The Kay Toliver Files Complete Series


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The Kay Toliver Files Complete Series (staff development)
Sixteen 15-to-20 minute programs that complement The Eddie Files, showing teachers step-by-step how to deliver lessons on elementary mathematics topics which excite student interest, engage their problem-solving and communication skills and develop computational and reasoning skills.


Sixteen 15-to-20 minute programs that complement The Eddie Files, showing teachers step-by-step how to deliver lessons on elementary mathematics topics which excite student interest, engage their problem-solving and communication skills and develop computational and reasoning skills.

Teacher guides include resources for turning each Kay Toliver Files program into a complete half-day professional development workshop. Endorsed by the National Association of Elementary School Principals.

Watch a clip of The Kay Toliver Files:

The Kay Toliver Files File Box #1
Welcome to Mathematics -
Ms. Toliver brings her students to an understanding of the value of mathematics in communication and as a tool for solving problems that have real-world relevance to her students.

Estimation - Ms. Toliver begins by asking her students to estimate the number of biscuits in a large box, then guides them through a process of refining their estimate using small, proportionate boxes.

Fractions - Ms. Toliver bases this lesson on equivalent fractions on an activity called “The Great Pizza Swap.”

Polygons - Ms. Toliver reviews polygons while guiding students in their investigation of the third dimension, as they transform polygons into polyhedra.

The Kay Toliver Files File Box #2
Distance, Time and Speed -
Class starts with a discussion of the meaning of speed and the way that the speed of an object is determined. Then comes the main event: the “Tinkertoy Derby”, wherein teams of students construct and race their own vehicles, and then use the formula for speed to determine the winner.

Decimals - After warming up her students with a discussion of the characteristics of the currencies of other countries, Ms. Toliver reviews the basics of the decimal place value system. The class then gets a challenging decimals workout as they convert foreign money to U.S. currency values, in order to go “shopping”.

Circles - How many of Kay Toliver’s students does it take to lift 75 pounds? The answer surprises just about everyone when Ms. Toliver presents a fascinating lesson on circles and simple machines.

Statistics - “Statistics” means more than a collection of numbers. It also includes interpretation and evaluation of information, as students learn when they have to decide how to determine the winner of the popcorn game that Ms. Toliver has invented.

The Kay Toliver Files File Box #3
Length and Area -
Ms. Toliver has some exciting news for her students: they are getting their own apartments! Of course, it’s all just on paper, but that doesn’t stop students from enthusiastically teaming up to create floor plans that will allow room for all of the construction paper “furniture” they are given.

Patterns - Ms. Toliver’s students find that number patterns can be used to create very intricate and beautiful designs as she prepares them for a unique “paint-by-numbers” activity.

Volume - After a review of volume, students go on to a really fun hands-on activity: pouring “water” into models of various structures and applying proportional reasoning to determine just how much water there would be in 1″ of rain.

The Counting Principle - When Ms. Toliver asks students to determine the probability of selecting a certain type of object from her “secret” bag, they soon realize that they first have to know all of the possibilities.

The Kay Toliver Files File Box #4
Ratios -
Ms. Toliver starts this lesson off by showing students that the math concept “ratio” is especially important whenever a small shape must look exactly like a larger one. Then, with modeling clay, a ruler and maps, teams of students create surprisingly accurate representations of several U.S. states.

Variables - Starting with a discussion of the characteristics that change as a plant grows, Ms. Toliver introduces the concept of “variable” and its definition. Soon students are enthusiastically planting their own seeds, and over several days the class watches their plants grow and measure the effects of varying conditions.

Charts and Graphs - For a really hard problem, like deciding which color of candy is most likely to be drawn from a big glass jar, Ms. Toliver’s students have learned one of the best problem-solving strategies is “organize your data”. Thus it is that making graphs and charts becomes the central activity of this problem-based lesson.

Percents - Ms. Toliver takes the class on a search for the perfect color in the opening of this lesson. Following a review of percents, students don their own smocks and create a beautiful spectrum of color, based on calculated percents of red, blue, and yellow food coloring.


Closed Caption
Teacher Guide

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This stuff makes lessons exciting so they are not just about numbers or just about manipulation, they’re in context. And it doesn’t take a lot of context to get kids excited about doing the other stuff. This makes them want to do it! HIGH SCHOOL MATH TEACHER

A. H. Math Resource Teacher

The response to Teacher Talk was very enthusiastic. Our teachers checked out all of the copies within twenty-four hours after the viewing!

The Teacher Talk materials also gave us some great ideas for teaching in teams of four: language arts, social studies, science and math teachers. After seeing the lesson our science teachers said, that’s the way to pull the language arts into our study plans.

A. H., Math Resource Teacher, N. Hollywood, CA


You have done a grand job in making the vital connections between school and work, of exploration of real-world uses of math and science, of illustrating relationships between math and daily life, and of making the future real!

We found lots of ideas in the tapes that we use in our classrooms. Every lesson is like an adventure! And cost-wise, these exercises were extremely effective and fit very well into our district standards. The teachers thought that anybody could do these exercises. This is very important.
In Teacher Talk, there are perfect examples of activities that are both fun and relevant. These activities lend themselves to interdisciplinary use, merging literature, science and mathematics.

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