We’re All in This Together







We're All in This Together



Edited By Nate Goza @thegozaway

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Online Professional Development Sessions

Writing: Your Questions Answered
Presented by Jose Vilson

Jose Vilson answers your questions about writing: maintaining a blog while being banned on district computers, writing a book, and any other questions you have.

To join the meeting when it starts at 9pm Eastern (or RSVP if it’s before 9pm), click here.

Last week at Global Math Maria Droujkova and Yelena McNaman shared Natural Math Adventures that can be shared with mathematicians of all ages. Click here to watch.

Get Up, Stand Up

When We Falter…

Over the past week a number of teachers have looked at the #MTBoSblogsplosion for their blogging inspiration. These teachers rose to the challenge in this week’s theme, “We all fall down.” Their posts talk about the kinds of failures they deal with in and out of the classroom and their response.
 
In Cathy Yenca’s response she described a couple of classes whose ambitious, “discovery/constructivist” lessons fell apart. She writes about the disappointment in having to take over the class and offer direct instruction in order to cover the material. Certainly an understandable mistake, Cathy ends her post with the same question I’ve wanted to ask #MTBoS when faced with this situation: “I haven’t figured this out yet, friends. When this happens to you, how do you handle it?”
 
Gregory Taylor used his response to offer a reasoned analysis of what failure looks like as a teacher. This post, Failure is Relative, contains lots of interesting ideas about how to approach failure, such as: “Create your own little offline failure journal for learning purposes, and get the negativity out of your head. Then picture that others are doing the same – maybe they are!”
 
Laurie Hailer’s post Feeling Overwhlemed, Math Teacher? offers lots of practical advice and interesting insight in a post that is centered around self care. Laurie suggests: “When things start to feel really intense, take a break. Let your mind and body relax. You’ll actually handle the work demands better, once you forget about it for a while.”

For some, the way to deal with falling down is not just to get up, but to help other do the same. If you are one who is interested in doing more, then you should read Tina Cardone’s post about standing up for education. In the post What Can I Do Tina lists a number of proactive ways to lift yourself off of the mat and make a difference for math education.

Written by Carl Oliver (@carloliwitter)

What a Week It’s Been
                   
PIthy but on target, Jessica Hagy at Indexed reflected how I have felt for the last week.
 
which is why I was so glad to read Anne Schwartz’s post, Things I am doing.  Anne’s post is a great game plan for getting through some rough times.
 
It’s difficult to look anywhere online and not be confronted by the news, the reactions to the news, and the accusations of fake news.  Perhaps because I haven’t been teaching for the past week (Regents exams in New York), I have been less able to distract myself from current events.  In any case, many in the MTBoS are using their blogs to speak up about and to reflect on what has happened in the 10 days since the 45th president took office, and I think there are some great pieces to read out there.
 
Sara Vanderwerf, who has become a hero of mine in the last year for so many reasons, has made her commitment to justice explicit in How Will I Stand Up?  She remind all of us that the permitting the exclusion and targeting of any group of people is opening the door to targeting every group of people.

Michael Fenton, Instructional Designer at Desmos, usually writes about just that – amazing things being developed around our favorite calculator EVER.  But today, Silent No More, Michael reflected publicly about his faith and his practice of keeping politics out of his blog.  And, like Sara Vanderwerf, he committed to speaking out against injustice when he sees it, and using his website as a platform when he feels compelled to do so.  
 
In case you are anxious about leaping into the fray and creating (or joining) a ruckus, Annie Perkins describes her experience of dipping her toe in the water, in For Those Hesitant to Protest.  She ended up going for a great big swim.
 
Peace –

Wendy Menard  (@wmukluk)

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Natural Math Adventures with Global Math Department







Natural Math Adventures with Global Math Department



Edited By Brian Bushart @bstockus

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Avoid Hard Work: Natural Math Adventures
Presented by Maria Droujkova (@NaturalMath) & Yelena McNaman

Avoid Hard Work is the new book for teachers, math circle leaders, and parents. The book explores adventurous, unusual, and off-the-beaten-path mathematics via problem-solving. In the spirit of Natural Math, we took the ten powerful problem-solving techniques originally published by Mathematical Association of America for advanced high school students, and adapted them for children ages three to ten. That means the content is accessible and friendly, not only for children, but also for math-anxious adults or those who want a casual encounter with the subject. During the event, the participants will make powerful math ideas their own in hands-on and minds-on play, as they prepare to share the joy with their students.

To join the meeting when it starts at 9pm Eastern (or RSVP if it’s before 9pm), click here.

Did you miss last week’s session? Never fear! Click here to listen to Lisa Floyd share her session on integrating computational thinking into the math classroom.

The #MTBoS Never Sleeps

Nasty Math

I was at the Women’s March in Montreal on Jan 21, and I’ve been floating on that uplifting experience ever since. Nothing nasty about it, unless by nasty you mean wonderful, kind, and accepting. How many nasty people were there? Here’s a timely article on that very subject shared by Evan Weinberg (@emwdx) on Twitter. I love it when mathematicians debunk “alternate facts.”

Speaking of empathy, this article, shared by Brian Bennett (@bennettscience), is about how Sphero, a robot that teaches children how to program, actually ended up teaching about empathy. What a lovely overlap of curricula!

Finally, the New York Times used what looks suspiciously like a Desmos graph in this article about, again, getting actual facts out there. Readers can draw on a graph to guess the answer to questions that compare the Obama administration to the Bush ones, and find out how close they came.

Keeping nasty and mathy,

Written by Audrey McLaren (@a_mcsquared)

Coming to a Crossroad

In my district around this time teachers are always asked about their preferences for the following school year. For some, it’s an easy decision, remain in their current position. For others like myself, it means a crossroad, a decision that has huge implications for the rest of my career. I’ve been a math coach for a total of 8 non-consecutive years. After being a middle school coach for 2 years, I’m feeling the pull to go back into the classroom full time. Some may scream, “Why?! I can’t wait to get out!”  Well I say, it has a lot to do with educators who are not like these growth mindset people.

Every teacher gets the feeling of burn out from time to time. Some succumb to its negativity, while others reflect, find a solution, and push pass the burn out.  @LBrookePowers is one of the others. In her recent post she explained how she was overcome by the feeling of burnout and what she did to come out of it.

@Kelley_Kaminsky was interviewed by Robert Kaplinsky about why she created a #Observeme sign. Her level of vulnerability and desire for others to feel safe to be vulnerable is the type of personality I would love to work with as a coach.

Written by Jenise Sexton (@MrsJeniseSexton)

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This Week: Refining, Global Math Project, and Math Interactions and Routines







This Week: Refining, Global Math Project, and Math Interactions and Routines



Edited By Sahar Khatri @MyMathscape

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Online Professional Development Sessions

Integrating Computational Thinking into the Math Classroom: In this webinar, participants will begin to understand and identify ways in which computational thinking can be incorporated into the math classroom through the context of coding. A wide range of examples and evidence-based practices will be shared. Math topics will include geometry, patterning and plotting points on the Cartesian Plane. Coding tools will include Scratch, ScratchJr, Python, Sphero and Arduino. Participants will be inspired to explore ways in which they can use computational thinking to inform their own pedagogical practices, enrich their lessons and enhance student understanding of math ideas. RSVP and join us at 9 PM EST.

Highlight from last week: Diving into the Desmos Dashboard
Presented by Adam Poetzel. The teacher dashboard that accompanies all Desmos activities is a flexible tool that can be used to monitor student progress, facilitate class discussions, and highlight student responses. In this webinar, participants will experience different features of the dashboard while discussing pedagogical options available to promote student engagement in mathematical thinking. This session is geared towards teachers in grades 5-12 who are beginner to intermediate users of Desmos activities, but all are welcome to tune in to the recording
 here.

Great Blogging Action

 

Four Phases

Jonathan Claydon reflected on the evolution of a lesson/activity over Four Phases.  Read his entire post here.

Phase 1: Experiment

Phase 2: Refine

Phase 3: Redeploy

Phase 4: Keep or Scrap

2015.jpg

 

Jonathan’s post reminds us that a teacher’s job is never complete because we’re constantly desiring to be better teachers, finding ways to provide our students with richer learning experiences than before. He says, “Each year I picked a small aspect to change. I focused.”

Remaining focused and picking small aspects to change is part of a system Jonathan has developed for long-term growth and success. Learning is a journey for teachers because we are students of teaching.

I challenge you to reflect on your lessons and activities for the remainder of the school year so that you may continue to grow and benefit from the art of refinement.
 

~by Andrew Stadel (@mr_stadel)


I’m hoping you’ve all had the chance to experience the Hour of Code.  This has been a movement that has exploded all across the world in an effort to expose as many as people as possible to coding.  They’ve been reaching tens of millions of people in 180+ countries.

Now it’s time for us to join in on bringing fun math to people on a global scale!  Math is incredibly beautiful and fun to do, and everybody should have the chance to experience this.  The Global Math Project has been working hard on getting ready for the first annual Global Math Week in October of 2017, which is aimed at bringing engaging mathematics to the world!

Visit the website to get a sneak peek at the piece of mathematics that will be highlighted this year and keep a lookout for the sign up soon on the website.  I would encourage anybody who has this same passion to be involved by getting your school to participate and reaching out to your circle to get others to participate as well.

Hope to see you participate!

~ by Matthew Engle (@pickpocketbme)

Recently, Brain Bushart reminded us that one of the most important aspects of anything implemented with students is how they interact with it. “And then I thought of my daughter and all of the experiences we have daily with math. I realized that DreamBox might be better than nearly every other edtech program for practicing specific skills and working through a coherent progression of ideas, but it’s not the kind of math I want my 5 year old daughter to experience. I don’t want her worrying about whether a computer is telling her her answers are correct or whether she’s taking too long to come up with them or whether she’s finding them in the most efficient way possible.” Even fans of Dreambox (myself included) can get behind this line of thinking when it comes to feedback and mathematical mindsets.

On another note, Jana Sanchez begins her blogging experience by talking about one of her favorite math routines, Which One Doesn’t Belong. She begins by pointing out something that should resonate with any elementary school teacher, “A colleague pointed out that we spend a lot of time at elementary, typically, creating a literacy-rich environment but not very much time making it a numeracy-rich one.”

Finally, David Wees is continuing his work to spread the instructional routine gospel! He is offering two courses on instructional routines. If you can, I recommend learning about how to implement these instructional routines. Instructional routines are not only good for general education students, but have been shown to be a positive experience for students with disabilities as well.

~by Andrew Gael (@bkdidact)

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Desmos Pro Tips and Exploding Blogs!







Desmos Pro Tips and Exploding Blogs!



Edited By Nate Goza @thegozaway

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Online Professional Development Sessions

Diving into the Desmos Dashboard
Presented by Adam Poetzel

The teacher dashboard that accompanies all Desmos activities is a flexible tool that can be used to monitor student progress, facilitate class discussions, and highlight student responses. In this webinar, participants will experience different features of the dashboard while discussing pedagogical options available to promote student engagement in mathematical thinking. This session is geared towards teachers in grades 5-12 who are beginner to intermediate users of Desmos activities, but all are welcome!

To join the meeting when it starts at 9pm Eastern (or RSVP if it’s before 9pm), click here.

Last week at Global Math Zachary Herrmann shared practices to help develop curiosity and creativity in the math classroom. Click here to watch.

The Blogosphere is Blowing Up

A few things I’ve noticed in 2017 thus far…
 
I love this tweet by Sara Vanderwerf, but I love her blog post even more.  We help students more by giving them the tools and direction to construct their own meaning in math rather than by lecturing them (most of the time); Sara suggests in this blog post that the same philosophy applies when we help each other as well.  Don’t you love her graphic?
 
Speaking of the geniuses at Desmos, they have added a long-awaited for feature – the ability to add a custom label to a point, and with their usual super-smartness, the Desmos programmers have made sure that multiple labels in your activity will not get in each other’s way.  Read the post, and go play.
 
Do you know what an octahectaennacontakaihexagon is?  Neither did I, until I visited solvemymaths first foray into YouTube land.  It’s a great (and somewhat psychedelic) start to what I hope will be many more mathily entertaining videos.
 
I’ve been reading Jennifer Wilson’s Easing the Hurry blog for years, and I’ve also read 5 Practices for Orchestrating Productive Mathematics Discussions more than once. In her post 5 Practices: Dilations, Jennifer elaborates how this important book has impacted her teaching through the lens of one lesson.  
 
Brian Palacios wrote about his earliest school experiences in Where it all began, which prompted me to write about mine, including my early impressions of learning math.  What are your earliest memories of school and math?  How about writing about them and sharing at #whereitallbegan?
 
Finally, thanks to Grace Chen at educating grace for giving us a list of math books to read in the coming year.

Cheers – Wendy Menard  (@wmukluk)

       

In the early days of 2017 people all over the world try to commit themselves to new resolutions in the new year. This year a number of teachers have committed to blogging regularly and just polished off 1 week of the #MTBoSblogsplosion. The first week focused on “My Favorites” here are some of those posts:
 
Greta, who blogs at Count it All Joy wrote the post  My Favorites: 2 Equation Activities. This post talks about an interesting web app, and an inclass activity that both involve balancing. Bilingual blog  Matematiche, written by Fracqua is the lastest example of #MTBoS’s reach. In the post “Blogging initiative” the author describes some veteran tactics to help make groupwork less painful. Melynee Naegele’s post One of My Favorites describes her experience as a teacher, and also some tips for working with instructional routines.
 
Exploremtbos is the homebase for those interested in blogging or following along, as blogger can find prompts for each week, as well as read the posts from other people’s classrooms. This week’s challenge is around soft skills, and it focuses on the ‘virtual’ soft skills conference that was held by Riley Lark. People who don’t prefer weekly challenges, but still want to participate, they can just state their commitment and post the blogs as they write them as I described in my blog post Get your 2017 blogging off on the right foot with #MTBoSblogsplosion.

Written by Carl Oliver (@carloliwitter)

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For Auld Lang Syne and Cosyne







For Auld Lang Syne and Cosyne



Edited By Brian Bushart @bstockus

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Creativity and Curiosity in the Math Classroom
Presented by Zach Hermann (@zachhermann)

Curiosity and creativity are essential for the future of our students and of our society. Unfortunately, we as teachers do things everyday that systematically squash these habits of mind. We will discuss three common teacher practices that stifle curiosity and creativity, and three alternative practices that can help develop them. Curious?

To join the meeting when it starts at 9pm Eastern (or RSVP if it’s before 9pm), click here.

It turns out you didn’t miss Global Math last week. We were on a break. Whew! However, now is a great time to go back and check out one of our previous sessions you might have missed. Learn something new to kick off 2017!

The #MTBoS Never Sleeps

Nearly Hot Off the Press

Get your finances in order: Tracy Zager’s book, Becoming the Math Teacher You Wish You’d Had, comes out this week! I pre-ordered the book and got the e-book, which I have been digging into over the winter break. Having only read the first four chapters, I can already say that this is a teaching book unlike any that I’ve read before. Tracy’s book is full of wonderful suggestions for math teachers of all age ranges, and it is bound together with a coherent voice and message about how Tracy sees the math classroom.

If you can’t wait for the book to arrive, Tracy has put together an extensive companion site for her book. There are videos, links to blog posts, and even a full-length study guide for the book. The site should slake your thirst until January 5th, when the book is officially released.

Written by Kent Haines (@KentHaines)

The Song That Never Ends

When I hear the topic of problem solving come up in professional conversations, I feel like singing, “This is the song that doesn’t end, yes it goes on and on my friends…”  These conversations seem to go around and around as educators share their opinions of what problem solving should look like and how it should be approached.  In the conversations in which I have been a part, those who wanted a specific procedure for solving problems held the loudest voice.

Here’s my two cents backed by a few experts in the field.  When it comes to problem solving, I feel the emphasis should be more on the reasoning than on the procedure for answering a word problem.  Terry Tao’s quote from this post adds some light to my thinking:  “Finding a solution is a short term goal and increasing understanding of the subject is the long term goal.”  Max Ray’s post from 2015 really hammers home the wavering perspectives of problem solving in American classrooms.  One point which I believe is often forgotten is students are more than capable of solving problems without an explicit procedure as noted in CGI materials.

So what do we do?  Robert Kaplinsky suggests we should move our focus from procedures that work for only some problems to a thinking format which could be applied to any problem.  What I love about this problem solving framework is it encourages students to make sense of the problem and the quantities, which I sometimes feel is a lost art.  

Written by Jenise Sexton (@MrsJeniseSexton)

Capture.JPG

I’m starting 2017 eclectically. Usually when it’s my team’s turn to contribute to this newsletter, I look at all the tweets I’ve liked recently, and narrow it down to about 3 blogposts that seem to have a common theme. Well this time, I just can’t eliminate anything. I’ve been favouriting like a boss for the last 3 weeks! Rather than finding a common theme amongst them, here they all are, with a show-stopping line from each:

Michael Pershan @mpershan: “…complex numbers only gained mathematical respectability when people married a geometric and algebraic perspective on them.”

Bill Ferriter @plugusin (Via @BlueCerealEduc):  “…I am making a commitment to LEARNING WITH rather than LEARNING FROM people this year.”

arstechnica.com via @Nash076: “….(Twitter’s) most talked-about user, President Elect Donald Trump, has relied on the platform to spread misinformation and point his most harassing and abusive followers at specific people he dislikes…Who the heck wants to buy that kind of site?”

Terie Englebrecht @mrsbiology:  “So how do teachers get started teaching less and giving more feedback? The answer is…that depends.”

Ben Orlin @benorlin:  “Mathematics should not be an intimidating collection of inscrutable methods! It should be a timidating collection of scrutable methods!”

Carol Dweck:  “False growth mindset is saying you have growth mindset when you don’t really have it or you don’t really understand what it is. It’s also false in the sense that nobody has a growth mindset in everything all the time.”

Kenrya Rankin @kenrya via @colorlines: “In 2015, 21 young people-half of whom identify as Native or Black-filed a lawsuit charging President Barack Obama, the Environmental Protection Agency, and the U.S Departments of Energy, the Interior, Commerce, Agriculture, Defense, and State for willfully poisoning the earth they will inherit, rendering it toxic for future generations.”

Written by Audrey McLaren (@a_mcsquared)

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