For Auld Lang Syne and Cosyne

For Auld Lang Syne and Cosyne

Edited By Brian Bushart @bstockus

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Online Professional Development Sessions

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)


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.” 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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