Lurking, Learning, and Leaping
About three years ago, after a LONG career as a lurker, I dipped my toe into the waters of the #mtbos. (To be honest, I’m pretty sure that hashtag didn’t yet exist!) While my blogging and tweeting soon fell by the wayside, the lurking persisted, and here I am again, standing on the dock, ready to make the leap.
For the past three years I have taught Algebra 8 and Math 8, but this fall I will be returning to where I started when I transitioned from high school to middle school, and teach two sections of Math 6 along with some Math 8! I am very excited about this change, for a variety of reasons: Our Math 6 classes are scheduled as a two-period block (yes – be jealous!) I am thrilled to work with our other sixth grade teachers, I feel that this age has the most potential to really change their perspective about what it means to learn mathematics, and I still get to work with my awesome PLC partner from Math 8 ( and support her as she takes on the Algebra.)
At the beginning of the summer I began to contemplate some of the changes I wanted to make for the this year:
•Weekly homework assignments that include concepts from the previous week (not the current one!) and spiral back through earlier ideas, especially when related to upcoming concepts.
•Modifying my SBG to include weekly assessments on four different standards, and like the homework, spiraling back through previous content.
•Embracing a problem-solving, conceptual, numeracy-based approach, making full use of groups of 3-4 students on my “monster whiteboards.”
BAM! On my Twitter feed I start reading about:
Make It Stick, and the ideas of “interleaving” and frequent small stakes assessments thanks to: @pamjwilson, @druinok, @mathymeg07, and others, as well as “the” @hpicciotto.
Resources to share (with teachers AND parents) regarding the difference between procedural and conceptual learning in mathematics: https://vimeo.com/104110508, https://vimeo.com/79916037, and https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=ZZrlk4NqaJ4 , thanks to a request by the ever-helpful @jreulbach, and replies by @MathMinds, @fawnpnguyen, @MathEdnet (and others. . .)
VNPS and VRG, thanks to: @wheeler_laura and others, referencing the work of Peter Liljedahl: http://peterliljedahl.com/wp-content/uploads/Building-Thinking-Classrooms-Feb-14-20151.pdf
Jumping from link to link, I ran across a post from @AlexOverwijk after his session at last year’s TMC: http://slamdunkmath.blogspot.ca/2014/08/vertical-non-permanent-surfaces-and.html?m=1. He ended the presentation by putting something like this on the board:
That’s the REAL leap I want to make this year!