Marilyn Burns is the founder of Math Solutions Professional Development, dedicated to helping schools improve K–8 mathematics teaching. For more than 20 years, Math Solutions Professional Development has served over 500 districts in 47 states, helping more than 100,000 teachers and administrators through inservice programs, professional books, videotapes, and on-site school support.
A former classroom teacher, Ms. Burns continues to work with students while writing professional resources for teachers. Her more than 20 Math Solutions professional books publications include titles in three important series: Teaching Arithmetic, Grades 1–6; Lessons for Algebraic Thinking, Grades K–8; and Math and Literature, Grades K–8. Her resource About Teaching Mathematics, now in its second edition, is widely used by K–8 teachers and in preservice education courses. She has also written Math: Facing an American Phobia, which makes the case for why what was good enough for us when learning math is not good enough for children today, and So You Have to Teach Math? Sound Advice for K–6 Teaching, which answers questions teachers have raised about teaching math. Her other books include Writing in Math Class and A Collection of Math Lessons for Grades 1–3, 3–6, and 6–8. She created Scholastic’s five Marilyn Burns Classroom Math Libraries, one each for Grades K, 1, 2, 3, and one library for Grades 4–6; each includes 25 children’s read-aloud books useful for teaching mathematics and an accompanying teaching guide with lessons for each book. Her professional articles have appeared in Instructor, Educational Leadership, The Journal for Staff Development, Kappan, and others.
Ms. Burns has developed four series of professional development videotapes that show actual lessons taught to students in K–8 classrooms. “Teaching for Understanding” shows how the NCTM Standards can be implemented in elementary classrooms. “Mathematics with Manipulatives” demonstrates how to use manipulative materials in K–6 classes. “Assessing Understanding” shows individual assessments that focus on number sense and understanding of place value, whole number operations, and fractions. “Mathematics for Middle School” shows problem-solving lessons in Grades 6–8. All four series were produced for the Cuisenaire Company of America.
Ms. Burns has also developed a 20-minute videotape for parents, “Mathematics: What Are You Teaching My Child?” A collaboration between Scholastic and Cuisenaire, this videotape helps parents understand why and how math teaching today is different from what they experienced.
She continues to bring her messages directly to children and is the author of more than ten books for children, including the best-selling The I Hate Mathematics! Book, first published more than 25 years ago and now translated into German, Japanese, and Hebrew. In 1994, Ms. Burns launched Marilyn Burns Brainy Day Books for Scholastic with The Greedy Triangle; there are now five books in the series, including the favorite Spaghetti and Meatballs for All.
In 1991, Ms. Burns was awarded an honorary doctorate degree from Bank Street College of Education in New York. In 1996, she was the recipient of the Glenn Gilbert National Leadership Award, given by the National Council of Supervisors of Mathematics to one mathematics educator each year. In 1997, she received the Louise Hay Award for Contributions to Mathematics Education by the Association for Women in Mathematics.
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