Phone: (630) 682-2065


Degrees and Certifications:

BA Elementary Education, MA Mathematics Education, MA Educational Leadership

Ms. Michelle Fitzenreider

I began teaching at Hawthorne School in 2001 and there's no place I'd rather be! I feel very fortunate to be teaching alongside amazing teachers who guide students toward seeing math all around them, having confidence in their own mathematical thinking, and loving math (or at least liking it). Sometimes I come across people who are confused about the way math is being taught in schools. Perhaps it looks different from their childhood memories. I’d like to invite you to consider some of the changes you might be observing in mathematics education.

  • There is no math gene. All students can learn the strategies that they need to be successful in mathematics in school and in life. Math ability is not a trait that’s inherited. If your parents were bad at math, that doesn’t mean that you will be too. We learn math by practicing it. This ideology is often referred to as a growth mindset. My favorite book that addresses this is called Mathematical Mindsets by Jo Boaler.
  • Have you ever wondered, “why are my kids learning this?” When you understand the string of learning that occurs from grade level to grade level, the pieces and reasons why become clearer than when you see the math tasks in isolation. Teachers use learning progressions to understand what kids need to know next or what they know already. I find Graham Fletcher’s progression videos very helpful in simply describing how number concepts build throughout elementary school.
  • “What do you think?” and “why do you think so?” are the two best questions that you can ask your student to help them at home. Parents or other family members play a crucial roll in student learning. Helping can be frustrating when our methods don’t match the strategies that are being taught in school. Try the approach from a video called “How to Talk Math with Your Kids.” Also, remember that your child’s classroom teacher or math coach,, are a great resource for tips on how to help.