Mary Zastrow, a Grade 7, Grade 8, and Algebra teacher at Reedsville Jr/Sr High School of the Reedsville School District (WI), has been named the Open Up Resources Teacher of the Month for August. Zastrow is being recognized for her outstanding work in her classroom and ongoing support of teachers across the country as a member of the Open Up Resources National Professional Learning Community.
Zastrow’s work with Open Up Resources 6–8 Math makes her one of the most innovative teachers in the country. The Open Up Resources 6–8 Math curriculum inspires a new way of teaching math by transforming classrooms into “hives of activity” focusing on discussion, questioning, debate, and the deeper conceptual learning of mathematics that follows.
Michelle Butturini, a colleague in the Reedsville School District, nominated Zastrow for her passion for building relationships with students and supporting them in their math journey. Butturini shared, “Mary does an excellent job of connecting with her students in a very personal way. She is constantly finding ways to reach ALL students in her classroom. She often gives up her prep and lunch time to help students who are struggling or need some extension beyond the classroom.”
Zastrow raved about the confidence she has seen as her students engaged in the curriculum. She shared, “So many students come to middle school math with this idea that they are not good at math, they hate it, they can't understand it… Open Up Resources has helped my classroom "burst" with more math confidence then I have ever seen before with other curriculum. Kids are talking, they are excited, they are engaged, they are sharing their knowledge and their confidence continues to grow as the year progresses. The best sound of the day is when students groan when I tell them that class is almost over. I love the fact that they want MORE.”
Zastrow shared some advice for teachers considering adopting the Open Up Resources 6–8 Math curriculum: “Don't spend any more time considering… Jump right in. You won't regret it! Your students will become more proficient at math reasoning and communicating that reasoning. The connections from one concept to another is amazing and you can easily see how things progress from one grade to the next. I love that! The resources are so helpful and the flow of the lessons really make the curriculum engaging to students.”
Open Up Resources is a non-profit on a mission to increase equity in education by making excellent, top-rated curricula freely available to districts. You can learn more at www.openupresources.org.