Severn News

Week of Inspirational Math Builds Healthy Mindsets for Success

To start the year on Chesapeake Campus, Lower School Math Specialist Ms. Stacy Shaener leads students in grades k-5 through creative, open, and meaningful math activities. These lessons show our students how to approach learning math with a growth mindset. It’s about taking the time to think deeply and try different strategies until you find what works for you. The Week of Inspirational Math curriculum teaches our students to collaborate, communicate and build the confidence to tackle any math challenge.


Ms. Shaener uses the Youcubed Week of Inspirational Math curriculum developed by Jo Boaler of Stanford University for these first few weeks of school. Each lesson begins with a kid-friendly video to help students focus on how to think about math rather than computation. The videos contain healthy mindset messages to help our students see themselves as capable mathematicians:
  • Understanding and focus are more important than speed.
  • If you struggle with math, that means you’re learning. 
  • If something doesn't work, try something different but don't give up.

Discuss and Share

After watching the video, students talk in small groups about their own experiences with math. Ms. Shaener asks questions to help them make connections as they discuss. It’s a judgment-free zone where students feel comfortable sharing both struggles and successes.

Ready, Set, Math!

Following the discussion, Ms. Shaener explains the creative math task for the day. These tasks involve math skills from visualizing quantities to estimating and making convincing arguments — differentiated per grade to meet our students at the right developmental level. Every math activity is different, but they are all high-energy and cooperative. Our students learn that with the right mindset and teamwork, overcoming frustration in math is not only possible but a lot of fun too. 

Check out this video for a peek at what Inspirational Math looks like in our classrooms!

Support for our Students, Support for our Teachers

We are committed to meeting the individual needs of a diverse group of learners at Severn and believe that children do best when they have a committed team of adults supporting them. Mrs. Shaener helps our Lower School students make math a priority, while also making it fun. She keeps up-to-date on new and better ways to engage our kids in authentic problem-solving activities and works closely with teachers to keep every student moving forward with confidence in math.

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    • Ms. Shaener and Leo '28 review mindset messages on the board after the lesson.

Lower School

Preschool-Grade 5
Chesapeake Campus
1185 Baltimore Annapolis Blvd
Arnold, MD 21012

Middle/Upper School

Grade 6-12
Teel Campus
Severna Park, MD 21146