Food For Thought

Food For Thought

Edited By Carl Oliver @carloliwitter

View this email in your browser


Online Professional Development Sessions

What better time to talk about #TMC16, than the middle of December? This week, Dylan Kane, Jessica Bogie, and Lisa Henry begin talking about the summer in Twitter Math Camp: History and 2016 Preview. Whether you’re interested in making the trip to Minnesota, or just want to learn more about Twitter Math Camp, Join us tonight at 9 EST here. If you want to speak at TMC or want more information click here.

Last week we Joined Joshua Schmidt for an honest look into his current customized mathematics learning environment that he has developed over the past six years. His goal has been to create an environment that provides authentic choices, independent pacing, and learning at the students’ appropriate level. This work has come with many successes and challenges. He will give insights into his classroom environment and his choice of technologies. Since customized learning takes on a variety of shapes, he wants to provide not only a better understanding of customization but also ideas that you can put into practice in your own classroom. View the recording here 

Great Blogging Action

Food For Thought

There’s been a lot of chatter and blogging about the great things that went on at the NCTM Regional Conference in Nashville; if you, like me, were not fortunate enough to attend, you might have been feeling somewhat bereft as you read through events you might have missed.  But if you read through Kate Nowak’spresentation, “Plan a Killer Lesson Today”, you may become (as I did ) pretty jazzed by the simplicity and brilliance of her ideas.  Kate’s blog, f(t), has some wonderful posts about taking procedural lessons and turning them into puzzles for students to solve, and the slides from her NCTM talk break down and clarify that process.  It’s a great resource, and I personally want to thank Kate for sharing her blueprint.  Beth Ferguson over at Algebra’s Friend wrote about another way to make the requisite practice of a skill (polynomial long and synthetic division) engaging using a game.   
The title “25 Tips to Deal with Digital Distractions” caught my eye when the Teach Thought  post popped up in my Feedly list.  Great, I thought – they’ll tell me how to deal with the plague of notifications that cause students to stare at their laps during my scintillating lessons.  But, as it turns out, the list is just as much for keeping me focused as those I teach.  Updated from a post 3 years ago to keep up with technological changes, there are specific useful strategies for minimizing the sidetracking effect of your device when needed.
The Food for Thought Department: When I need to call my class back from their group discussions, I frequently call out, “Mathematicians!”  I’ve always told my students that this is what they are for the duration of their stay in my classroom, and I get a charge every time it gets their attention, because for at least a moment, they are taking themselves that seriously.   But do I take myself that seriously?  Andrew Stadel pondered this question in his post, “Are You a Mathematician?”  It’s not only worth a read, but also a laminated print-out.  
And finally, Glenn Waddell challenged us high school teachers to better engage our students In “HS Teachers, up your game”.  Glenn posits that students may be checking out in high school not because they don’t understand, but because we are not connecting ideas in the higher mathematics they are know studying with things they have already been taught, and adding developmentally appropriate depth to their prior knowledge.  The Common Core standards have introduced a lot of rich content in earlier grades; we are beginning to teach high school students who have encountered this content when younger.  It’s not just a matter of transitioning our curriculum any more; we’ve got to examine at what level we need to meet our students.  Like I said, food for thought.
Cheers – 
Wendy Menard 

Talking about Numbers

The proliferation of Number Talks in elementary schools across North America is astonishing.  As teachers scramble to learn and implement Number Talks, GMD’s Brian Bushart threw down a Number Talk PL gauntlet that shouldn’t go unrecognized. 
Whether you’re a savvy veteran of Number Talks or just diving in, you’ll walk away smarter than when you woke up.  You could take Brian’s post and immediately turn around and implement it at you own school.  Kudos to Brian and thanks for making us all a little smarter.
 Inline image 1

Last week Pierre Trancemontagn unveiled another beauty of a crowdsourcing website that supports the power of the #MTBoS and the work of effective Number Talks.  Number Talk Images is sure to follow the success of Which One Doesn’t Belong.  So check it out, fire up your camera, and spread the love.

Inline image 2

And last but not least, Christy Sutton recently shared Always, Sometimes, Never questions her blog for k-5 folks.  K-2 teachers are screaming for more #MTBoS-like resources that support the lower grades and Christy delivered.  When you stop by…tell her thanks.
Written by @gfletchy (Graham Fletcher)


100 Numbers to Get Students to Talking

Inline image 1
Group work has forever been the bane of my existence as a student and it continues into my teaching years. As a student, I was always the one who ended up doing all the work. As a teacher, I see one student who ends of doing most of the work while the others just copy the “smart one”. This past week Sara Vanderwerf (@saravdwerf) shared an activity to get all of her students talking just by finding 100 numbers within a given period. The goal, in Sara’s words, is to teach students “how to work in groups and teach them how to talk to one another”. The following highlights the activity:
  • Students work in groups to find numbers in consecutive order, highlighting them in different colors.
  • Students are timed with the goal being to get to the highest number possible.
  • Time is set aside for multiple rounds so that groups attempt to reach a higher number each round than the previous round.
  • While students are working, she takes pictures and shares them with her students after the activity, many of whom are so focused they didn’t even realize their photo was being taken! 
  • The day ends with a reflection by students responding to, “What does great group work in math look like?” 
  • The following day students work in groups to practice great group work!

Check out Sara’s blog for details as well as Megan Schmidt’s (@Veganmathbeagleadaptation of the activity in her latest blog post. And do it! 

Global Math Department Needs Your Help!

The Global Math Department is looking for individuals who are interested in planning the Tuesday night webinars hosted on Big Marker. GMD bookers contact potential speakers regarding speaking opportunities, and provide them with details on planning sessions. If you are interested in being more involved with the Global Math Department, contact Heather at or Dylan at

Follow us on Twitter
Visit our Website

Copyright © 2015 Global Math Department, All rights reserved.

unsubscribe from this list    update subscription preferences 

Email Marketing Powered by MailChimp

One thought on “Food For Thought

  1. […] signing up for the Global Math Department newsletter (click here to do so! see a sample here! here’s the GMD webpage!). Once a week, someone in the #MTBoS looks through what the community […]