Summer’s-End Blogging

This Week at Global Math…

Problem-Based Learning:

Clarifying Misconceptions and Understanding Differences

With 20 years of PBL teaching experience, Carmel Schettino can speak to the many ways that teachers have adapted various student-centered pedagogies and problem-based curricula to a form what they called problem-based learning. In the past 5-8 years PBL has seen a rise in popularity and use in many disciplines, but the research surrounding the learning that happens in the mathematics classroom is not catching up with anecdotal support for the teaching method. In this session, we’ll discuss differences between Problem-Based (PBL), Project-Based (PjBL and Inquiry-Based Learning (IBL) from a researcher’s standpoint, as well as what is known about PBL in terms of student learning in mathematics.
Last week’s recording on Lesson Study In Action can be viewed here

Summer’s-End Blogging

Inspiring Tweetups

My greatest inspiration for the start of this school year came from a tweetup. This past week I was lucky enough to meet with my friends and fellow #MtBoS-ers Wendy Menard (@wmukluk) and Jasmine Walker (@jaz_math) in a little Quebec border town called St. Armand.  We had a wonderful time yakking, eating dessert, watching a church get demolished, eating cheese, and of course, talking about #TMC15, which neither Wendy nor I had attended, to our great despair. (We vowed to correct this most egregious situation at TMC16!) In the meantime, I read both of their blogs, because they are my friends, and because they are awesome math teachers.
Jasmine did two great summaries of her TMC15 experience at her blog here and here.  I definitely want to try out  Glenn Waddell’s high fives, although adapting that to the online environment will be tricky. Still, I just love this way of communicating without words.
Wendy wrote a series of posts about her experience at PCMI, (which sounds similar to the TMC experience) culminating in The Anxiety of Influence, with which I could definitely identify.
Apparently,  at TMC 15.  Lisa Henry said “It’s the community, stupid.” It absolutely and utterly is.

Written by Audrey McLaren (@a_mcsquared)

Making It Stick

Julie Reulbach’s (@jreulbach) ultimate goal, which resonates with many of us, is for her students to make connections in math, to learn conceptually not procedurally, and learn that the best approach to math is to explore, struggle, and learn.  Instead of telling that to students, Julie will be guiding students to research that for themselves by listening to Jo Boaler on the Good and Bad of Math Education and reading excerpts from Make It Stick, The Science of Successful Learning by Peter C. Brown and then having conversations with each other about the key take aways.  The book is about how people learn and how we can make it stick.  What I love the most about this activity is that ultimately students create an actionable goal for themselves. Read about her first day in detail here.  And for even moredetails check out the planning page that has tons of resources like the excerpts of the book, a student brochure courtesy of Meg Craig, and great conversations. Shout out to Meg Craig @mathymeg07 Lynne Yarrows @numerzgal Rachel Rosales @rachelrosales, @mel, Beth Ferguson @algebrasfriend, Robin Mathews @romathio, Jessica @algebrainiac1, and Anne P. Bayna @paomaths who have jumped in on the planning for this activity here. If you want to know more (or are just excited to click on even more links) you can also listen in to this past week’s GMD webinar about first day activities.

Written by Sahar Katri (@KhatriMath)

Why Not Hit The Ground Running?

For many of us in the southeast region, school has begun again.  Many of us have taken a “hit the ground running approach”, implementing ideas we gathered over the summer.  Some of us attend professional learning sessions such as #TMC and are exploring ideas with colleagues.  @JoeSchwartz experience at Twitter Math Camp inspired him to bring the excitement back to Jersey.  He shares how colleagues were immersed in a 3-act task and activities from Estimation 180 in his recent blog post.
Making his blogging debut, @DrBrianLack expresses how he “hit the ground running” with 5th grade students.  Introducing the idea of algebraic thinking through this video, Brian encourages the students to wonder how Benjamin is determining the answer quite quickly.  Immediately, students are engaged and thinking about algebra in a non-threatening way.  Throughout his post, Brian highlights the SMPs emphasized through this thinking process 5th graders were able to complete.  A thinking process which sets the foundation for success as students move from arithmetic thinking to algebraic thinking.  Great first post Brian!

Written by Jenise Sexton (@MrsJeniseSexton)

Problem of the week

Microsoft wants to quickly build a 100 story tower and they can invest virtually unlimited resources.

The tower is built with 1-story blocks that interlock on the top and bottom like legos.

Using special lifters, the tower is built by putting one stack of blocks on top of another stack.  The lifters takes one week, regardless of the number of blocks in each stack, and two lifters can’t work on the same stack.

What is the shortest number of weeks it would take to build Microsoft’s tower?

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Global Math Tonight!

Global Math Tonight!

Included this week: This week’s Global Math webinar details and a website to check out! edited by Ashli Black

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This Week at Global Math:
                Lesson Study in Action

Hear from teachers who attended the Park City Mathematics Institute and participated in a lesson study — collaboratively planning a lesson, teaching it, re-evaluating the lesson, and teaching it again.

Join us Tuesday, August 18th at 9pm EST.

Sign up here.  

Last week’s recording on What To Do on the First Day of School can be viewed here

Bring it on Down to Bloggerville

While at the NCTM High School Interactive Institute in Anaheim at the end of July I got to meet Judit Moshkovich and attended her talk on the Common Core and English Learners. One awesome resource that’s just getting rolling that she shared in her talk is Understanding Langauge, a project out of Stanford University. Here’s a clip from their ‘about’ page:

Understanding Language aims to heighten educator awareness of the critical role that language plays in the new Common Core State Standards and Next Generation Science Standards. The long-term goal of the initiative is to increase recognition that learning the language of each academic discipline is essential to learning content. Obtaining, evaluating, and communicating information; articulating and building on ideas; constructing explanations; engaging in argument from evidence—such language-rich performance expectations permeate the new Standards.”

Some links to start you off on this site:
Mathematics, the Common Core, and Langauge, by Dr. Moshkovich (Includes a video, and she’s on twitter!)
Resources just for Math Teachers

by Ashli Black (@mythagon)

What To Do On the First Day of School

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What To Do On the First Day of School

For many of us, the first day of school is coming fast! Come hear ideas for how to spend that first day with students from Jasmine Walker, Tina Cardone, Laila Nur, Julie Reulbach, and Heather Kohn.

In this about 1 hour web conference, we will cover:
Being awesome.
Figuring out first day of school.
Being awesome.

Ready or Not, School is here! – Revised slightly

Ready or Not, School is here! – Revised slightly

Included this week: This week’s Global Math webinar details, some blogs posts you might have missed.  Edited by Megan Schmidt

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This Week at Global Math: What to Do on the First Day of School

For many of us, the first day of school is coming fast! Come hear ideas for how to spend that first day with students from Jasmine Walker, Tina Cardone, Laila Nur, Julie Reulbach, and Heather Kohn.

Join us Tuesday, August 11th at 9pm EST.  Sign up here.  

Last week’s recording on My Favorites from Twitter Math Camp can be viewed here

Bring it on Down to Bloggerville

Brain Bushart has taken professional development to a new level over the past week.  Under the hashtag #rrmathrocksyou can follow a group of elementary teachers as they begin to explore the #MTBoS and much of the awesomeness it has to offer.  If you’re looking for ways to fire up you grade level or department’s PD you’ll want to check out his last two posts.

On day one, Brain challenged teachers to join Twitter and begin collaborating with our amazing online community.  If you’re reading this, you should pop on over to their RRISD Math Rocks Blog and post a comment to one of their teacher blogs (located on the right hand side).  

One of the biggest take-aways from #TMC15 was that we need more elementary folk involved in this community… and Brian has taken the lead.

Welcome to #MTBoSBlaugust

Ignited by ShellI Temple, a group of MTBoS blogger decided to jump start their blogging this school year by blogging as much as they can this August.  Here are a few recent blogs with great insights about starting the school year on fire:

**Shelli’s blog that ignited this movement:  Teaching Statistics

Algebra’s Friend
SUM Educator
he Radical Rational
Mis)Adventures in Mathland
elieve in the Good
Type-A Mathland
he Angles Have the Phonebox

Global Math is back tonight!



Included this week: This week’s Global Math webinar details, some blogs posts you might have missed.  Edited by Ashli Black.
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Today at Global Math:  TMC My Favorites

Tonight at Global Math we have Recaps from Twitter Math Camp 2015! Join speakers Anne Schwartz, Bob Lochel, Chris Shore, John Mahlstedt, and Matt Baker.

Click here to register for tonight’s session at 9pm ET/6pm PT.

Recommended Reading

Because you can never have too much Twitter Math Camp here’s some more from Harvey Mudd College in Claremont, California…


The hit of TMC15 wasn’t a morning or afternoon session, it was a 10 minute “My Favorite” (you can hear more like this tonight by registering here).  Heather Kohn presented her 3D design project where her students created some pretty awesome stuff using Desmos and 3D printing! Check out her blog post here.  You can see more cool student creations like this impressive horse ranch…

Another fantastic session was led by Robert Kaplinsky about improving your questioning skills in order to better understand student mathematical thinking.  Robert brings up the excellent point that just listening to your students is a powerful form of formative assessment.  You can find his presentation and materials here.  I plan to use this professional development activity with teachers at my school during our orientation this year.  I’ll blog about it and let you know how it goes!

Lastly, because he won’t mention it himself, I will.  Even though this didn’t happen at Twitter Math Camp, Andrew Stadel did lead three amazing sessions about a variety of ways to engage student’s thinking about number sense.  Here is a video of Andrew’s edtalk at the California Teacher’s Summit.  It’s worth a look!

by Andrew Gael (@bkdidact)

Goldilocks, the Three Bears, and Teaching Math

I’ve made it a goal for the school year to learn more about K-5 math this year. I believe knowing more about the K-5 curriculum, instructional strategies and activities will help me be a better secondary math teacher along with helping students make stronger connections to prior knowledge.


Marilyn Burns continues to create simple blog posts that make the teacher connections relevant for any grade level. Her recent blog post, Goldilocks, the Three Bears, and Teaching Math, illustrates how students can have multiple strategies for the same question.


How can we all find ways to provide our students with math problems that engage students in different ways to solve it? Please share. Hit me up on Twitter and I’ll retweet.

by Andrew Stadel (@mr_stadel)

Problem Set of the Week

While at the NCTM High School Interactive Institute Mohamed Omar of Harvey Mudd College did a keynote where we all got to do math! Check out the problem set here (note: for problem 9b it should be x^4 + 4y^4 + …)


Reflecting on TMC and other stuff

Reflecting on TMC and other stuff

Included this week: A link to the Global Math webinar archive, some blogs posts you might have missed, and another problem of the week.  

Edited by David Wees (sorry it’s late!).

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This Month at Global Math:  No Global Math!

It’s summer vacation for webinars at Global Math. We’ll be back in August. 

We’re sad too! There’s never been a better time to check out a recording of a past presentation. Check them all out here!

His Session Was Brill!

@AlexOverwijk repeated his 2014 #tmc session this year which pleased participants such as @gfletchy who tweeted:

This 2014 blog post outlines the use of white-boarding, which I believe takes the technique to the next level.  Often times, we see students within classrooms using small whiteboards only visible to those sitting near.  Overwijk discusses the impact of the whiteboards being posted on the walls around the room.  Students work in small groups on a really good task, which opens the opportunity for discussion and makes thoughts of those in the room visible to everyone.  This is a part of the “big wheel”.

Written by Jenise Sexton (@MrsJeniseSexton)

Reflecting on Twitter Math Camp

When I started tweeting within the MTBoS, I didn’t realize that I was signing up to be a part of a cult (link here).  That is, a Community United in Learning Together. Twitter Math Camp reaffirmed that MTBoS is more that just a group of people who tweet and blog about teaching math, it’s so much more than that.

As a first time attendee of the TMC I was humbled and inspired. It was an environment of sharing, caring, and uplifting what we do as educators every single day. Fawn Nguyen brought down the house with her powerful reminders of what is important: our relationship with our admin, students, parents, and colleagues. She reminded is that “Bad teaching is not knowing that what you’re doing can be better” –(@fawnpnguyen) This was a place where important discussions, conversations, and history was being written!  

Referring to the merger of NCTM and The Math Forum, Elizabeth (@cheesemonkeysf) said, “Five years ago, we were a positive but isolated group of individuals connected by Twitter and by our math teaching blogs. Today, our little conference was the platform for an important piece of news in the math education world.”  She goes on to say that MTBoS is a movement “committed to embodying a better and more sustainable set of principles in our teaching practice and in our professional development.”

I joined Twitter and MTBoS without realizing any of that. I was just looking for better resources to survive my first year of teaching. I’ve survived it and gotten so much more beyond that! 

Make sure to read the rest of Elizabeth’s article here. While the TMC15 archive is being built,  go ahead and enjoy the “Party at TMC song“.

Written by Sahar Khatri (@KhatriMath)

Problem of the Week

Without counting all of the triangles or using paper and pencil, how many small shaded triangles are in the above picture?

Pay attention to what you noticed about the shape that helped you figure it out. Full activity resources here. Share your strategies on Twitter.

Written by David Wees (@davidwees)



Included this week: This week’s Global Math webinar details, some blogs posts you might have missed.  Edited by Megan Schmidt

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This Month at Global Math:  No Global Math!

It’s summer vacation for webinars at Global Math. We’ll be back in August. 

We’re sad too! There’s never been a better time to check out a recording of a past presentation. Check them all out here!

PCMI – Recap

Have you been following along with #PCMIsummer? You can catch up on all of the math, fun, and collaboration that happened in Utah by checking out the hashtag. Also, be sure to check out Ashli Black’s details on a Google Hangout with Dylan William.
Wendy Menard did some fantastic blogging about her experience. Dylan Kane did as well. Don’t miss these great posts along with all of the twitter fun.

Twitter Math Camp is finally here!

At long last, Twitter Math Camp 2015 will commence on Thursday at Harvey Mudd College.  Follow along with #TMC15 to gather resources, read recaps of speakers and join in on the fun.  Also, be sure to check the TMC Wiki page for more links to resources.