Big Ideas Learning Debuts NEW Websites!

Big Ideas Learning is excited to announce the debut of our website,, and the redesign of

Currently, when a visitor goes to he or she is redirected to the Big Ideas Math companion website, Beginning on Saturday, April 5th, will now feature information about the Big Ideas Math program, Big Ideas Learning Professional Development, and the Big Ideas Math Blog.

To coincide with this release we have also updated the Big Ideas Math companion website. The new website will feature a sleeker design, but will include the same functionality and familiarity of the current website to allow teachers and students continued ease and access.

To access all of your Big Ideas Math program resources, choose your role from the homepage OR select the “Teachers” or “Students” tab.

From the teacher view, once you are logged in, you will have full access to the Dynamic Classroom and all of the other resources on the website in the same area you have become accustomed to.

Students can login to access the Dynamic Student Edition or can view the Easy Access Home Edition without a username and password.

Thank you for being a Big Ideas Math program user and we look forward to continuing to provide you with the latest technological resources to enhance your 21st century classroom experience.



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As always, the Big Ideas Learning technical support team is here to assist you if you need any additional guidance.You can contact technical support from 8:00am to 5:00pm EST Monday through Friday by calling (877) 552-7766.

You can also e-mail technical support 24 hours a day by visiting A member of our support team will reply within 24 hours.

Big Ideas Learning Leadership Conference & Recap

Two weeks ago, Big Ideas Learning met with administrators in Michigan for the Big Ideas Math Symposium. Teachers and Administrators had the opportunity to meet and talk with authors Dr. Ron Larson and Dr. Laurie Boswell as well as meet and talk with Denise McDowell, Barb Webber and users of the Big Ideas Math program.

Recently, Cherie Maher, a math teacher from the Troy School District shared with us her wonderful story and picture:

“I enjoyed and appreciated everything I learned today at the Big Ideas Conference.  Thanks for your hard work to help us implement this new book.

“I wanted to share a funny story… Tonight, I showed my new Big Ideas T-shirt to my boys that are in 3rd grade and 10th grade.  Immediately, they both shouted out their answers to how many 1/2’s are in 1/4.  The 10th grader shouted out ‘2’ and the 3rd grader shouted out ‘that’s easy, 1/2!’  My 10th grader gave a condescending smile, and my 3rd grader gave a sheepish grin.  It was great to see their reactions when they found out that the younger brother was right!”

 “I have another son in 8th grade who was not around at the time, but later I asked him.  His response was ‘2, no 8!!!’ “

                                                          (Cherie Maher with her sons)

Thanks for the great story and even better picture, Cherie! Do you have a story about the Big Ideas Math program? Let us know in the comments below!

Big Ideas Math 3-Tier RTI Model

Response to Intervention (RTI), a framework for modifying instruction based on early evaluation of student-learning needs, is gaining traction in schools. The Big Ideas Math program completely supports the 3-tier model. Using research-based instructional strategies, Big Ideas Math helps teachers reach, challenge, and motivate each student utilizing the three tiers. Opportunities for daily assessment help identify areas of needs and easy-to-use resources are provided to support the education of all students. Following Big Ideas Math’s 3-Tier RTI, you will be able to set your students up for success in the classroom.

Big Ideas Math and 3-Tier RTI:

Tier 1: Daily Intervention

The Big Ideas Math program uses research-based instructional strategies to ensure quality instruction. Vocabulary support, cooperative learning opportunities, and graphic organizers are included in the Pupil Edition, with additional strategies throughout the program. Daily student reviews and assessment guarantee that every student is making regular progress. Complete support helps teachers personalize instruction for every student.

Tier 2: Strategic Intervention

The Big Ideas Math program facilitates increased time and focus on instruction for students who are not responding effectively to Tier 1 intervention. The program’s ancillary materials include additional support to assist teachers with the needs of these struggling learners. Such examples include Fair Game Reviews, Graphic Organizers, Study Tips, and Real-Life Applications. These supplements help to enhance learning and engage the diverse students within today’s math classrooms. Additionally, using the classroom and online resources provided, teachers can reach, challenge and motive each student with instruction targeted to their individual needs.

Using the classroom and online resources provided, teachers can reach, challenge, and motivate each student with germane, high-quality instruction targeted to their individual needs.


Tier 3: Customized Learning Intervention

In Tier 3, support for students working below grade level is also available by employing the intensive intervention lessons and activities offered in the Big Ideas Math series. The Differentiating the Lesson guide provides teachers with both an overview of each chapter’s lessons and detailed notes on lesson preparation and lesson procedures, including instruction and demonstration suggestions and worksheets. The Big Ideas Math Skills Review Handbook provides complete coverage of pre-course skills including Key Concepts, Vocabulary, Visual Models and Practice Makes Perfect. The Teaching Edition contains complete Differentiated Instruction Notes, written by Master Teacher Laurie Boswell, and includes ideas on introducing and motivating the lesson as well as comprehensive notes on activities and examples.



“A set of training wheels on a bicycle is a classic example of scaffolding. It is adjustable and temporary, providing the young rider with the support he or she needs while learning to ride a two-wheeler. Without an aid of this sort, the complex tasks of learning to pedal, balance, and steer all at one time would be extremely difficult, if not impossible, for many youngsters. This scaffold—training wheels—allows the learners to accomplish a goal, riding a bicycle successfully, and then to happily pedal his or her way into the wider world.” 

~Michael F. Graves, Bonnie Graves, and Sheldon Braaten, “Scaffolded Reading Experiences for Inclusive Classes”

 Scaffolding, sometimes referred to as guided practice, is a learning process that promotes a deeper level of understanding for students by providing learning support when a new skill or concept is introduced. As students gain a deeper understanding of the material, the support is gradually taken away so that the students gain confidence in their own abilities. Scaffolding provided can help a student or class to perform the skill independently more quickly.

Here are some day-to-day tips for your classroom when it comes to scaffolding:

  1. Know your students and understand the learning styles (visual, audio, kinesthetic etc.)
  2. Provide clear directions to reduce student confusion (hints, suggestions etc.)
  3. Give advice and provide help on how to start a math problem (provide models)
  4. Provide models of work for students to examine themselves and draw their own conclusions.
  5. Show worked out problems with step by step guidance (in books for example)
  6. Create an outline for the curriculum
  7. Identify student needs and answer any questions
  8. Monitor and evaluate (as students gain better understanding, provide less support)
  9. Have students ask and answer questions

Did you know that scaffolding is embedded into the Big Ideas Math program? Stepped-Out Examples and Study Tips are just two examples of scaffolding techniques this program provides. 

Additional Resources:

The concept of scaffolding is based on the theory of Lev Vygotsky’s ‘Zone of Proximal Development.’ Zone of Proximal Development.

How do you use scaffolding in your classroom? Share your scaffolding stories in our comments.

Guest Blog: Lou Montiel

It’s the start of a new year for us here at Big Ideas. We are all very excited to start the journey with you and look forward to this year’s blog and the blog entries we have in store for all of you. This week, our guest blog comes from one of our consultants, Lou Montiel.


Out with the Old…

The pendulum swings, the twelfth bell rings, the ball drops, and just like that it’s a new year!  For me, the new year is an inflection point. It is a new iteration. It’s an opportunity for reflection and perhaps redirection.  For many in the teaching profession, we set goals for ourselves and our students at the beginning of the school year.  The new year is a great time reevaluate those goals, or to start anew.  Here are some things you might consider as you continue the journey forward and show that you CARE:

 Celebrate!  Revel in the things that have been successful for you.  Identify your successes and think about what things contributed to creating that success for you.  Can these things be replicated across other arenas, or with other individuals?  For example, I had a student once that had a difficult time understanding how to solve a proportion.  I taught this student the rule for solving a proportion using a body kinesthetic math cheer.  Once I saw how well she understood using this method, I applied it to other students with equal success!

Analyze!  Have you ever stopped to consider how you spend your time during a typical class?  What behaviors are you engaging in that are productive? What behaviors are wasting time? What things have a high positive impact on students? What things have a low positive impact or even a negative impact on students? The answers to these questions are revealing and can often lead to changed behaviors with higher student success outcomes. I once had a trusted colleague observe my class while I was teaching and keep track of the percentage of students engaged during various parts of my lesson.  It turned out that when I spent too much time explaining things that did not need explanation a high percentage of students became disengaged, but when I was teaching something new the interest level went up.

Refresh!  AHHH, just saying this word makes me feel better!  To refresh is to renew energy, to reactivate memory, to replenish, or to update.  All of these things are important when we teach. And when it comes to setting goals, sometimes we need to refresh our motivation to strive for those things which we set out at the onset with such great vigor only to have that vitality wane away over the course of time. Sometimes all it takes is to keep our goals in front of us, visible, tangible, and intentional.  My wife often teases me about all the silly sticky notes she finds in various places where we live. She finds them on my bathroom mirror, on my nightstand, on the dashboard of my car, on my computer lid, on the refrigerator door and in other places. But for me, these notes refresh my memory and help me keep motivated towards goal attainment.

Eliminate!  Out with the old in with the new!  Stop doing things that don’t work. It’s crazy to expect bad practices to lead to good results.  Replace behaviors that bear no fruit with new seeds of hope and possibility.  Try something new this year.  You may be surprised it could become your new favorite thing.

Best wishes for a successful start of the new year!