The Holiday Homestretch

The Holiday Homestretch

Edited By Nate Goza @thegozaway

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Online Professional Development Sessions

Reaching the Whole Range
Presented by Henri Picciotto

As everyone knows, students learn math at different rates. What should we do about it? I propose a two-prong strategy based on alliance with the strongest students, and support for the weakest. On the one hand, relatively easy-to-implement ways to insure constant forward motion and eternal review. On the other hand, a tool-based pedagogy that supports multiple representations, and increases both access and challenge.

To join the meeting when it starts at 9pm Eastern (or RSVP if it’s before 9pm), click here.

Last week Global Math took a Thanksgiving break, but before that Kate Nowak showed us how to turn classroom activities upside down. Click here to watch.

Thanks to the #MTBoS

Thankful Teachers

It’s been a helluva November – wouldn’t you agree?

So it was lovely to read some good reminders of how much we have to be thankful for.  Here are a couple of my faves:

Under the category ‘Multiple Representations’, we can always count on Indexed to accurately depict the human condition:

Elizabeth Statmore, or our beloved Cheesemonkey reminded me of the very best thing about the #MTBoS, besides giving me the best professional development every day in so many different ways.

And Fawn Nguyen, the Queen of many things in the math education world (including teacher snark), delivered a brief but humbling note of thanks, reminding me to always check my privilege at the door.  Note in her post that she is writing a book!  While you are on Fawn’s blog, make sure you read her post Irrelevant from earlier this month as well.

Teaching Stuff

If you are looking for any ideas for cooperative learning in your classroom, Glenn Waddell has compiled a hyperlinked list of resources for you.  Thanks for letting us share in your graduate education, tuition free – no less, Glenn!  

A great idea from Pam Wilson – the Reverse Quiz!  Having students find errors in work promotes critical thinking skills and deepens understanding.  Pam suggests we let the students make mistakes and explain why they are wrong.  Brilliant!

Jonathan Claydon, writing at Infinite Sums, makes a strong case for slowing down your curriculum pacing to ensure your students have enough procedural fluency to actually solve problems with the Big Ideas you want to teach them.  As teachers, all of us are answerable to some end-of-year goal, whether it’s a Regents exam, a departmental final, or just making sure our students are adequately prepared for next year.  Jonathan (who has also shared some interesting assessment ideas in a previous post in answer to a tweet for help), challenges us to let that go just a bit in order to close some of our students’ the proficiency gaps.

Cheers – Wendy Menard  (@wmukluk)

Vlogging Action

If you’re reading this newsletter I’ll assume you’re aware of the MTBoS community. The blessing and curse of our amazing community is that as more people contribute and share, the harder it is to keep up with it all.

So when Christina Tondevold shared that she was changing her blog to a vlog I couldn’t help but think how much easier it would be for me to consume her goodness, as the “reader.”


Christina recently posted a vlog describing the ins and out of Subitizing and shared some games to support her work.

I’m excited to see what else the Recovering Traditionalist will share and wondering if there’s any other vloggers out there amongst us.

Written by Graham Fletcher (@gfletchy)

The Problems of Teachers

At this point in the year some teachers may be grappling with many kinds of problems. The blog world has examples of some teachers, thinking through some thought provoking problems.

Manan Shah (@shahlock) writes about a problem that was tweeted by Audrey McLaren (@a_mcsquared): “I get why we discourage kids using formulas, but what if they’re the ones who came up with the formula? #mtbos” In his response, What’s the Formula for Formulas?, Shah describes why we want students to understand the meaning of the formulas they use, and goes on to talk about how to push the thinking of students who create their own formulas.

Blogging is a good place to break down thoughts about problems teachers face with their students, as well as with their own lessons. Jon Orr (@MrOrr_geek) has an interesting series of Fav and Fix posts that describe “my favourite” from that week’s lessons, and “Something I hope to fix”. This week’s post describes how Would You Rather Math, along with a warm up from Mary Bourassa, sparked a great class discussion. His fix for this week is a work in progress as Jon highlights his thinking about a fledgling 3-act task.

Sometimes the problems teachers face aren’t tangible in a student interaction, or in a lesson as a whole. Sometimes the entire idea of teaching needs to be called into question. In What even IS good teaching?, Lisa Bejarano (@lisabej_manitou) takes a very broad approach at how to measure classroom success. A highly decorated teacher and PAEMST awardee, Lisa should feel sold on her effectiveness. Yet she writes “Most of my class periods end with me thinking about what a mess it was…” as this post goes on to raise questions about traditional measures of teacher distinction. “There is too much focus on what is observable in a class period…and not enough on the culture and connections that teachers develop with and among their students.” She goes on to describe some of the strategies that build the connections and culture that she needs in her class.

Problems facing teachers can arise because they are focused on larger goals that may not be noticed or awarded in their schools. Luckily deep thinking about the problems of teachers can be noticed and celebrated across the blogosphere.

Written by Carl Oliver (@carloliwitter)

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