The fourth graders were ready to learn long division; however, their teachers were hesitant to begin the unit—just as they are every year. In a grade-level meeting with the school's math consultant, the teachers voiced their typical concerns. The math consultant was a university mathematics education professor spending a semester of sabbatical working with teachers to find ways to help elementary-aged students get excited about doing math and about learning to make sense of math through problem-solving activities.
Patricia A. Sellers teaches elementary school mathematics methods courses at DePauw University in Greencastle, Indiana. She is interested in finding ways to promote independent problem solving and ways for elementary school students to make sense of their mathematical thinking and reasoning. Edited by Sueanne E. McKinney, firstname.lastname@example.org, an assistant professor of Educational Curriculum and Instruction/STEM at Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Virginia. The “from the classroom,” department, dedicated to practicing elementary school teachers, is a forum for sharing knowledge that is daily generated and used in classroom settings. Send manuscript submissions (less than 2000 words) by accessing http://tcm.msubmit.net. See detailed submission guidelines at www.nctm.org/tcmdepartments.