into mathematics must be taught separately and explicitly.

Development of the ability to address and solve word problems is important. It takes many carefully structured years of instruction to develop the ability to analyze, translate, solve and translate again to communicate solutions effectively in both numbers and words. Our brains do not process word problems the same way as mathematical problems presented numerically. Learning to solve word problems is an important adjunct, and it is necessary. But word problems should not be taught or assessed instead of or as the entryway to numerically based mathematics. There must be separate well-designed approaches and progress monitors to both; otherwise it is like trying to teach children to see with their ears.

Selected References
Amalric, M., & Dehaene, S. (2018). Cortical circuits for mathematical knowledge: Evidence for a major subdivision within the brain’s semantic networks. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B, 373(1740). https://doi.org/10.1098/rstb.2016.0515

Ashcroft, M. H. & Moore, A. M. (2009). Mathematics anxiety and the affective drop in performance. Journal of Psychoeducational Assessment, 27(3), 197-205. https://doi.org/10.1177/0734282908330580

Battista, C., Evans, T. M., Ngoon, T. J., Chen, T., Chen, L., Kochalka, J., & Menon, V. (2018). Mechanisms of interactive specialization and emergence of functional brain circuits supporting cognitive development in children. npj Science of Learning, 3(1). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41539-017-0017-2

Berg, D. (n.d.). Learn how to close the gap in achievement and reach the full diversity of learners. Making Math Real Institute. https://www.makingmathreal.org/about

Choe, K. W., Jenifer, J. G., Rozek, C. S., Berman M. G., & Beilock, S. (2019). Calculated avoidance: Math anxiety predicts math avoidance in effort-based decision-making. Sci. Adv. (5): eeay 1062 doi: 10.1126/sciadv.aay1062

Fuchs L. S., Fuchs D. (2002). Mathematical problem-solving profiles of students with mathematics disabilities with and without comorbid reading disabilities. J. Learning Disabilities 35: 563-573. DOI: 10.1177/00222194020350060701

Fuchs, L. S., Geary, D. C., Fuchs, D., Compton, D. L., & Hamlett, C. L. (2016a). Pathways to third‐grade calculation versus word‐reading competence: Are they more alike or different? Child Development, 87(2), 558–567. https://doi.org/10.1111/cdev.12474

Fuchs, L. S., Gilbert, J. K., Powell, S .R., Cirino, P. T., Fuchs, D., Hamlett, C. L., Seethaler, P. M. & Tolar, T. M.,(2016b). The role of cognitive processes, foundational math skill, and calculation accuracy and fluency in word-problem solving versus pre-algebraic knowledge. Developmental Psychology 52: 2085-2098. doi:10:1037/dev0000227

Fuchs, L. S., Fuchs D., Seethaler, P. M. & Craddock C., (2020). Improving language comprehension to enhance word-problem solving. Read Writ Q 36(2): 142-156 https://doi.org/10.1080/10573569.2019.1666760

Geary, D. C. (2011). Consequences, characteristics, and causes of mathematical learning disabilities and persistent low achievement in mathematics. Journal of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics, 32(3), 250–263.

Kennedy, D. (2020) What’s math got to do with it? Math learning disabilities, dyslexia, and ADHD: Understanding the connections, remediating effectively. The Educational Therapist 41(1): 4-8.

Knop, N. F. & Chou, S. H. (2020). Giftedness and Math Difficulty. In C. M. Fugate, W. A. Behrens, & C. Boswell, (Eds.), Understanding Twice-Exceptional Learners, Connecting Research to Pratice (pp 183-216)Prufrock Academic Press.

Price, G. R., Mazzocco, M. M. M., & Ansari, D. (2013). Why mental arithmetic counts: Brain activation during single digit arithmetic predicts high school math scores. Journal of Neuroscience, 33
(1), 156–163. https://doi.org/10.1523/JNEUROSCI.2936-12.2013

Qin, S., Cho, S., Chen, T., Rosenberg-Lee, M., Geary, D. C., & Menon, V. (2014).Hippocampal-neocortical functional reorganization underlies children’s cognitive development. Nature Neuroscience, 17(9) 1263–1269. https://doi.org/10.1038/nn.3788

Vogel, S. E. & B. De Smedt (2021). Developmental brain dynamics of numerical and arithmetic abilities. npj Sci. Learn. 6(22): 1-11 https://doi.org/10.1038/s41539-021-00099-3

Wu, S. S., Chen, L., Battista, C., Smith Watts, A, K., Willcutt, E. G., & Menon, V. (2017, September). Distinct influences of affective and cognitive factors on children’s non-verbal and verbal mathematical abilities. Cognition, 166, 118–129. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cognition.2017.05.016

About Nancy Fike Knop, Ph.D., ET/P
Nancy Fike Knop, Ph.D., ET/P is a recently retired educational therapist. She worked with children and adolescents as an ET for 20 years, providing prescriptive remediation for challenges and background gaps in math and other subjects. Dr. Knop taught science to grades 7-12 at Head Royce School in Oakland and served as Department Chair for five years. She holds a B.S. degree from the University of Connecticut, a Ph.D from UC Berkeley, and a graduate-level certificate in Educational Therapy from UC Berkeley Extension. Dr. Knop writes and speaks locally and nationally, interpreting primary research about the biology of learning including brain development, the neurobiology of math and language learning, the role of vision, the importance of gesture, and the essential nature of sleep and other environmental influences that relate to learning and learning differences.

Please stay tuned for “The Problem with Word Problems – A Research
Basis Part 2: The Problem with Teaching Word Problems”

Be well and stay healthy.

David Berg, E.T.
Founder & Director of the Making Math Real Institute
Creator of the Making Math Real Simultaneous Multisensory Structured Methods

Looking Forward to the Next 25 Years – Part 4

Part 4:
Making Math Real Supervision Program

In looking forward to the next 25 years, the Making Math Real Institute (MMRI), in addition to continuing its focus on providing and expanding the 700 hours of seminars currently available, will present a new focus on providing significant support in helping MMR practitioners maximize their development as clinical math educators. I will be offering the following new structures to implement this new focus on the clinical development of MMR practitioners and all will be presented in a distance-learning format:

THE SUPERVISION PROGRAM (SP)
Distance-Learning Format

The Making Math Real Supervision Program is intended to support MMR practitioners at varying stages of their development from those who have completed at least the Making Math Real: Overview and one additional major course such as the 9 Lines Intensive, The Four Operations and the 400 Math Facts, or Fractions, Decimals, and Advanced Place Value all the way to those who have completed all of the MMR courses, but are not yet ready for the Lab School Mentorship Program. The Supervision Program is less intensive than the Lab School Mentorship Program and is structured to help MMR practitioners successfully apply the MMR methods in correct alignment with students’ processing indications. Participant’s successful experience in the Making Math Real Supervision Program can provide the preparation needed for candidacy in the Lab School Mentorship Program.

The Making Math Real Supervision Program (MMR-SP) is a more generalized support structure for MMR practitioners and does not necessarily include their students. The focus of the Supervision Program is the provision of follow-up support and guidance for practitioners as a helpful transition from completing MMR courses to applying the MMR methods with their students. All of the MMR courses are extremely intensive, and all course participants need and deserve as much guidance and supervision as possible to help them activate and correctly apply the methods they have learned in the courses. The intention of the Supervision Program is to provide this support for a full range of MMR practitioners, from novices who may have yet to start working with students through those ready for the Mentorship Program. Similar to the Mentorship Program, practitioners can either be classroom teachers or in private practice.

The scope and focus of the Supervision program is to foster the development of becoming a successful MMR practitioner by providing guidance and supervision to:

  • Help course participants ensure their course notes are complete, accurate, and understood
  • Transition MMR course participants’ into becoming MMR practitioners: the process of beginning to practice with students based on the number of MMR courses that the practitioner has completed
  • Understand students’ processing indications and individual prescriptions and learn to align instruction accordingly
  • Design and administer initial assessment(s): how to make them and how to interpret them
  • Determine where to start instruction with new students
  • Create prescriptive scopes and sequences
  • Make and apply prescriptive lesson plans
  • Learn and develop the practice of clinical observation: maintaining clinical observation notes of students’ cognitive and affective behaviors 
  • Support case management
  • Receive ongoing consultation services for any and all aspects of establishing and maintaining a private practice as an MMR practitioner

Please note the Supervision program is not for receiving new MMR content rather, it is for integrating and applying the methods that have been learned thus far. All new content is exclusively obtained in the MMR courses.

Since the structure of the Supervision Program is more general and less intensive than the Mentorship Program, practitioners’ students can either be in independent study or still in their math classes at their schools. However, in the cases of students that are still in their math classes at school, it will be necessary to determine if the MMR-SP would be appropriate for them. In the cases where classroom instruction is so extremely disconnected and contraindicated for the student’s individual prescription such that no form of intervention is feasible for that student, I will decline the Supervision arrangement for that case and make the recommendation that an independent study program is indicated for that student. If, in these cases, an independent study agreement has subsequently been established, the Supervision Program would then be appropriate. Please understand, in the cases where there is no feasible intervention for the student, this means there can be no effective way to provide educational/developmental benefit for the student or for the practitioner.

The Supervision Program focuses on the MMR practitioner, so all practitioners who want this service for their professional development would cover the costs of my fee. However, if a school and/or parent is willing to cover the costs, that is also acceptable. Depending on my available time, practitioners can decide if they would prefer regularly scheduled session times or to schedule sessions on an as-needed basis.

The Supervision Program can also be used as either preparing an MMR practitioner for the Mentorship Program or as another way to receive support if a practitioner is on the waiting list for the Mentorship Program and would like some support in the meantime.

To request participation in the Making Math Real Supervision Program, please send the request to [email protected], and we will respond to the request as soon as we confirm the request adheres to the guidelines set forth above for individual practitioners and groups.

Please Stay Tuned for More Upcoming Full Descriptions of the New Making Math Real Institute
Services for Clinical Development.

Next Up: NEW! The Making Math Real “Build Your Own Group Consultation Program”

Please stay tuned for the next full description of the brand new Making Math Real Institute “Build Your Own Group Consultation Program” which will describe the structure for participants to form their own groups to receive similar benefits as provided by the Making Math Real Supervision Program, but in a consultation format and for groups of one to 48 participants.

Be well and stay healthy.

David Berg, E.T.
Founder & Director of the Making Math Real Institute
Creator of the Making Math Real Simultaneous Multisensory Structured Methods

Looking Forward to the Next 25 Years – Part 3

Part 3:
Making Math Real Lab School Mentorship Program

In looking forward to the next 25 years, the Making Math Real Institute (MMRI), in addition to continuing its focus on providing and expanding the 700 hours of seminars currently available, will present a new focus on providing significant support in helping MMR practitioners maximize their development as clinical math educators. I will be offering the following new structures to implement this new focus on the clinical development of MMR practitioners and all will be presented in a distance-learning format:

THE LAB SCHOOL MENTORSHIP PROGRAM (LSMP)
Distance-Learning Format

The Lab School Mentorship Program (LSMP) provides the highest level and most intensive and comprehensive experience in helping MMR practitioners become complete clinical math educators. The possibility of receiving certification from David Berg and the Making Math Real Institute can be an additional outcome of the MMR practitioner’s successful mentorship experience. The LSMP is intended for highly experienced MMR practitioners and/or classroom teachers who have completed most or all of the MMR series of 12 courses, and most importantly, have been successfully practicing and applying MMR-based interventions at various levels and with students with diverse processing styles for two or more years.

The Genesis of the LSMP

Since going public with Making Math Real 25 years ago, I have frequently expressed my wish for having a “lab school” format in which participants could receive guidance and supervision while practicing the MMR methods directly with students, because it is not until an MMR practitioner begins working directly with students that the developmentally targeted simultaneous multisensory structures are activated, which is why, when people say: “Making Math Real – it works!” what they really mean is when students experience amazing successful transformations while learning through MMR, “it” means youthe teacher, have delivered the MMR methods correctly – it’s not the methods in isolation, it is how the methods have been delivered that makes all the difference.

All MMR Practitioners Need and Deserve Mentorship to Help Them Become Outstanding Clinical Practitioners

Over the years I have seen some course participants become successful MMR practitioners without the benefit of ongoing mentorship, guidance, and supervision. This is a most impressive achievement on their part and they deserve all the credit for their constancy of vision, hard work, and determination. Even though so many have done so well on their own, all would have received significant added benefit from mentorship to:

All MMR practitioners need and deserve this ongoing support to help them become outstanding clinical practitioners.

Win – Win – Win

Since I have not been able to provide an actual lab school for MMR practitioners who come from around the world, the solution is to have each practitioner create their own lab school by having one (or more) of their students provide the lab school experience. The Making Math Real Lab School Mentorship Program turns the practitioners’ experience of providing an MMR-based intervention into a full scale clinical practice mentored by me. I will provide comprehensive support in all aspects of the clinical intervention including initial assessment, prescriptive scopes and sequences, where to begin instruction, correct methods applications, interpretation and diagnostics of students’ processing behaviors, additional and more intensive methods not included in the courses when indicated, communication with parents and teachers, writing IEP goals and objectives, advocating for students’ needs, etc.

The Making Math Real Lab School Mentorship Program is intended to provide a win – win – win structure in which the student will be receiving the benefit of my direct involvement in all aspects of the individual remediation, the practitioner will be receiving maximum support in deepening their understanding and application practice of becoming a clinical practitioner of MMR, and the parents will know their child/children are receiving the maximum benefit possible.

How the LSMP Program Works

I have already been providing the Making Math Real Lab School Mentorship Program as a field trial for a number of students and their mentees for almost two years, and it has been extremely successful for students, their practitioners, and parents. The entire structure and delivery of the Making Math Real Lab School Mentorship Program has been done exclusively via distance-learning, which means that practitioners and students can receive these services from anywhere in the world where the internet is available.


Who Pays For the LSMP?

The intended structure of the LSMP is students’ parents pay for my services. This means that if parents would like my direct involvement in their child’s/children’s ongoing intervention services, the parents cover the costs of my services as well as the costs of the MMR practitioner.

My services will be paid for in the form of a retainer that minimally covers six hours of my time and requires replenishing the retainer once it reaches one third (or less) of the minimum-level retainer amount. Upon termination of my services, all remaining balances in the retainer will be refunded. Click here for billing and payment details.


How Does a Parent or MMR Practitioner Request a Possible Mentorship Arrangement?

Prior to sending in a request for the Making Math Real Lab School Mentorship Program to [email protected], both the practitioner and the parents need to agree that they want this service. Please note that all requests require that both parents and the practitioner(s) are already in agreement about participating in the Mentorship Program. Requests submitted from either just a practitioner or just parents will not be considered, and we will inform the sender to re-apply once parents and practitioner are in agreement to move forward.

Upon receiving a formal request, the MMRI will respond as soon as possible to inform if there is an available slot for a new mentorship arrangement, and if there is no current availability, senders can either request placement on a waiting list or check back in at a later date(s) for current status; and if there is availability, we will initiate the process of getting started. First, I will determine if the student and the MMR practitioner are appropriate for the Mentorship Program (please see below for details). If both student and practitioner meet the guidelines for moving forward, we will send a Making Math Real Lab School Mentorship Program agreement contract to the parents, and once it is signed and a first retainer payment is received, we will schedule a time for the initial observation session as described above in which I will need assessment reports from both the practitioner and parents as much in advance of the initial observation session as possible.


What Kinds of Cases are Indicated for the Making Math Real Lab School Mentorship Program?

There are two considerations for appropriate mentorship cases. The first is the student and the second is the practitioner. The intended student case is for challenging issues, which include diagnosed math learning disabilities including dyscalculia and/or other developmental issues that have contributed to significant underdevelopment in self-regulatory executive functions, activating and sustaining working memory, sequencing, number sense, and reasoning; and conditions affecting visual, auditory, and kinesthetic/motor processing, and processing styles that have previously not responded well to intervention(s). Cases involving certain neurological issues such as brain damage, brain tissue malformation, lesions, and medical/genetic conditions/syndromes that could have neuro-cognitive impact such as Prader-Willi Syndrome, Down’s Syndrome, PANS/PANDAS, Tourette’s Syndrome, Fragile X Syndrome, etc., will need to be evaluated on an individual case-by-case basis to determine if a developmental intervention is indicated.

IMPORTANT NOTE: Commensurate with students who are appropriate for the Making Math Real Lab School Mentorship Program, all students will need an independent study in math to receive full benefit from their individual prescriptions. Therefore, the Making Math Real Lab School Mentorship Program is not applicable to students who are still in their regular math classes at school.

Students with less intensive challenges and students “who just need better teaching” (this is by far the most common referral I receive. These are students with no processing development issues, rather, their experience in school has created false indications of a learning disability or significant challenge(s) that quickly begin to disappear with the provision of appropriate curriculum delivery) are not intended for the Making Math Real Lab School Mentorship Program, but would be appropriate for the Making Math Real Supervision Program*.

Stay tuned for future blog posts highlighting the new Supervision Program!


Which MMR Practitioners can apply for LSMP?

The appropriate practitioner is as critical to the success of the Making Math Real Lab School Mentorship Program as the appropriate student. The Mentorship Program experience for the practitioner is rigorous and intensive, but also extremely rewarding. The MMR practitioner must be advanced, having completed all or most of the 12 MMR series of courses and having a minimum of two years experience in applying the MMR methods to students at various levels of development and diverse processing styles.

For the Mentorship Program to function appropriately, the MMR practitioner must have a sufficient degree of clinical observational ability, because they will serve as “my clinical eyes”, meaning I need to rely on their accuracy of observations. The practitioner’s accurate clinical observations of the student’s affective and cognitive behaviors is necessary, otherwise, I would need to continue observing the student working with the practitioner to gather the clinical data I need to provide detailed diagnostics, interpretations, and recommendations for prescriptive teaching methods and content.

Furthermore, the practitioner must be “coachable”, meaning that everything they do will be under my scrutiny, and must therefore be able to respond to my comments and observations with a professional detachment that does not misinterpret any of my comments and observations as a personal judgment of who they are as individuals or the quality of their skills as a practitioner. Everything I express will always be clinically neutral and objective and must be received with the same clinical neutrality and objectivity.

Not everyone is intended for this kind of experience, and every prospective MMR practitioner must first determine if this experience is personally feasible and can be maintained at an appropriate level of clinical objectivity, integrity, professionalism, and commitment.

The Making Math Real Lab School Mentorship Program can also be applied for classroom teachers and it is intended that the school/district would cover the costs. The overall structure for the classroom model is similar to the individual student model described above. Click here for classroom model details.

The character traits necessary for the coachable MMR practitioner include being:

  • proactive,
  • motivated,
  • expansive,
  • open-minded,
  • flexible,
  • committed,
  • clinical,
  • professional,
  • stable,
  • observant (to detail),
  • able to generate clinically significant observation notes.

Will There Be Certification for MMR Practitioners?

Yes, the possibility of certification can be the result of a practitioner’s successful long-term experience in the Making Math Real Lab School Mentorship Program.

Since the purpose of the Mentorship Program is the development of a clinically applied education practice, as I observe the practitioner’s consistent ability to establish and maintain clinically prescriptive interventions for three or more students with different processing styles and at various levels of math development over a period of at least one year for each, I will, on my discretion, grant certification in the practice of Making Math Real to that practitioner.

Certification will be entirely based on the practitioner’s work in the field, therefore, certification will not be based on exams, orals, boards, etc. Once I am convinced of the practitioner’s comprehensive clinical practice, certification will be granted.

Certification will indicate that the clinical educator is independently able to:

  • Provide initial assessment to determine students’ processing indications, development, and current skills levels, which may also include the ability to accurately interpret data from a variety of additional sources: psychometric testing, IEPs, reports from teachers, parents, and reports from allied professionals: occupational therapists, speech and language pathologists, educational therapists, medical professionals, etc.
  • Create individually prescriptive scopes and sequences based on initial assessment and provide comprehensive instruction as the sole provider of students’ (independent study) math programs
  • Deliver MMR methods correctly in alignment with students’ processing indications
  • Correctly interpret and diagnose student’s ongoing affective and cognitive behaviors and appropriately adapt all curriculum delivery to be in alignment with clinical interpretations and diagnoses
  • Continue to deepen and refine students’ individual prescriptions
  • Establish effective rapport with students and employ effective management structures
  • Maintain effective and comprehensive clinical observation notes
  • Sustain effective communication with parents, schools, teachers, allied professionals, etc.
  • Maintain comprehensive documentation of all forms of students’ progress and development including work samples, assessments, reports, etc., and, as needed, provide reports to parents, IEP teams, allied professionals, etc.
  • Write prescriptive students’ goals and objectives for parents or IEPs
  • Independently and appropriately adapt and refine instructional practices that have not been included in the MMR courses

Making Math Real Certification will include:

  • All certified MMR practitioners will receive a certification document from the MMRI, and will have the option to be listed on MMR’s website.
  • On the MMR website, all certified MMR practitioners are welcome to include any personal statements about the services they provide and any contact information for prospective clients.
  • Although it has been a strict policy of the MMRI that we do not make referrals, ALL certified practitioners will be the only practitioners to receive referrals, both from the website as well as in verbal and written communications from the institute and from me.

Please Stay Tuned for More Upcoming Full Descriptions of the New Making Math Real Institute
Services for Clinical Development.

Next Up: The Making Math Real Supervision Program

Please stay tuned for the next full description of the new Making Math Real Institute Supervision Program: the broadest scope and most accessible of the Institute’s programs for helping MMR practitioners become complete clinical math educators.

Be well and stay healthy.

David Berg, E.T.
Founder & Director of the Making Math Real Institute
Creator of the Making Math Real Simultaneous Multisensory Structured Methods

Looking Forward to the Next 25 Years – Part 2

Part 2:
Making Math Real Intensive Mini-Courses

In looking forward to the next 25 years, the MMRI, in addition to continuing its focus on providing and expanding the 700 hours of seminars currently available, will present a new focus on providing significant support in helping MMR practitioners maximize their development as clinical math educators. I will be offering the following new structures to implement this new focus on the clinical development of MMR practitioners and all will be presented in a distance-learning format:

MAKING MATH REAL INTENSIVE MINI-COURSES
Distance-Learning Format

The Intensive Mini-Courses are for participants seeking maximum support for learning Making Math Real concept-applications. I created the Intensive Mini-Courses to provide additional opportunities for participants’ increased integration on specific MMR content areas that are critically important as fundamentals, and are extremely large in scope and incrementation. Although the courses that contain the content selected for the Intensive Mini-Courses provide sufficient coverage of the content, and are ready to apply directly with students, the Intensive Mini-Courses provide a slowed-down instructional delivery and increased time to focus on the respective concept-applications presented, which expands the time given to each Intensive Mini-Course content area from a few hours in the regular courses to up to 16 to 24 hours in the Intensive Mini-Courses.

Intensive Mini-Courses Provide Rare Opportunities for High Priority Content – Once Offered, Each Intensive Mini-Course May Not be Offered Again For A Long Time

My selection of content areas to present in the Intensive Mini-Courses is culled from all 12 of the Making Math Real Series of Courses. This means I intend to present a large variety of different Intensive Mini-Courses in the series. Please note that once an Intensive Mini-Course has been offered, it is likely not be offered again for two to three years. For example, three previous Intensive Mini-Courses offered in summer 2020, Long Division, Fractions On the Number Line & Decimals On the Number Line, and Decimal Long Division all of which are extremely valuable content areas will not be offered again for two to three years. Do not miss out on these rare opportunities. However, it is possible for a group of 20 or more participants to formally request a repeat offering of a previous Intensive Mini-Course through a Making Math Real Institute If You Build It, We Will Comeby popular demand campaign.

Attendance in an Intensive Mini-Course requires participants to have previously completed or currently be enrolled in the course(s) from which the content has been selected. For example, for the two Intensive Mini-Courses scheduled for Spring 2021, Comparing & Ordering Fractions and Mental Percent Problem Solving, each course requires participants to have completed or currently be enrolled in Fractions, Decimals & Advanced Place Value for the Comparing & Ordering Fractions Intensive Mini-Course, and Pre-Algebra for the Mental Percent Problem Solving Intensive Mini-Course.

Since each Intensive Mini-Course requires participants to have already learned the baseline fundamental concept-applications in their respective regular courses, each participant should have their respective class notes for the designated content, and therefore, those class notes will be a part of the required “readers” for the course. In addition to the class notes, there may be additional materials/readers required for each Intensive Mini-Course. All such additional materials/readers will be provided by the MMRI by US mail prior to the start of each Intensive Mini-Course, and all of these additional materials/readers will be covered in the price of enrollment.* Please note that MMRI copyright policy does not allow for any form of digital files, so all materials/readers must be mailed in hard copy form. 

Consequently, please enroll in the Intensive Mini-Courses as early as possible and at least one week prior to their respective start dates as this will allow sufficient time for material/readers to be mailed and received prior the start of each class. Enrollment will be open through the day prior to each Intensive Mini-Course however, participants who enroll at the last minute may not receive mailed materials by the start of class. Participants who request overnight services for mailed materials/readers will cover those costs.

* Materials such as manipulatives, colored markers, note taking paper, etc., are provided by each participant, not the MMRI.

The First Intensive Mini-Course of Spring 2021 Starts February 13

The first Intensive Mini-Course of spring 2021, Comparing & Ordering Fractions, is an invaluable opportunity for developing the understanding and applications of fraction magnitude and starts on Saturday, February 13, 2021. This Intensive Mini-Course is six 4-hour classes on Saturdays and Sundays from 9:00 AM – 1:00 PM PST from February 13-14, 27-28, and March 13-14, and will be presented via distance learning on Zoom. Please click here for a full description of the Intensive Mini-Course, Comparing & Ordering Fractions.

I have just published a new book in the Making Math Real Fractions Instructional Materials Series*, “Fractions III: Comparing and Ordering Fractions”, which will be the required instructional guide for this course. This brand new book will be shipped to you prior to the start of the class and is included as part of the course tuition. Fractions III: Comparing and Ordering Fractions is the result of many years of work and provides comprehensive structures and incrementation in the guided application practice for comparing, ordering, and rounding proper and mixed fractions mentally and for comparing and ordering proper and mixed fractions mathematically.

* The Making Math Real Fractions instructional materials series currently includes three books, Fractions I, Fractions IIA, and Fractions IIB

Enrollment in the Intensive Mini-Course, Comparing & Ordering Fractions, requires all participants to have completed or currently be enrolled in Making Math Real:  Fractions, Decimals & Advanced Place Value. In addition to the new Fractions III book, please also bring your class notes on all of the comparing, ordering, and rounding fractions.

The Next Intensive Mini-Course of Spring 2021 Starts April 17

The next Intensive Mini-Course of spring 2021, Mental Percent Problem Solving, provides powerful mental math development in support of all percent problem solving including solving for part, total, and percent as well as percent change and starts on Saturday, April 17, 2021. This Intensive Mini-Course is four 4-hour classes on Saturdays and Sundays from 9:00 AM – 1:00 PM PST from April 17-18 and May 22-23, 2021, and will be presented via distance learning on Zoom. Please click here for a full description of the Intensive Mini-Course, Mental Percent Problem Solving.  Please note, in addition to the significant benefits of all the percent solving structures included in this course, the mental applications of percent solving provide extensive synthesis integration of symbol imaging for the 9 Lines and fractions applications.

As part of this Intensive Mini-Course and prior to the start of class, all participants will receive by mail a specially prepared packet that provides examples of necessary structures and increments. The contents of this packet are representative excerpts from the forthcoming book: “Mental Percent Problem Solving”. Enrollment in the Intensive Mini-Course, Mental Percent Problem Solving, requires all participants to have completed or currently be enrolled in Pre-Algebra. Please also bring your class notes on all of the mental percent solving from the Pre-Algebra course.

NOTE: Making Math Real: Pre-Algebra starts February 6, 2021, and registration is still open for this course.

We hope to see all of you in the next two Intensive Mini-Courses,Comparing & Ordering Fractions and Mental Percent Problem Solving.

Please Stay Tuned for More Upcoming Full Descriptions of the New Making Math Real Institute Services for Clinical Development. Next Up: The Making Math Real Lab School Mentorship Program (LSMP)

Please stay tuned for the next full description of the new Making Math Real Institute Lab School Mentorship Program: the highest level and most intensive and comprehensive experience in helping MMR practitioners become complete clinical math educators.

Be well and stay healthy.

David Berg, E.T.
Founder & Director of the Making Math Real Institute
Creator of the Making Math Real Simultaneous Multisensory Structured Methods

Looking Forward to the Next 25 Years

A Focus on the Clinical Experience of Teaching Math:
New Expansions to Services Provided by
the Making Math Real Institute

Making Math Real is a Power Tool

Since 1996, expanding and evolving the transformative power of teaching math K-12… For those of you who know about the “power tool” in the exponent code, it’s the power transformer in a powers of 10 system that allows us to power count 1, 10, 100, 1,000, 10,000,… For the last 25 years, Making Math Real has been the power transformer for our students.

In looking forward to the next 25 years, the MMRI, in addition to continuing its focus on providing and expanding the 700 hours of seminars currently available, will present a new focus on providing significant support in helping MMR practitioners maximize their development as clinical math educators. I will be offering the following new structures to implement this new focus on the clinical development of MMR practitioners and all will be presented in a distance-learning format:

The Making Math Real Lab School Mentorship Program:

The highest level and most intensive and comprehensive experience in helping MMR practitioners become complete clinical math educators. The possibility of receiving certification from David Berg and the Making Math Real Institute can be an additional outcome of the MMR practitioner’s successful mentorship experience. The Lab School Mentorship Program (LSMP) is intended for highly experienced MMR practitioners and/or classroom teachers who have completed most or all of the MMR series of 12 courses, and most importantly, have been successfully practicing and applying MMR-based interventions at various levels and with students with diverse processing styles for two or more years. Full description coming soon.

The Making Math Real Supervision Program:

The Making Math Real Supervision Program is intended to support MMR practitioners at varying stages of their development from those who have completed at least the Making Math Real: Overview, K-12 and one additional major course such as the 9 Lines Intensive, The Four Operations & the 400 Math Facts, or Fractions, Decimals, and Advanced Place Value all the way to those who have completed all of the MMR courses, but are not yet ready for the Lab School Mentorship Program. The Supervision Program is less intensive than the Lab School Mentorship Program and is structured to help MMR practitioners successfully apply the MMR methods in correct alignment with students’ processing indications. Participant’s successful experience in the Making Math Real Supervision Program can provide the preparation needed for candidacy in the Lab School Mentorship Program. Full description coming soon.

Clinician’s Corner:

Clinician’s Corner will start out as a regularly scheduled monthly open discussion group in which will I respond to questions/requests from MMR practitioners. The intended format of Clinician’s Corner is to encourage questions and support pertaining to the clinical aspects of establishing and maintaining MMR-based interventions, specifically the development of the practitioner’s ability to clinically observe and interpret students’ affective and cognitive behaviors. Clinician’s Corner is structured for intermediate to advanced practitioners who have completed a baseline of coursework and have been applying MMR-based methods for students at various levels and diverse processing styles. Full description coming soon.

Making Math Real Intensive Mini-Courses:

A new and dedicated branch of the MMRI’s series of courses is the Mini-Intensives. Three Mini-Intensives, Long Division, Decimal Long Division, and Fractions on the Number Line & Decimals on the Number Line were presented in summer 2020, and two additional Mini-Intensives are scheduled for Spring 2021: Comparing and Ordering Fractions and Mental Percent Solving. The Mini-Intensives provide opportunities for participants to receive more expansive and in-depth integration of specific MMR content areas that are critically important as fundamentals, and extremely large in scope and incrementation. Based on the success of the Mini Intensives so far, the MMRI will continue to offer an ongoing series of these courses as a permanent inclusion within our regular series of 12 institute seminars. Full description coming soon.

Please Stay Tuned for Upcoming Full Descriptions

Please stay tuned in the coming months for the full descriptions of each new Making Math Real Institute structure as part of the ongoing series “Looking Forward to the Next 25 Years”. We are pleased and excited to begin implementing this new focus on the clinical development of MMR practitioners world wide.

Be well and stay healthy.

David Berg, E.T.
Founder & Director of the Making Math Real Institute
Creator of the Making Math Real Simultaneous Multisensory Structured Methods