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Old Math, New Math, Red Math, Blue Math

by Jonily Zupancic

Hi there! I’m Jonily Zupncic (Zoo-Pan-Sick). :)

What am I talking about with New Math? Let me show you. I’m often asked:

What is this New Math? Isn't 2+2=4? Why are we changing math?

Well, my first response is,

"New Math isn't new at all. It's been around since the 1950's."

I usually get a confused and strange look. That’s when I go in for the kill with my second response!

"What is possible for our kids to achieve mathematically has not yet been experienced. Unless you are using smart teaching tools!"

Smart Teaching

Smart Teaching transcends the teaching process, meaning it takes it beyond where it’s ever been before. Today’s math teaching is like us using a rotary phone to make a call. Does it work? Sure. BUT are we capable of more? Absolutely. Smart Math get’s us there.

Math Separates Society

You see, Math separates society. It’s just as polarizing as politics and religion. Schools continue to create the haves and have-nots of mathematics which unintentionally place kids on different pathways (based on their response to math) to possibly economic imprisonment.


Yes. Think of this, do you like math, or did you just get through it? Was there a time when math was fun, it connected with you—all was going well until, Algebra or Geometry? What happened? Did your brain suddenly stop understanding math, and you feel trapped?

Maybe you wanted to be an engineer, a scientist, or a doctor when suddenly, in Middle School, you realized, or it was unintentionally pointed out that you just aren’t good at math. Without a math background, many of these worthy professions are suddenly closed off to you, thus trapping you economically from what you wanted to achieve.

How about this, have any of you ever had a visceral (deep emotional) response to math—like full-on tears or behaviors that can overturn desks, cause self-injurious behaviors, or worse. Why? It’s only Math. Something happens deep within the child that tells them that they are worthless, causing them to be frustrated and filled with shame when it comes to math.

What can be done?

Teachers, what are the instructional mistakes we are unintentionally making that prevent mathematics learning and achievement? And more importantly, what are the fixes for our fails?

Learn the three secrets to success for teachers and students to increase math understanding, motivation, and joy!


Everyone has a math story and your story matters. Uncover your students’ stories and celebrate their mathematical perspective with simple, quick, easy-to-implement strategies. Improve thinking, reasoning, and sense-making to increase the accessibility of high-level, rigorous, complex math content for all.

Un-separate math camps by helping students write new chapters of their mathematical journey by providing rich classroom experiences targeting each student.

Learn how to bring math alive and increase achievement and Number Sense for all!

How Can I Get More?

Join us Saturday, November 20 from 9:30-11:00 am Eastern time to see these principles in action! Teachers, intervention specialists, principals, educators, and school leaders are invited to Saturday Math to chat with preschool through high school levels and see how our math stories develop.

It’s FREE, but you must register AND invite your friends!!

Once registered, a zoom link will be sent Friday afternoon for the event.

JOIN US TONIGHT 11/18/2021 6:30 pm Podcast

Oh, and by the way, I also wrote a book that will help you discover the ins and out’s of what we have just brushed on here. It’s called math Making Mathineers! And it is NOT your typical math book.

Teachers and Parents pick up your copy today to help understand your confusion of Old Math, New Math, Red Math, Blue Math and come away with a perspective that will take you from using the “rotary-phone-style” of math to one that will help you and your students soar beyond what they thought was mathematically capable and achievable.


Jonily Zupancic, “The Math Girl,” expert in mathematics assessment, instruction, and intervention. She is a national speaker and has extensive experience working with students and teachers at the elementary, middle, and high school levels.

Jonily has transformed mathematics teaching and learning with the development and implementation of Target Questions, Gap Fillers, and Reference Tasks.

Her work has inspired schools and teachers to evaluate and improve their instructional delivery systems to maximize student learning and achievement. With simple, easy-to-implement strategies and techniques, teachers can teach more in less time.

Using the Achievement Formula Framework as an instructional delivery method, teachers have transformed math instruction to accelerate math learning for students who are already successful, but especially for students who struggle with math learning.

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