Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Principles to Actions Book Club [phases]

Inspired by Kaneka Turner's #ShadowCon16 talk, I decided to form a Principles to Actions book club during the summer of 2016. Sorry, the club will be comprised of teachers in my district. I'm excited at how it is shaping up in the past week. I broke it into three planning phases before we actually start reading NCTM's Principles to Actions. I recommend you start your own. Here's why:

Phase 1:
I created a goal for the book club (inspired straight from Principles to Actions):
Collaborate with other TUSD teachers to strengthen our math teaching practice and improve the learning of mathematics by engaging students in mathematical thinking, reasoning, and sense making.
I reached out to a small group of (K-12) math teachers and coaches in my district to generate interest.
10 teachers replied with interest. We're ready for Phase 2.

Phase 2:
I will tap into the wisdom of these 10 teachers to help structure:
  • HOW we will accomplish our goal.
  • WHAT tools we will use to accomplish our goal.
I'm confident these 10 teachers will help structure how we discuss the book, how much time we spend as a book club, how we will collaborate (virtually or in person), etc. I also know these teachers will help suggest what tools we might use to help assist in the virtual collaboration. For example, Google Docs, Google Classroom, Padlet, etc. 

I asked them for input via Google Forms. Here are the questions I asked.

Once I hear back from this small group, I will move forward in structuring the PtA book club along with setting up the digital tools and spaces that make the most sense. Phase 3 is next...

Phase 3:
I plan to do a district-wide invite to the Principles to Actions book club so anyone who teaches math is invited. More importantly, I am counting on the small group of 10 teachers to reach out to other colleagues at their site and throughout the district to personally invite teachers to the Principles to Actions book club. I'm confident their reach and influence will make the collaboration more meaningful and fun for all invloved.

I've never done something like this before, but I'm excited because I am confident in the 10 teachers who have already expressed interest. I encourage you to find something mathy you can invite others to be a part in. Maybe it's a Principles to Actions book club. 

Please let me know if you have any questions or tips!


Friday, April 22, 2016

Open Middle and Google Docs

A few weeks ago Kassie, a teacher I support, came up with a great idea. The idea was inspired by one of our other Digital Learning Coaches, Michelle, who introduced Kassie to hyperdocs.

Idea: Incorporate Open Middle problems with Google Docs.

Here's how it went...
Kassie had her students work in eight groups. This happens often in her class. She pushed out one Google Doc to the entire class so every student has editing rights. However, you just need one group member to make edits for their group.

Each group was working on the following open middle tasks:
Use the integers from 0 through 9 only once to create an equation with:
Day 1: One solution
Day 2: No solution
Day 3: Infinite solutions

First, students work on their desks with whiteboard markers, discussing with their group members. Isn't that lovely!
Second, students enter their equation into their respective cell inside the Google Doc table.

Third, each group needs to test the equations that other groups submitted. Keep in mind, that each group could not submit an equation identical to another group. Once they worked on other equations, they entered if they agreed or disagreed with other groups.

I experienced Day 1 and it was awesome to see the collaboration and community of learning throughout the room. When debriefing with Kassie about Day 3, she told me students realized an equation with infinite solutions couldn't be done if they use the numbers 0 through 9 only once. That's awesome! Good work kiddos! She ended up allowing them to use a number more than once. I'm wondering how it might change if we allowed them to use the numbers 1-10 (only once).

Since our middle school students work on iPads, a large Google Doc table like the one above might not let the math breathe on a smaller screen. I adapted her Google Doc to look more like this as a template:
  • I split the eight groups into two tables on two separate pages.
  • Each group still enters their answer into their respective highlighter-yellow cell.
  • Each group has a vertical column so they work downward when entering agree/disagree

I inserted this Open Middle question as a placeholder above the table inside the template.

Make your own copy of the template by clicking here

This is definitely a way for students to create their own answers which turn into questions their classmates can use to practice procedures and challenge their understanding of specific math concepts. It is student focused. It's a great way for students to generate questions that both the teacher and students can use. It makes math a social experience through the use of technology. All of the student answers are housed in one location.

Open Middle,

We have Google Classroom in our district which makes it 200 (student) times easier to push things like this out to students. If you don't have Google Classroom, there are other ways to get this out to your students' devices. If you need ideas, hit me up in the comments or on Twitter.

Monday, April 18, 2016

2016 #NCTMannual reflection: Purpose

There is a lot to process from NCTM 2016. Being a contributor for the Global Math Department this week, I decided to feature snippets on the blog here in order to kill two birds with one stone.

I found it useful to connect all the NCTM goodness with a theme: PURPOSE.

• Marilyn Burns (@mburnsmath)
Be purposeful about what we want our students to do. I loved this slide, connecting reading and math:

• Christopher Danielson (@Trianglemancsd):
Be purposeful with knowing the ability of students. Christopher said,
"Students can. We should let them."
This idea lends itself to students discovering properties in math. Often, when things get discovered in math, they are named after the discoverer. Why don't we do this more with students?"
Goods here.

• Elham Kazemi (@ekazemi):
Be purposeful with a school/department/grade having a shared vision of quality math instruction. Create a structure at your school to learn together. We went on to explore numberless word problems where the purpose is to help students make better sense of the context before applying the numbers. She shared this post by Brian Bushart.

• Carl Oliver (@carloliwitter):
Be purposeful with the space you provide students to explore mathematical ideas. Be purposeful with selecting the task.
Goods here.

• IGNITE talks:
Max Ray (@maxmathforum):
Be purposeful with the resources, tasks, activities, and ideas you pull from the internet. Be purposeful with the coherency in your teaching. Do the resources, tasks, activities, and ideas you pull from the internet add to the coherency of the mathematics you teach?

Jennifer Wilson (@jwilson828):
Be purposeful with the time you allow students to solve math. It's not like fast food, it's like slow food. Enjoy the math students can do when we make it a purpose to do #slowmath.

• ShadowCon16
Kaneka Turner (@KanekaTurner)
Be purposeful in making math a social experience by inviting others into this awesome experience. Kaneka shared the importance of being invited. Call to action: invite at least one person to be part of the math experience.

Robert Kaplinsky (@robertkaplinsky):
The purpose of empowering others through influence can have huge positive results. Robert shared a couple of personal parts on his life and how influential people throughout his life have helped shape who he is today. Call to action: your your power to influence and empower others.

Graham Fletcher (@gfletchy):
Be purposeful in knowing what/how you teach by understanding the standards. Be a better story-teller in your classroom by accurately knowing the standards. Call to action: find out more about a standard you teach.

• Brian Shay (@MrBrianShay):
Be purposeful with polynomials and probability. Brian had us working on using spinners and coins to add meaning to multiplying polynomials.
Goods here.

• Peg Smith:
Be purposeful in framing the task so it "invites everyone in." Furthermore, ask purposeful questions when working with students during problem-solving tasks. Lastly, it's critical for the teacher to explain the goals because it's hard to have a conversation if it's unclear what you're trying to accomplish.
***Let's invite Peg to the #MTBoS and Twitter.

• Andrew Stadel (@mr_stadel):
Be purposeful in the feedback we give students after they make mistakes. Thanks to Robert Berry and Dylan Wiliam, I shared with teachers the importance of providing feedback that benefits students and at the same time challenging them to take traditional feedback and rework it so it's better at moving the learning forward.

• Christina Tondevold (@BuildMathMinds):
Be purposeful in working toward the terminology in the standards, specifically "fluently" and "using strategies" in the K-5 standards. We looked at examples of subitizing, cardinality, and strategies like making ten, double-plus-one, finding fives. We need to be purposeful in students making sense of math for themselves.

• Jason Zimba
Be purposeful in decluttering what we teach, what we ask of students, and what we give to students. Something he got me thinking about: do we Math 8 teachers need to teach the "elimination" process when solving linear systems. Does the procedure support the conceptual understanding? and can we allow high school teachers to teach it while Math 8 teachers focus on graphing and substitution?

I hope to see you at NCTM 2017 in San Antonio.
Send in a speaker proposal here by May 1, 2016.

San Fransisco,