Mary Hynes-Berry, Ph. D.

Senior Content Developer

A specialist in teacher education and literacy development, Mary Hynes-Berry teaches in the teacher certification master’s program. She also is a team member and instructor for the Early Math Collaborative and the Erikson/StoryBus professional development programs.

A specialist in teacher education, literacy and mathematics, Mary Hynes-Berry began teaching in the teacher certification master’s program in 1996. She is project director for the Math All Around Me (MAAM) project as well as for EMC’s work with the Big Shoulders Foundation of Chicago. She and Laura Grandau are currently working on a new project funded by the Overdeck Foundation related to Family Math in Libraries.

Once a math-phobic educator with a doctorate in English, she was converted to a math enthusiast when she directed a K-3 mathematics curriculum project for Encyclopedia Britannica. She shares that enthusiasm for developing young children’s mathematical understanding with project participants as she promotes and demonstrates effective ways to teach math.

Hynes-Berry brings to her work more than 30 years’ experience using stories and storytelling as tools for learning. She has used that approach while working directly with young children, and taught both in-service and pre-service to use the techniques as well.

Mary is one of the Collaborative’s joint authors in their book, Big Ideas of Early Mathematics: What Teachers of Young Children Need to Know. And she explores children’s literature, early childhood math and science learning, and guided inquiry in her book Don’t Leave the Story in the Book.

Education

B.A., English, Trinity College, Washington, D.C.
M.A., Ph.D., English, University of Wisconsin, Madison

Publications

  • Hynes-Berry, M.

     (in press). Stories and storytelling: Good for the heart and mind. In Adams, K. (Ed.) Expressive Writing: Classroom and Community, 7-33. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield.

  • Hynes-Berry, M.

     (2011). Don’t leave the story in the book: Using literature to guide inquiry in early childhood classrooms. New York, NY: Teachers College Press

View all by this author

Teacher Education Presentations

  • Grandau, L., Solarski, L., Hynes-Berry, M.

    (2018). Using picture books to help children see and talk about math all around them. Presentation at National Association of the Education of Young Children National Conference.

    National Association for the Education of Young Children
  • Hynes-Berry, M., Solarski, L., Grandau, L.

    (2017). Developing Our Eyes and Ears for Mathematical Thinking in the Early Years. Keynote at the Wisconsin Mathematics Council Annual Conference, Early Math Educators Summit, Green Lake Conference Center.

    View Link
  • Hynes-Berry, M., Chen, J-Q.

    & Abel, B. (2016, June). Building the joy of math all around me from the ground up. Paper presented at the annual conference of the Professional Development Institute of National Association for the Education of Young Children. Baltimore, MD.

    National Association for the Education of Young Children Professional Development Institute
  • McCray, J., Brownell, J., Hynes-Berry, M.

    (2016). Building math with big ideas. Presentation at the National Association of the Education of Young Children Annual Conference, Los Angeles, CA.

    National Association for the Education of Young Children Read More

    Abstract

    The Big Ideas of early math are not maxims to be memorized and repeated by young children; instead, they are the key understandings that teachers of young children should emphasize as they support preschool learning experiences. When teachers have a deep, connected understanding of these Big Ideas, they are prepared to plan for and respond to children’s activities and learning in ways that clarify thinking and emphasize the kinds of knowledge that are generative of later, elementary level math ideas. Our team has identified three Big Ideas related to number sense: 1) The quantity of a small set can be perceived intuitively without counting; 2) Quantity is an attribute of a set of objects and we use numbers to name specific quantities; and 3) Numbers are used in many ways, some more mathematical than others. The first idea, that the quantity of a small set can be intuitively perceived, without counting, helps teachers see the power of subitizing and visual number sense for helping children understand number. The second idea, that number is a way of describing the amount of a set, goes to the purpose of numbers, a topic that is often over-looked in the early childhood curriculum. The third idea, that numbers are used in many ways, reminds teachers that not all examples of numbers carry an equal amount of explanatory information. These ideas will each be fully explored, with multiple examples.

  • Hynes-Berry, M., Itzkowich, R.

    (2015, April). Bringing practice standards to life: Every operation tells a story. Presentation at the annual meeting of the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics, Boston, MA.

    National Council of Teachers of Mathematics
  • Hynes-Berry, M.

     (2013, November). Bringing stories to life across the curriculum: Strategies for storytelling and creative dramatics. Presentation at the annual meeting of the National Association for the Education of Young Children Professional Development Institute, Washington, D.C.

    National Association for the Education of Young Children
  • Hynes-Berry, M.

     (2012, January). !!Down with naked numbers!! Presentation at the annual meeting of the Chicago Metro Association for the Education of Young Children, Chicago, IL.

    Chicago Metro Association for the Education of Young Children Read More

    Abstract

    In this presentation, what is stressed is the importance of having children count something, not just count. This refers to the developmental principle: Concrete to Pictorial to Symbolic (CPS). Don’t allow naked numbers to be all that children are exposed to. Children should be exposed repeatedly to the idea that the CPS is dynamic. They need to be given many experiences in which they “translate

  • Hynes-Berry, M., Itzkowich, R.

     (2011, November). Early mathematics: How do we measure up? Presentation at the annual meeting of the National Association for the Education of Young Children, Orlando, FL.

    National Association for the Education of Young Children
  • Hynes-Berry, M., Ginet, L.

     (2011, November). Early mathematics: What’s the big idea? Presentation at the annual meeting of the National Association for the Education of Young Children, Orlando, FL.

    National Association for the Education of Young Children
View all by this author

Associated Ideas

Article icon

Count on Feasting: Delectable Holiday Math Activities

The holidays are coming up, and usually that involves a lot of eating. This can provide plenty of opportunities to find math all around us. Problems surrounding the questions of “how many do we have," "how many do we need," "how much is enough," and "what might be too much" can lead to any number…

Article icon

The Math in Learning Names

Do the children in your classroom know each other’s names? At winter break, are they still pointing to “that girl?” Doing activities in the early weeks of school that use the children’s own names will do wonders for building your classroom community. At the same time, you can be doing math—as well as literacy! For…

Article icon

Intentional Teaching Comes to Life with Big Shoulders Project

Math can be intimidating for many students, because it appears to be abstract and detached from the real world. Ms. Sheila Houston is among a growing group of teachers who are attempting to individualize their lessons to connect with each students' unique interests and abilities. Ms. Houston is a first grade teacher at St. Margaret…

View all from this author