Math Mindset

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Success in math does not depend on how many answers you know, but by what you do when you don’t know the answer.

~ author unknown

This week’s focus is on math. It just so happened that the tabs and things that I clicked on all happened to have that common denominator (pun intended!). Get ready- lots of great resources within . . .

It all started with this guest post by John Stevens on Matt Miller’s blog titled, “How to Assign Challenges Instead of Math Homework”. Intrigued? Of course I was and so I opened it right up and found several links to sites like this that go beyond computation towards more conversations about math. Curious? Then click.

I’m sure at one time or another whether in your classroom or even your own home, you have heard a child say,”I’m bad at math.” In this article, Sheila Tobias, Carol Dweck and others discuss how to respond when one of your children says this.

Of course what would be a post of mine without some mention of Alice Keeler. In this article from MindShift KQED News (if you don’t follow them, you should), you’ll see how Jo Boaler has influenced Keeler and how Keeler uses the GSuite tools to enhance math exploration and understanding.

much of traditional math teaching focuses on numerical representations, teachers demonstrating procedures, and memorization, when it would be more effective to try to strengthen connections between the various parts of the brain needed when working on math. ~Jo Boaler

You can see Jo Boaler’s Cue17 keynote, and learn about her site, Youcubed (from my Happy end of school year post). 

While looking for a great quote to share, I stumbled upon this post of Carol Dweck quotes that I think would be great to either print out and hang in your class or read at the start of each day. One of my colleagues (Carole K) has printed different motivational quotes and applied them at each of her students’ tabletops as a subtle reminder to her fifth grade students.

For more fantastic articles and resources, please visit this week’s Shipley PLN Lower & Middle School Edition where you will see posts like this one: “Neverending Problems: Math Tasks That Keep on Giving” ; this one, “How a Strengths-Based Approach to Math Redefines Who is ‘Smart'”; and this one, “Kahoot! Debuts Studio of Curriculum-Aligned Games for K-12″ including a math collection!

photo credit: dullhunk Who needs Pythagoras’ theorem? via photopin (license)

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Back to School with a Growth Mindset

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“There is a difference between not knowing and not knowing YET” ~Sheila Tobias

Welcome back to what I hope will be a positive school year for everyone. I have collected some posts that I think will help you make this year of learning in your classroom memorable for you and your students.

First off is a post from esteemed educator, George Couros titled, 5 Questions to Ask Your Students to Start the School Year, one of them being, “What are your strengths and how can we utilize them?” In his post he emphasizes how the impact our experiences with our students helps shape their thoughts and reflections and memories of school. Coming off our school’s recent Positive Psychology/Positive Education retreat, we know that positive psychology is about recognizing that “Other People Matter” and if we keep this at the forefront of our mind, we can hope to positively shape and influence our students’ experiences for the better. This involves how we listen to, respond, speak to, and engage with our students. To see the rest of the questions Couros suggests, click here.

The next is from Khan Academy and it ties in with positive psychology’s emphasis on Growth Mindset. Khan Academy has partnered with PERTS, a Stanford-based research group that includes Carol Dweck, Joe Boaler and others. They have created a series of lessons on growth mindset for students ranging from third through twelfth grade as part of their LearnStorm activities (What is Learnstorm- watch here). Within each of the six growth mindset activities, you will find readings, videos, reflection prompts, and more. You can do the activities one per week over six weeks, or whatever works for your classroom. For more information on how a third grade teacher used the lessons with his classroom, you can watch this recording.

I have posted about this next tool before here and here, but with so many new features as well as the opportunities it affords to learn your students’ stories, thoughts, reflections, and connect with others around the world, it bears mentioning again. Flipgrid is the easiest way to have your students create video responses to your prompts which with the wide array of amazing new features (yes, I have said it again because they are really that great) includes text, video, image, or uploaded document prompts.

The final share is a two-part post on bell-ringer activities from Matt Miller of DITCH Textbook fame. I have previously written about him here and here and several other mentions. In his two-part post he offers 20 digital ways to kick off your class and hook your students into each learning experience to make their learning memorable. Some of my favorite ideas are the QR code on the board, a What If Flipgrid , tweeting for someone, blackout poetry, and s- (to see the rest and figure out what I was about to say, visit 10 digital bell-ringer activities to kickstart class and 10 MORE digital bell ringer activities to kickstart class.

Photo credit: Foter.com

Summer Reading List

2935271689_863cb75bd8_nSummer is a great time to catch up on all the books you may not have had time to read during the school year. This summer I am suggesting several quick, jam-packed-with- strategies, innovations, and inspirations- professional development books to add to the “beach” reads on your list. Taken from my own Amazon “books to read” list, here are some ideas:

Teach Like a Pirate by Dave Burgess. I have already read and tweeted about this fantastic book that integrates marketing techniques with a lot of creativity to help you make your lessons and content memorable. If you have not read this one yet, you should add this to your reading list).

Lead Like a Pirate by Shelley Burgess (yes, she is the wife of Dave) and Beth Houf. You can follow and join in on using this hashtag- #LeadLAP to see what others are highlighting and talking about from this book about leading in a way that brings out the best in your faculty.

Learn Like a Pirate by Paul Solarz and Dave Burgess. You can achieve a student-led classroom where students take charge of their learning and this book will explain how and give you the strategies to do so. Not only can you read this, but you can join in on a summer book study with fellow educators via Twitter.

Start. Right. Now. by Todd Whitaker, Jeff Zoul, and Jimmy Casas. Learn about the “four key behaviors of excellence”: Know the way, Show the way, Go the way, Grow each day.

Kids Deserve It: Pushing Boundaries and Challenging Conventional Thinking by Todd Nesloney and Adam Welcome. Take all the “What ifs” about your school and classroom and turn them into realities because #kidsdeserveit

DITCH That Textbook : Free Your Teaching and Revolutionize Your Classroom by Matt Miller.

Miller shows you how to choose and incorporate teaching practices that are:
  • Different from what students see daily.
  • Innovative, drawing on new ideas or modifying others’ ideas.
  • Tech-laden with the use of digital sites, tools and devices.
  • Creative, tapping into students’ original ideas as well as your own.
  • Hands-on, encouraging students to make and try things on their own.

Hacking Assessment: 10 Ways to Go Grades in a Traditional School by Starr Sackstein. Help your students make the shift from being focused on the value of the grade  to being focused on the value of learning.

You can also take a look at this list posted by Gary Stager which includes several other great titles.

Whatever books you choose to read this summer, I hope you enjoy your learning!

photo credit: dottorpeni fred vargas via photopin (license)