Global Math Department is Thankful for YOU

Global Math Department is Thankful for YOU

Edited By Brian Bushart @bstockus

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Online Professional Development Sessions

We here at Global Math Department are thankful for our presenters who volunteer an hour of their time each week to share their passions and expertise around math education. We are also grateful for all of you who read our newsletter and attend our sessions. We wouldn’t be global or a math department without you! Whether or not you celebrate US Thanksgiving, we wish each and every one of you a wonderful week with students, friends, and family.

Global Math Department is on break this week, but we will return with our next fantastic session on Tuesday November 29. In the meantime, check out the articles below that share the latest and greatest from around the #MTBoS.

Last week at Global Math, Kate Nowak helped us re-think classroom activities by turning them upside down. Click here to watch.

The #MTBoS Never Sleeps

Don’t Wait for Problem Solving

Tracy Zager has a nice summary of a talk given by Megan Franke and the way that Tracy changed her classroom in response to Megan’s ideas. Megan is one of the authors of Young Children’s Mathematics, the newest book by the authors behind Cognitively Guided Instruction.

In the book, the CGI authors make the case that young children can develop their skills as counters and problem solvers simultaneously. Many teachers only give students opportunities to solve problems once they have become fluent with the underlying skills, but Megan and her co-authors argue that children become more fluent and agile with counting facts (and later math facts) when they are practiced in the context of problems, not solely in isolation.

Tracy realized that she had been doing lots of work with counting collections, but she hadn’t used these counting activities as a springboard for problem-solving. So she recounts how she and her colleague Debbie Nichols turned a traditional counting activity into a multi-part lesson where students were counting, solving problems, and even posing and sharing problems that they invented. Tracy’s report includes a couple of examples of students stumbling upon new mathematical ideas through their problem-solving experiences. I won’t give them away – you’ll have to click through!

Although this post has a focus in early elementary, I think the lesson is one that can be extended into all levels of math teaching. It’s important to remember to give kids problem-solving opportunities as they build fluency with counting, addition, multiplication, factoring, and so on. We shouldn’t wait or expect total mastery before giving kids a chance to think through an interesting problem with their new tools.

Written by Kent Haines (@KentHaines)

One Good Thing…And Another…And Another

As Thanksgiving approaches I cannot help but to put thoughts of math on the back burner and bring thoughts of thankfulness to the front. This school year I was introduced to the hashtag and blog #onegoodthing by @crstn85. I can think of no better time to highlight tons of good things happening within math classrooms around the world than now.

These tweets are the type to lift your spirit when you’re feeling low. It’s a reminder than even when things appear bleak, you can find one good thing. Like this tweet celebrating student work and their admiration of one another’s work.  Or the celebration of student strategies in an era where many are still struggling to get used to Common Core. I’m sure every math teacher would love to have these stories – story 1, story 2, story 3, and story 4.

Moments like these are elaborated within the blog.  Posts like Basic Trust and Allowing about a student finally finding the potential already within him. Or Handout Passer Outer, which reminded Rebecka and the readers to listen to the stories of perseverance our students possess. Or even Listening, which shares the pain of a student and the teacher’s love for him. Read them and see if they don’t prompt you to share one good thing from your classroom.  

After this Thanksgiving break, come back in search of the one good thing from each day and continue the thankfulness agenda.

Written by Jenise Sexton (@MrsJeniseSexton)

Math and Memory

File:Mathematical formulas.JPG

On a recent test, one of my students used a formula to answer a question. Normally I would have insisted he show his work, but I happened to know that he had derived and verified the formula himself. Since he had done the important work prior to the test, I decided to give full marks, even though during the test he was technically just remembering the formula. This made me tweet to the #mtbos: “I get why we discourage kids using formulas, but what if they’re the ones who came up with the formula?” As usual, the Twitter conversation was fascinating and enlightening. Manon Shah (@shahlock) proposed the conversation continue on blogs, and for a starter, he offered up his comic. I have to admit I haven’t even started my own blog post about this, but I found this one by John Mason about how memorizing formulas can be used to forge deeper understanding. It also includes a fabulous idea about posters.

Not really formula related, but another idea that I loved was Pam Wilson’s (@pamjwilson) reverse quiz, in which students choose the wrong answer and back up why it’s wrong – kind of a combo of Math Mistakes and Plickers!

Since I’ve been doing a lot of presenting on Desmos Activities lately, I’m ever on the lookout for posts about best practices. This one by David Cox (@dcox21) speaks directly to what I struggle with in my own practice – how to really get the most math out of a fantastic activity like marbleslides.

Written by Audrey McLaren (@a_mcsquared)

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