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Rebeka Eston Salemi
Rebeka Eston Salemi is a kindergarten teacher at the Lincoln School in Lincoln, Massachusetts. From the beginning of her career to the present she has firmly committed to being a classroom teacher who puts her students and their growing understandings and confidence at the heart of what she does.
While earning a Bachelor of Science in Education degree from Lesley (College) University with a specialization as an Elementary Mathematics Resource Personnel, Becky had the good fortune to meet Linda Schulman Dacey who served as her instructor and advisor and transformed her way of thinking about teaching and learning mathematics. “Shared understanding through problem solving was the hallmark of Linda’s courses. With each problem I tackled, I realized I deepened my conceptual understandings and gained confidence in my own mathematical ability. A seed was planted then that I wanted to do the same for all of my future students.”
Once in the elementary classroom, Becky realized that she needed a firmer understanding of other curricular areas. In pursuit of trying to develop her teaching of literacy skills with the same grounding as she had in mathematics, Becky became involved in Whole Language Teachers Association in Massachusetts. Her work with leaders such as Bobbi Fisher, Don Holdaway, Irene Fountas and countless others gave balance to her teaching and laid the foundation for the work she continues to this day, creating daily meaningful reading and writing opportunities for her young students.
Becky refocused her efforts on teaching mathematics when she became involved in several long-term NSF-funded projects such as “Talking Mathematics,” “Teaching to the Big Ideas” (TBI), and “Developing Mathematical Ideas” (DMI). She is sited as a Collaborating Teacher for the Investigations in Number, Data, and Space mathematics curriculum developed by TERC in Cambridge, MA. She was a contributing author of the first edition of Investigations and several of her teacher reflections have been published in DMI materials and other teacher resources developed by Deborah Schifter, Susan Jo Russell, and Virginia Bastable. In addition, Becky has collaborated with Linda Dacey on several other books, and an article entitled, “A Problem Worth Revisiting” published in NCTM’s Teaching Children Mathematics journal.
“I feel so fortunate to have participated in a number of long-term professional development opportunities that have transformed my thinking about best practices for instruction in literacy, math, science, and more. My classroom is alive every day with the sounds of children joyfully learning because of what I have learned from so many other ground-breaking educators.”
When asked why she was interested in working on a book about Writing in Math, Becky cited her belief that even the youngest voices have powerful ideas to share and that giving these students the opportunities to pursue meaningful tasks, develop their own strategies, and find ways to share their thinking both aloud and on paper has been a perfect blend of what she values most in her teaching. “There is nothing more exciting for me than seeing how a child makes connections and represents their ideas so that they can be shared with others. Working with Linda and Kathy has given me a new way to share that excitement with others, too.”