• Bachelors degree Early Childhood and Elementary Education
  • Teacher Consultant with the Northern Virginia Writing Project
  • Diocesan Teacher of the year 2012
  • Awarded ING Unsung Heroes Award for Innovations in Teaching 2012
  • 25 years teaching experience in Catholic Schools in Nebraska, New York and Virginia

“This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, a hope both sure and steadfast.” –Hebrews 6:19




Please have your summer work done by the first day of school!


Dear Parents of 4A and 4B!


This year brings with it a great deal of change to fourth grade.  I’m excited to instruct math to both classes this year and to do it with best practices in mind.  One of the best methods of teaching math is the use of a workshop model that differentiates instruction for each child, gets students engaged in mathematical reasoning, builds conceptual understanding and helps students develop a growth mindset whereby students are unafraid of the learning process and grow from their mistakes.  It’s through the use of guided math that all of this and more will take place.  

Why Guided Math?

Guided math differentiates instruction for each child based on assessments done before and during instruction.  Students work at levels of instruction that are just right, neither too easy nor too challenging, and they do much of this in groups.  Students complete tasks in one of three ways; with the teacher, in small groups and independently. Your child will discuss math topics, defend their reasoning and develop strategies for problem solving.  Guided math works because students are engaged at their instructional level as they participate in small group instruction, small group games and discussions, and alone with more confidence than if they had learned in a large group setting.  Grouping is flexible and can change based on your student’s mathematical fluency within a given unit. Ongoing assessment makes that possible.

What will it look like?

The time your child spends on math each day will be slightly longer each day.  As students begin class they will spend time with some warm-up routines that include work with the calendar and number of the day whereby students will work with tally charts, graphs and percentages and manipulate numbers in a variety of ways.  They will then complete shared problem solving in their math journals. This portion of the guided math class takes about twenty minutes.

For the next ten minutes a mini-lesson is presented to the entire class on the major concepts of the week.  This gives the class a starting point for the work they will complete as they begin working cooperatively in math centers.

Then students will be found working in a variety of ways.  Students may play math games with a partner or small group, work on concepts independently using our Chromebooks, create slide presentations using Google Classroom to show their understanding of math concepts and meet with me to work on areas of need. You may also find me interviewing students and taking running records of their understanding to ensure proper grouping going forward.  One thing you’ll definitely notice is the engagement and newfound confidence of the students.


How can I help?

  • Encourage your child to discuss his/her understanding with you.  Ask about his/her day, his/her homework, and how he/she feels about math.
  • Once a month I’d like to get parents involved in our math time.  If you are VIRTUS trained and have all the background paperwork done and on file with the office, we’d love to have you join us!  
  • Review your child’s graded work, contact me with concerns and help your child embrace frustrations and mistakes as part of a growth mindset.  Together we’ll make wonderful learning take place this year!



Mrs. McNamara