Monday, September 22, 2014

Number Sense Conversations

I've put the elevator speeches to rest. Today's two minute speech went well... I think. As one event concludes, I'm excited to resume my ongoing thoughts about number sense and students.

Working with teachers and students, I can't help but be inundated with thoughts about things I miss, look forward to, and will be challenged with this year in and out of the classroom. However, there's one thing I crave more than anything else, and that's working with students, which usually entails having number sense conversations with students.

Today, I had rich number sense conversations with students in Math 7, Math 8, and high school Algebra classes. As I sit here and put the finishing touches on the slides for my upcoming conference workshop, Get Students to Argue in Class With Number Sense Activities, I can't put to words how valuable it is to allow students to talk about math in math class. That's an oversimplification, but we seriously need to provide our students with opportunities to talk to each other, even argue with each other. Mathematical Practice 3:
Construct viable arguments and critique the reasoning of others.
Steve Leinwand sums it up best:
These nine words may be the most important words in the entire Common Core effort. 
Last December at CMC North, I was honored to give an Ignite talk about something I'm passionate about: number sense and student conversations. It's titled: Number Sense: I Don't Like This Game Anymore.

Students are hungry for number sense conversations in math class. I really do believe. If you don't believe me, just put up this picture in your class and ask your students, "How long would it take to use all of that?" Then ask them to convince you of their conclusion.

As October quickly approaches, I look forward to seeing you at an upcoming conference this school year. In the meantime, I hope to post more about number sense.

Number Sense,

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Common Core Elevator Speech - Day 7

Day 1
Day 2
Day 3
Day 4
Day 5
Day 6

This is my final elevator speech in this series. My 120-second elevator speech for tomorrow is to focus on rigor. Yes, that's difficult to capture in 120 seconds. However, this is what I'll be going with.

I love how teachers are hungry for modeling with mathematics. That in itself, can be one of the most vital elements to rigor in mathematics.


Saturday, September 20, 2014

Common Core Elevator Speech - Day 6

Day 1
Day 2
Day 3
Day 4
Day 5

Did you check out Steve's elevator speech on Day 5? Pretty awesome, right? Here is the second one he emailed me.

"Appealing to an audience that recognizes school math isn't working well enough."
Regardless of what you may think of the Common Core, you must recognize that school mathematics hasn’t been working for far too many students.  You’ve probably heard that the K–12 mathematics program in the United States has been aptly characterized in many rather uncomplimentary ways: underperforming, incoherent, fragmented, poorly aligned, unteachable, unfair, narrow in focus, skill-based, and, of course, “a mile wide and an inch deep.”  Most teachers are well aware that there have been far too many objectives for each grade or course, few of them rigorous or conceptually oriented, and too many of them misplaced as we prematurely ram far too much computation down too many throats. It’s not a pretty picture and helps to explain why so many teachers and students have been set up to fail and why we’ve created the need for much of the intervention that test results seem to require.
These are realities that the Common Core has been designed to fix. How? First, the new standards are common. No longer will publishers cater to a few large states and stuff their books with the union of fifty sets of demands. No longer will our assessments be developed by the lowest bidder and overwhelmingly comprised of low-level, multiple-choice items.
Instead, the prospects of a Common Core set of standards are for shorter, more web-based, better-focused instructional materials and for computer-adaptive, computer-delivered, and instantaneously-scorable constructed response-item assessments.  Second, ignore the misrepresentations and take heart in the fact that the Common Core standards are coherent. These standards replace the vagueness of strands (number, measurement, geometry, statistics, and algebra) with domains, clusters, and well-conceived grade-to-grade progressions of standards. Moreover, they are fair. Many procedures that we have come to teach at grade x, have been moved to grade x + 1, giving us all a chance to build prerequisite knowledge and slow down what has become a drag race through the curriculum. And, lastly, they are teachable. There are only about thirty standards—of varying sizes and depth—at each grade level, resulting in a far more manageable teaching load than the forty to fifty objectives per year that many of us now face.  If you care about your children, if you care about readiness for citizenship and the workplace, and if you care about our future leaders making informed decisions, you should be fighting for, not against, the Common Core.
~ Steve Leinwand

Again, I want to thank Steve for taking the time to prepare two awesome elevator speeches. Hopefully, they've inspired you as much as they've inspired me. Maybe you can use parts in your own elevator speech when the time presents itself. It's not too late to add your own in the comments. Tomorrow, I'll post the last and final elevator speech, which happens to be my two minute speech for my district. 

Common Care,