We All Make Mistakes

We All Make Mistakes

Edited By Nate Goza @thegozaway

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Online Professional Development Sessions

Making the Most of Mistakes
Presented by Peg Cagle (@pegcagle)

We need to do more than normalize errors in our classrooms – we need to leverage them! Examine ways to capitalize on student mistakes to drive instruction, deepen homework and frame quizzes/tests as assessments of and as learning, leading to greater student agency and lower risk aversion.

To join the meeting when it starts at 9:00 PM Eastern (or RSVP beforehand), click here.

Last week at Global Math Steve Wyborney shared ways to promote mathematical discourse using animated illustrations.  Click here to check out his session.

Word From the #MTBoS

Teachers Make Mistakes Too!  #lessonfail

No one reading this is perfect, we all know that. At the same time, it is easy for us to mask our flaws when we are around other professionals. I certainly feel this way, and I was reminded of it when I was reading Annie Perkins post #Lessonfail and Self Doubt. Annie tells a full story of a conversation that began in the chat room of Tracy Zager’s Global Math Department talk, #lessonclose. This would go on to make the full rounds on the #MTBoS as it spilled over into a Twitter conversation, and then became a blog post, to which others replied with their own blog posts.

Some of the notable posts that followed were from Ilona Vashchyshyn, Annie Forest, and Madison Knowe. One thing Madison speaks about is the need to use her blog as a place to show off all sides of her professional life, not just the highlight reel. “From here on, this blog is not a place to show off myself, it’s a place to be known in all my professional shortcomings and inquires.” While it may be hard to imagine yourself wanting to write about your own #lessonfail, perhaps it is worth it to think that teachers who are in the place that Annie was are hoping for “..a bit more of, “I’ve been there, too.”

Written by Carl Oliver (@carloliwitter)

It’s the end of the year, and many of us are reflecting on the year – things we wish we had done better, or looking forward, things we want to do next year.  For many of us, myself included, this process may involve (in part) some metaphorical (I hope!) self-flagellation.  But people are writing hopefully about these practices, and in the interest of letting yourself off the hook just a bit, and having a more balanced perspective towards your future school years, here are a few good reads.
In Things We’re Going to Need You To Stop Saying, part 5 the Curmudgeon (self-names) debunks several blanket statements that may fit into 140 characters (ahem), statements that are ultimately harmful to good teaching.  Examples include:
If your exam questions only use integers then they aren’t Real World(tm) Questions.
If your exam questions require a calculator, then you’re asking the wrong questions.
Curmudgeon points out that the learning curve requires questions with all types of input, which anyone who has designed a lesson with scaffolding well knows.

Telanna, over at Chasing Number Sense jumped feet first into a fray of student feedback.  Responding to a call to action from in a course with Kaneka Turner, Telanna collected data from 50 3rd graders on their experiences in math class and their perceptions of themselves as math students.  

THEN, she worked with them to dig a little deeper into that data in order to gain insight into her practice in the classroom.  Talk about facing oneself as a teacher fearlessly!  I love the way she ended her post:  “I am glad I did not just end my year with the assumption that I know what is going on through my students’ heads as they enter and leave my math classes. I still wonder what I did wrong, what I need to change next year so that my students have this realization about the nature of math as a subject earlier than May.”

I think Don Steward gets written about in this newsletter at least every quarter; I myself have contributed several posts about his website.  Is there no end to the man’s brilliance?  This came up in my feed this morning:
Of course, this exercise came with well-scaffolded examples of increasing difficulty, and it’s a great Open Middle type of problem.  Thanks, Don!

Food for thought:  an article in the Atlantic at the end of April, How Does Race Affect a Student’s Math Education? discusses the subtle (and sometimes not so subtle) ways in which ‘whiteness’ influences the way students of color, and particularly black students, are taught math.  It’s an interesting and important read, as is the paper it references “A Framework for Understanding Whiteness in Mathematics Education”.  We’ve got the whole summer to reflect on how we can transform our classrooms into equitable spaces.

Cheers –
Wendy Menard

One thing I’ve personally enjoyed over the course of this year is watching how Kyle Pearce has extended his passion for math education by really diving into K-5 mathematics.  Until this year, Kyle was a secondary math consultant, which is the same as a math coach for our American friends. He now has the pleasure of working with K-12 teachers and has graciously shared his journey with us on his blog. Last week at #OAME17, Kyle gave an Ignite Talk entitled The Beauty of Elementary Mathematics and he shared his slide deck and notes here. Whether you’re a K-5 teacher or not, you’ll walk away with a greater appreciation for elementary math…and Prince.


Written by Graham Fletcher (@gfletchy)

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