Inspiration for the School Year
Here in New York, school doesn’t begin until Thursday (September 8), so I have the advantage of reading about how everyone else begins their school year, making my to-do and to-implement lists ever longer. As always, there is some tremendous intentional and reflective work going on in the Math Blogosphere.
For example, Anna Blinstein, over at BorshctwithAnna, has written about a Habits of Mind unit that she is doing with her 9th graders – a great use of instructional routines to establish classroom norms and expectations.
In the ‘Make Your Ideal Classroom’ department, John Berray gives step-by-step instructions in turning your classroom tables into whiteboard surfaces! (I’ve already written my Donorschoose proposal for the supplies.)
Tina Cardone rethought her homework strategy for the coming year, and has come up with a plan which provides spiraling practice in one type of assignment, and addresses broader goals of social justice, student voice and critical thinking in another, more-extended type of assignment. By hooking her students with prompts that are designed to elicit both opinions and mathematical thinking, Tina is creating a space in which students can connect math with real world experiences.
My colleagues in NYC are doing some great pre-year reflecting as well. Matt Baker breaks down his starting routines for the coming year, which are closely aligned to his teaching goals. These routines include high 5’s and warm-ups designed to help his students take better notes and understand the goal and sequence of lessons. Brian Palacio, about to begin teaching at a new school, takes a major look in the teaching mirror, looking both forward and back. It’s a great piece, one that led me to reflect on my own career.
Two math and social justice notes: Do you follow Jessica Hagy’s blog Indexed? You probably should, for her wonderful graphs, like this:
And you might want to read Cathy O’Neil’s (mathbabe.org) book, Weapons of Math Destruction, about the mathematical models by which financial decisions are made and personal futures controlled. Evelyn Lamb reviewed this important book here.
Written by Wendy Menard (@wmukluk)