• My Background

    This year marks my twenty-first year in education! I was fortunate enough to join the West Wing 5th grade team two years ago. Prior to that, I taught mathematics methods courses to future teachers at Arizona State University. Teaching elementary school mathematics and science, coaching K-8 math teachers, and serving as a middle school assistant principal are the experiences that round out the rest of my career. My true love is teaching elementary math to students just like you, and I feel honored to be able to do so at West Wing School.

    My Philosophy

    Math should be understood, enjoyable, and rigorous. I teach for conceptual understanding, meaning students need to be able to articulate both the how and why of the math content they are learning. They should also enjoy math as they solve problems that are relevant to their lives and share their thinking, experiencing how math is used while communicating their ideas with their peers. Fluency, or being able to solve problems quickly, and efficiency, or using the fewest steps to solve accurately, are also important; when students engage in analyzing each other’s work and sharing strategies, they become both more fluent and more efficient while also improving accuracy. Together we will build a mathematical community that is focused on balancing challenge and support, valuing each other’s ideas and perspectives, and growing our love of mathematics! 


    Our curriculum is the Arizona Mathematics Standards. Please join fifth grade for Curriculum Night on Wed., Aug. 21 from 4:30-5:15 PM to learn more about our math content for this year. Fifth Grade Math will work to meet or exceed 5th grade standards, while Sixth Grade Math will work to meet or exceed 5th and 6th grade standards. All students will be taught problem-based, student-centered lessons using the following curriculum materials:

    • “Investigations is a focused, coherent, and rigorous K-5 mathematics curriculum. Fully aligned to the content and practice standards of the Common Core State Standards (CCSS), deep and careful attention is paid to mathematics content and to student thinking and understanding. Making sense of mathematics is the heart of the work, for students and teachers.” (from http://investigations.terc.edu/inv3/about/)
    • Illustrative Mathematics is a problem-based curriculum in which “students spend most of their time in math class doing mathematics: making sense of problems, estimating, trying different approaches, selecting and using appropriate tools, evaluating the reasonableness of their answers, interpreting the significance of their answers, noticing patterns and making generalizations, explaining their reasoning verbally and in writing, listening to the reasoning of others, and building their understanding.”(from https://im.openupresources.org/6/teachers/teacher_course_guide.html#about-these-materials)


    • Please reach out to me at any time! I believe there is nothing we can’t accomplish on behalf of your child if we work together, and I am always happy to communicate with you.
    • Student agendas will be used to communicate daily about assignments such as homework, quizzes, and tests/assessments as well as about classroom and grade level happenings. Please check it daily.
    • Please check PowerSchool weekly for updated grades.Contact me at Jennifer.Birrell@dvusd.org, by writing a note in your student’s agenda, or in our classroom at 623.376.5062. I will always respond within 48 hours.

    Mrs. Birrell is...

    • a native Phoenician.                                          
    • a Wildcat.
    • the mother of two Mustangs.
    • the wife of a Sun Devil.
    • a gardener.
    • a runner.
    • a reader and writer.
    • a coffee-lover.
    • a camper.
    • a learner.
    • looking forward to getting to know you!