Conference Bonanza!

Conference Bonanza!

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 Makes Problems Complex?

Presented by Hannah Schuchhardt

Helping students learn how to problem solve is a problem in itself. In this session we’ll look at some different strategies to help students identify what makes problems or tasks more complex than others’ with the goal that this helps them unpack the problem solving process. We’ll discuss partner or group activities and discussion prompts that help students identify complex tasks and show their thinking.
Sign Up Here.

Last week’s recording of My Favorites can be viewed here.  

Cool Bloggies

Meg Craig wrote a great post to remind us it’s ok for us to approach classroom issues differently.  It’s probably not productive for us to constantly spew our dissent on twitter.

If you’re thinking about your math department’s curriculum, Henri Picciotto just finished his third post in a series about big picture curriclum planning. The most recent installment, Themed Courses?, was inspired by a twitter discussion around ‘themed’ vs. ‘hodgepoge’ curriculum. While on one hand high school trigonometry classes lack a central theme, this may be comfortable for students, as most 4th grade classes also cover a wide array of topics. Picciotto states that the decision around these things should be individualized, “taking into account the specifics of one’s school, such as school culture, schedule, and student preparation.” He lays out some of the most important things to consider and he also provides the curriculum map that he created for his high school as an example. It’s worth the read, as are the previous posts in the series, Pruning the Curriculum and Mapping out a Course.

If you just want to do some math, jump into the PCMI ‘e-table.’ Do some of the same math that they are working on at the 2015 Park City Math Institute and talk with other educators via google each evening. The math problems will unfold over time but it looks like there will be a focus on triangles and Geogebra. If you’re interested in the happenings in Utah, follow along with the hashtag #pcmisummer!

Hashtag PD #ConferenceChat

Tons of tweeps are traveling the globe, soaking up strategies from fellow educators, and sharing gems on twitter for all of us to enjoy!  

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Summer Engagement

This Week at Global Math – 06/23/2015

Included this week: This week’s Global Math webinar details, some things to check out from the interwebs that you might have missed.  Edited by Ashli Black.

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This Week at Global Math: 

My Favorites

At Global Math tonight we have math teachers share their favorite thing in the online world this week.


Brooke Powers (@LBrookePowers) 

Matt Enlow (@CmonMattTHINK) 

Dylan Kane (@math8_teacher) 

Hedge (@approx_normal) 

Jessica Bogie (@algebrainiac1)

Presented by: Jessica Bogie (@algebrainiac1).

Sign up here.

Last week on Global Math we heard from The Shadow Con crew with some follow up thoughts from Boston and an inside look at how it came together.  View the recording here.

Summer engagement


As the school year closes many teachers head for the hills (or the beach or the lake or abroad).  Some, however, wonder what they can do over the summer break to maintain their high level of professional inquiry.  If you are the latter, then may I suggest one of the many twitter book club chats happening over the summer.


The first is centered around the book Intentional Talk by Elham Kazemi and Allison Hintz.  Both authors are active on twitter and are heavily involved in the book club chat.  This chat is run by Dylan Kane and Bridget Dunbar.  The chat is being run slow chat style on the hashtag #intenttalk.  Below is a more detailed schedule.  


Screen Shot 2015-06-22 at 10.56.35 PM.png   

Another twitter book club going on right now is for the book Mindsets in the Classroom by Mary Cay Ricci.  It is led by Laurie B-Worthington and is every Tuesday at 8pm EST on the hashtag #msitcbc.  Justin Aion is ready for twitter book clubs this summer! Are you?

written by Andrew Gael (@bkdidact)

Tell Me Something About the Problem


There are so many great blogs out there… here are two I’m determined to get caught up on reading this summer. The fact that they’re both newer blogs makes this an attainable goal.


Uw2ILI-v_400x400.jpeg The amazing Marilyn Burns has been blogging since January. I saw Marilyn present a few years ago and wish I had her as a math teacher when I was in school. Like so many of us, she states in her first post that she’s “still on the journey of becoming a good math teacher.”

*Bonus points: follow Marilyn on Twitter too.

u3_wAozZ_400x400.jpeg Michael Pershan has been throwing down some new beats over at Problem Problems where it’s All About Problem Solving. I highly doubt he’s only going to post 99.

written by Andrew Stadel (@mr_stadel)


With summer upon us comes three of the best weeks of math PD out there: The Park City Mathematics Institute. It’s three weeks of doing math, thinking deeply about teaching, and creating things that will benefit the teaching community.
For those interested in learning more about PCMI, you can check out an info site here and also follow along with the morning math problems, check out what the Reflection on Practice session is thinking and reading, or follow the PCMI hashtag, #pcmisummer. A lot of those links are pretty blank for now since PCMI starts on June 29th, but to see what it will look like click here to see the class notes from 2014.

written by Ashli Black (@mythagon)


Summer Math Photo Challenge


Summer Math Photo Challenge




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:  Shadow Con

Presented by Jonathan Claydon and Michael Pershan

Shadow Con was a teacher-led mini conference hosted during the twilight hours of the annual conference of the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics in Boston, MA. While the impact of many conference sessions ends when a participant leaves the room, Shadow Con aims for an enduring conference experience.

During this webinar, we will hear about the development, planning, and implementation of Shadow Con 2015. We will also hear from five of the Shadow Con presenters about their experience and look towards the future!

Sign Up Here.

Last week’s recording on Spiraling Deeper with Activity Based Learning in Mathematics can be viewed here.

#MTBoS Summer Math Photo Challenge

The #mathphoto15 challenge is happening on Twitter this summer, hosted by an enthusiastic international cadre of #MTBoS members. The challenge runs June through most of August and is being broadcast in English, French and Spanish.

The premise is simple, the results are inspiring.  Photos that illustrate each week’s mathematical theme are posted to Twitter using the #mathphoto15 hashtag and can also be viewed in the associated Flickr photo stream.  We are heading into our third week of the challenge focusing on tessellations, wallpaper groups and frieze patterns (#tiles).  Our Week 4 challenge is the enigmatic prompt of “three,” suggested by the inimitable Christopher Danielson. We hope you (and your kids and/or your students) will ponder the weeks’ challenges throughout the summer, keep your cameras nearby, and add to our joyful and growing collection of inspiring mathematical images!

Why take photos of math ideas in the everyday world? Even if something seems “obvious” we can still deepen our understanding of a mathematical object or idea by comparing it against non-examples or almost-but-not-quite examples outside of more familiar mathematical contexts.

Consider our Week 1 theme of arrays. Is the image below, posted by @ms_hansel, an array? What properties are you focusing on when you give your answer?

Or how about this image from @julietaSpace? Is this an array?

Or what about this?

What are the essential properties needed to define an array? Can an array be circular? What is the difference between a rectangular and a circular array? Does the shape change the nature of the information we can find there?

In addition to viewing the photos we are also having interesting and useful conversations about the images. And, in a wonderful turn of events, moving examples (videos, gifs and other animations) are being added into them mix to help us further deepen our understanding and conceptualization of these foundational mathematical ideas.

We hope you will join in the fun and conversation this summer. The challenge has already been inspirational to many, and the Flickr photo stream has already been useful for educators who were still in school during the first half of June.  Check out the weekly challenges on the Summer Photo Challenge Website and then start playing! We can’t wait to see what you find!

Written By Malke Rosenfeld (@mathinyourfeet)

Sahar Khatri (@KhatriMath) adds some other tips on how to participate:

  • Identify the week’s theme and tag by checking out this page. The challenge is currently running it’s third week with #tessellations. Here is a quick cheat sheet for the entire summer.
  • Take a picture and share it on twitter using #mathphoto15

Many schools across the country are on their summer breaks, but I have a few more weeks left with my students so this is also a great engaging opportunity to get my students involved. Since the challenge continues through August, I am excited to see how many of my students continue during the summer. Don’t forget to share this with that friend…you know the one who always takes pictures of everything. Challenge them to find curves, lines, tessellations, symmetry, and so on.

Just in Time for Summer

Common Core Math has been a source of debate for educators, politicians and parents for several years now.  The newly elected superintendent has weighed in on what he has deemed “funny math methods”.  Disregarding the implementation of continuous quality professional development, Superintendent Woods has opted to encourage teachers to abandon the language of the standards for methods proven to not work for all students.

In his most recent post, @gfletchy incorporated research from NCTM and Constance Kamii’s 1998 article The Harmful Effects Of Algorithms In Grades 1-4 to support the effectiveness of the encouraging student created strategies.  He makes very sensible comments about teachers being professionals who shouldn’t have to depend on a textbook in order to teach their subject matter.  He also tackled Superintendent Woods’ correlation between homework and the standards.

Not to be outdone, @mikewiernicki further discusses the pros and cons of algorithms in his most recent post.  Coupled with examples, Wiernicki provides the clear negative effectives solely introducing the standard algorithm without having conceptual understanding.

Often, teachers are expected to implement initiatives without proper or effective professional development.  When this happens, scratching the right work for a lack of planning has the potential of being more detrimental than following through with the initial plan.  The voices of knowledgeable educators actually doing the right work are necessary for the betterment of ALL students.

Written by: Jenise Sexton (@MrsJeniseSexton)

Other Summer Projects

Inspired by Malke Rosenfeld’s Summer Math Photo Challenge, I went looking for other summer projects of a similar nature, something in which anyone can easily participate, and something involving math. I was not too successful at that, I have to admit, but I did come across two separate things which gave me an idea for a project.

First I saw @BlueCerealEduc ‘s tweet about a Summer Reading Challenge, posted by Claudia Swisher, on her blog. For the past ten years, Claudia and her friend have read a book together every summer and discussed it on their morning walks through their neigbourhood. They have even posted snapshots of favourite lines on Facebook, bringing friends and family into their circle of book heaven. This summer, they’re reading To Kill a Mockingbird, and have invited others to share in the discussion via an online reading group. Hmmm, thought me, what an easy way to bring people into a discussion – using a camera and social media. The next thing I saw was @mathymeg07‘s tweet for people doing a Twitter book study, in which she invited everyone to add their planned reading titles to a Google spreadsheet.

I know that Twitter book chats have been around for a while, but I liked Claudia’s idea of naturally bringing others into the discussion, so I will be reading one of the books on this list – the #OKMath one, and I’ll see how it goes on Facebook as well as Twitter. My hope is that, as is the case with the #mathphoto15 project, even people who aren’t math teachers might get lured into it, unaware that they are thinking and talking about math!

Written By Audrey McLaren (@a_mcsquared)

Problem of the Week

Look at this problem and try and come up with as many ways of solving this problem as you can.

(Source: June 2015, NY State Regents Exam in Algebra I)

Written By David Wees (@davidwees)