This week, The Madness Of March

This week, The Madness Of March

Edited By Carl Oliver @carloliwitter

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Online Professional Development Sessions

Intervention has traditionally been focused on skills remediation. Come explore how to transform intervention time into a problem solving workshop in which students build identities as mathematicians while engaging in rich problem solving. In Transforming Intervention: Moving from Skills Remediation to Rich Problem Solving, Kassia Wedekind and Mary Beth Dillane will share videos of mathematician interviews from Mary Beth’s 5th grade classroom that both illustrate the changes students experienced over the year and left us with many questions and wonderings about what was next for these students and others. Join us tonight at 9 EST here.

Last week Shelley Aaberg presented Bringing the World Outside School Into Your Math Classroom. Everyone’s got problems (of the math variety), especially people outside your school. Whether it’s an oil storage tank in an auto shop, a mailbox on a mail carrier’s route, or raising public awareness about rabies-infected skunks, seeing the math in the world is easy. Turning that math into a lesson or an activity for students is the tricky part. To view the recording click here.

Great Blogging Action

The Madness of March


March is often a rough stretch for schools. Summer is so far away, the year began so many months ago, and the bag of tricks seems to be empty. There just isn’t much for anyone to get excited about. The early spring doldrums can stretch in to the classroom, affecting students and teachers as well.

As Justin Aion writes in his post Disconnection, “When you give an assignment that allows students multiple options and the one they choose is ‘I’m not doing this,’ it makes it very hard to gather the enthusiasm to put your energy into finding a new one.” When students are not pushing themselves to do their best, or do anything, it may not be fair to shoulder the burden of their lack of effort. This is also the case for students who immediately look for help when they struggle in their work. There maybe some students who look for adults to help them out at the first sign of difficult. Elizabeth writes in her post What to do when strong students struggle that the times that “…you have to be willing to allow them to struggle. Only then can they truly own their own success.” Sometimes, the answer to teachers’ struggles with students is to allow the students to do some of that struggle for themselves.

March is certainly a time where teachers think about how to serve students better. It certainly takes a lot of work and probably a lot of different strategies in order to come up with a recipe that will produce the outcomes you want. In Culture and the Kitchen Sink, Geoff Krall was trying to synthesize a visit to a building with exceptional school culture when he noticed that there wasn’t one clear strategy that led to their success. “Then it dawns on me: none of these things produce exceptional school culture. All of these things produce exceptional school culture. It’s all of these things that are producing the culture that I just experienced, and certainly more practices that I didn’t witness.” Certainly success will involve a number of different approaches, and the support of many people, including the students and staff. 

By Carl Oliver (@carloliwitter)

“The only answer I know — the only answer I trust — is that you have to be willing to allow them to struggle.”
                                                ~Elizabeth (@cheesemonkeySF)


The Struggle is All Too Real


Elizabeth’s latest post, What to do when Strong Students Struggle is a reminder that the struggle is real for all of our students at one time or another. This is something that resonates with a lot of educators and parents so it’s great to to be able to connect. The best way to help? Step back, let them struggle, and own their failures and successes. Like many teachers, it’s really hard to stand by and watch students struggle. A part of me feels like I am not doing my job, but then again holding their hands and spoon feeding them isn’t in my job title either.

After reading her entire post, don’t forget to check out the NYT column Elizabeth mentioned, “How Can you Make a Student Care Enough to Work Harder?”  The article mentions that research has shown that they way to increase intrinsic motivation is to back off and promote autonomy. Step back, let them struggle, and own their failures and successes. And then head over to Dylan Kane’s post on how he is messaging productive struggle in the classroom. So while the struggle is real, it doesn’t have to be painful.

By Sahar Khatri (@khatrimath)


Viable Arguments and Critiqued Reasoning

I always enjoy a post about the Standards for Mathematical Practice because they help strengthen and improve my own understanding.
In the past, Steve Leinwand and Andrew Stadel have praised the power of SMP #3-Construct Viable Argument and Critique the Reasoning of Others.  This time it’s Robert Kaplinsky.  If you want to improve your own understanding you need to check out Robert’s take on SMP#3.
Written by @gfletchy (Graham Fletcher)

Hot on Twitter: #NCTMAnnual is around the corner

And stop by Booth 1335 (p. 193 in Program Book) to pick up a #MTBoS ribbon! @NCTM @themathforum @crstn85 @MFAnnie pasta? #MTBoS

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