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Included this week: This week's Global Math webinar details, some blogs posts you might have missed.  Edited by Megan Schmidt
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This Week at Global Math:  Spiraling Deeper

 


Presented by Alex Overwijk


In my classes, activities are no longer just for introducing concepts or summarizing units. We spiral through the curriculum with activity-based learning, repeating the big ideas to allow students multiple opportunities to extend their learning and demonstrate understanding. 

Students make connections between the topics and understand the mathematics in context. Activities often connect two or more strands. Using images, video and manipulatives, we develop students’ abilities to ask good questions and make reasonable guesses. Hands-on activities allow the students to develop mathematical concepts while they ‘play’ with manipulatives. Students work collaboratively in visible random groupings on vertical non-permanent surfaces during the problem solving phase of the activities.This innovative approach has significantly increased student engagement and reduced failure and dropout rates.

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Last week's recording on Growth Mindset can be viewed here.  

Blog, Blog, Bloggy Blog

Things will be winding down - soon - but in this pre-Regents time in New York State, there's been a real shortage of time for me in blog-reading [forget writing for now] and tweeting.  But this morning as I took a glance through my feed, this tweet caught my eye: 

 
 
 and I'm a real sucker for those "MUST READ" comments, so I clicked on through.  And I recommend you do as well.
 
Amber Teamann is an Assistant Principal in Texas, and has also been a 4th grade teacher and a technology coordinator.  Her blog is difficult to describe - it is motivational, for she is clearly a leader.  It has technology ideas, resources and links, as well as organizational tips that so many of us love (especially when they involve POST-ITS and COLORED PENS!).
 
But the post "Be More You" resonated deeply with me - something about the continual quest to improve, augment, transform ourselves as teachers, friends, partners, parents.  And as I clicked around various links on the blog, I continued to find informative, entertaining and heartening ideas.    Maybe you'll find some too.
 
On a way more mathematical classroom note, Daniel Schneider's (aka Mathy McMatherson) reflective post this week "Classroom Interactions in a Common Core World" is a great read of a year-end reflection on one of the deeper shifts required in a Common Core-aligned classroom, specifically with respect to student thinking and articulation.  Mathy (or does he prefer Daniel??) breaks down his intentional plan to get students listening to one another's ideas, complete with his well-thought out strategies, materials and an analysis of the results.  Another great read, with lots of food for thought, and ideas for next year.
 
Hope you are winding down (and I hope I will be doing that soon as well!) - 


Written By:  Wendy Menard (@wmukluk)


If you don't frequent Number Strings, you need to.  Like many other websites created in the #MTBoS, the number strings provided are submitted by the online math community.  Rachel Lambert works behind the scenes and she offers some clarity for an issue that many teachers AND students struggle with…Complications with representing constant difference on an open number line.

Although constant difference may be the focus of your number string, there's reasons “why constant difference isn’t emerging” in you recording.  If you integrate number talks or number lines into your teaching practice, you’ll want to check this out.

Written by: Graham Fletcher (@gfletchy)

It's never too late to start a good habit, and it's never too late in the school year to start a blogging habit. Laurie Baker-Worthington began her blog at the end of her year and with reasons that are familiar to many bloggers: 
"I want to reflect on this passed year and try to make sense of the whirlwind. I want to continue reflecting on my current practice.  I want to share successes and failures with others in the hope that they will resonate with even one other person. I want to force myself to be accountable on a larger scale. But, possible the #1 reason I am writing this blog is to force myself to do something that makes me uncomfortable.  Blogging is risky. Bloggers must be risk-takers.  Putting your thoughts and ideas out online, knowing that the feedback you get could vary from stalker-like adoration to down right stalker, means a blogger must have thick skin and a pair of brass ones the size of cantaloupes."
Laurie's first post is titled Who wants to read this blog, anyway?! and capures the feelings most teachers have when they decide to share their journey. This posts details the amazing journey that Laurie took to being named the teacher of the year in her District. Congratulations Laurie!
 
 
 
Geoff Krall was reflecting on his past few year as a school-wide coach when he struck upon a few key pointers for school's to move forward. In the post Necessary and Sufficient Conditions for School Improvement Geoff talks about the kinds of things schools should do with their teachers if they want to see actual gains. This list of school-wide practices gives readers the minimum of things schools should do. Not a magical elixir, but a preemptive "call me when you've done these things" set of options that schools could start tomorrow
What's first on Geoff's list? 
"Analysis of work the students are producing. You want a PD plan for the year? Start with looking at student work and go from there. In fact, if all a school is doing for their PD time is looking at student work and using some sort of student work analysis protocol, then they’re probably a high functioning staff. It takes great courage and truly high-flying teachers to look at artifacts students are producing. "
As teachers package up their rooms for the summer, it may be good to send this around to the department and plant the seed for growth next fall.

Written By: Carl Oliver (@carloliwitter)
 

On the Twitters...

The MTBoS seems to be tackling the big questions this week. Namely, should we teach through direct instruction or through student-led inquiry tasks? There was a lengthy dust-up between Dan Meyer, David Coffey, and DI advocate Robert Craigen that played out over several days on Twitter. 
 
Into the fray stepped Jason Dyer, who wrote a strong and perceptive post that takes apart the premises of cognitive load theory and its relationship with direct instruction. If you are interested in thinking about how students learn at the most basic level, this article is a fascinating place to start.

Written By: Kent Haines (@mrAKHaines)