Sunday, April 27, 2014

Organizing Information

New York Public Library

Max Ray’s talk at NCSM was about a math lesson he taught twice. The first time things didn’t go as well as he’d hoped. Max had the opportunity to reflect with his collaborators afterward. Luckily, they were going to teach the same lesson again to another group of students the same day. They decided what they wanted to do differently based on the results from the first group.

Here is the excellent write-up of that lesson by Max. The second go at the lesson is one in which the teachers respond to students who need support by modeling an organizational strategy. They actively avoid giving students hints about how they might mathematize the problem situation they’ve been given. It is no surprise that Max has done a nice job organizing the student-teacher-student volley into tables in his article. The outcomes in the second lesson are superior.

The ability to organize information is an important skill. When I observe students engaging in math problem-solving, often their success hinges on if and how they organize their work. Organizing information is also the key to great writing, troubleshooting, designing websites and databases, waiting tables, using spreadsheets, teaching, talking, and many other things. Here is Rob Lamb’s Collaborative Infographics for Science Literacy site, which also relates.

If you are a teacher, test it. See how students respond if you honor their ideas and teach only organizational strategies.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Latest and Greatest in a Nutshell

Dan Meyer
There are some very good things happening right now in the world of mathematics education. Being at the NCSM Conference gave me the opportunity to connect with many of the greatest minds in the field and hear about their current projects.

Here are my top picks for books to buy, courses to take, blogs to read...right NOW.

NCTM’s Principles to Actions: Ensuring Mathematical Success for All. The book Steve Leinwand keeps waving around. I read a draft in the fall. Educators need to start turning to this when figuring out how to do professional development, how to craft school goals, what to look for in classrooms. It’s radical.

Visible Learning by John Hattie. This book is being enthusiastically talked about by greats like Tim Kanold and Bob Laird. Subtitled “A Synthesis of Over 800 Meta-Analyses Relating to Achievement”, it’s the new go-to resource for knowing what truly works in education.

Tim Kanold. Check out his most recent post about math homework.
Max Ray. I went to an excellent workshop for teachers by Max and also saw his engaging Ignite talk. He’s with the Math Forum @ Drexel. There are problems, videos and more.
Dan Meyer. Prolific blogger, thinker. Recently published Great Modeling Tasks in Three Acts (for NCSM members only, except for one freebie).
Annie Fetter. At Math Forum with Max. Great Ignite talk about her artist mother and the math she used.
YouCubed. Not a blog but go there and sign up for updates. Watch some of the videos.

There are two online Stanford courses taught by Jo Boaler that are a must-do. Last summer, I took How to Learn Math for Parents and Teachers. It was fabulous. It was free then, now it costs $125. Worth it.

This year, Jo Boaler has added a brand new course called How to Learn Math for Students. It’s free. I haven’t taken it yet but I recommend trying it with a young person you know. It sounds like it is appropriate for children ages 10-18, but for children younger than 13, a parent or teacher should register and share the material with the child. Go to the site and register. It begins in May.

People to Follow on Twitter

Who I missed
Uri Treisman. But here’s the audio of his talk.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

NOLA Greats

There is a treasure trove of greatness at NCSM New Orleans. See below for conference tweets that will link you to wonderful minds and resources.
Choose a problem and anticipate student responses. T/F: 80/4=(80/2)+(80/2). Kazemi & Hintz

Rethink homework! Purpose is not to give a child a grade, ever. What's your homework protocol? @tkanold

Go beyond checking for understanding. Students must get feedback, take action. @tkanold

Working on our practice. Teach the same lesson twice with collaborative reflection in between. Nice! @maxmathforum

Number sense is acquired; you don't teach it, you nurture its development. @SkipFennell

Set it up so kids are asking the next question of the teacher, using the lang. of our discipline. @jgough

Stop making excuses. Implement what we know works. @steve_leinwand
We say all students can learn, now we need to act that way. Cathy Seeley (via @Maryvfitz)