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Category Archives: Professional Development & Pedagogy

Leading Mathematics Education in the Digital Age

Leading Mathematics Education in the Digital Age
2017 NCSM Annual Conference
Pre-Conference Sessions
Jennifer Wilson
Jill Gough

How can leaders effectively lead mathematics education in the era of the digital age?  

There are many ways to contribute in our community and the global community, but we have to be willing to offer our voices. How might we take advantage of instructional tools to purposefully ensure that all students and teachers have voice: voice to share what we know and what we don’t know yet; voice to wonder what if and why; voice to lead and to question.

[Cross-posted at Experiments in Learning by Doing]

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Sneak Peek: Leading Mathematics Education in the Digital Age

Leading Mathematics Education in the Digital Age

 

How can leaders effectively lead mathematics education in the era of the digital age? There are many ways to contribute in our community and the global community, but we have to be willing to offer our voices. How might we take advantage of instructional tools to purposefully ensure that all students and teachers have voice: voice to share what we know and what we don’t know yet; voice to wonder what if and why; voice to lead and to question.

Sneak peek for our session includes:

How might we empower our learners to own their learning? How might we provide opportunities for our learners to level up to the learning target, knowing what they know and what they don’t know yet? How might we encourage our learners to add to the learning of their classmates?

Interested? Here’s a sneak peek at a subset of our slides as they exist today. Disclaimer: Since this is a draft, they may change before we see you in San Antonio.

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Here is Jill’s sneak peek, in case you missed it.

 

 
 

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Using Technology Alongside #SlowMath to Promote Productive Struggle

Using technology alongside #SlowMath to promote productive struggle
2017 T³™ International Conference
Sunday, March 12, 8:30 – 10 a.m.
Columbus AB, East Tower, Ballroom Level
Jennifer Wilson
Jill Gough

One of the Mathematics Teaching Practices from the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics’ (NCTM) “Principles to Actions” is to support productive struggle in learning mathematics.

  • How does technology promote productive struggle?
  • How might we provide #SlowMath opportunities for all students to notice and question?
  • How do activities that provide for visualization and conceptual development of mathematics help students think deeply about mathematical ideas and relationships?

[Cross posted at Experiments in Learning by Doing]

 
 

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Read, apply, learn

Read, apply, learn
2017 T³™ International Conference
Saturday, March 11, 8:30 – 10 a.m.
Columbus H, East Tower, Ballroom Level
Jennifer Wilson
Jill Gough

How might we take action on current best practices and research in learning and assessment? What if we make sense of new ideas and learn how to apply them in our own practice? Let’s learn together; deepen our understanding of formative assessment; make our thinking visible; push ourselves to be more flexible; and more. We will explore some of the actions taken while tinkering with ideas from Tim Kanold, Dylan Wiliam, Jo Boaler and others, and we will discuss and share their impact on learning.

[Cross posted at Experiments in Learning by Doing]

 
 

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Deep practice: building conceptual understanding in the middle grades

Deep practice:
building conceptual understanding in the middle grades

2017 T³™ International Conference
Friday, March 10, 10:00 – 11:30 a.m.
Dusable, West Tower, Third Floor
Jill Gough
Jennifer Wilson

How might we attend to comprehension, accuracy, flexibility and then efficiency? What if we leverage technology to enhance our learners’ visual literacy and make connections between words, pictures and numbers? We will look at new ways of using technology to help learners visualize, think about, connect and discuss mathematics. Let’s explore how we might help young learners productively struggle instead of thrashing around blindly.


[Cross posted at Experiments in Learning by Doing]

 
 

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Who Will Work with Whom?

How do you and your students determine who will work with whom?

Elizabeth has been reflecting on teaming her speed demons with other speed demons and her katamari with other katamari. She is grouping and regrouping often, paying attention both to how students work and how students work together.

As part of SREB’s Mathematics Design Collaborative, we use the work from student pre-assessments to pair students homogenously on days when we are doing a formative assessment lesson from the Mathematics Assessment Project. Many of our teachers have worried about homogenous pairing. They wonder how two students who have little understanding of the material will learn anything if they are paired with each other. What we are finding, though, is twofold. Since we don’t have to spend as much time with pairs of students who have demonstrated understanding or some understanding, we can focus our time on the pairs of students who have little understanding. In addition, neither student can sit back and rely on the other student to do all of the work. Together, they end up doing something. The formative assessment lessons are written so that all students have entry to the content. Some items are more challenging than others, and we are slowly learning that every student doesn’t have to get to the same place in the collaborative activity. Students work for a certain amount of time and share what they have learned, even though they might not finish the entire activity.

Others (Alex Overwijk and Dylan Kane) cite Peter Liljedahl’s work on visible, random assignment of student teams.

It takes me a long time to get to know someone and feel comfortable sharing my ideas. For many years I let students choose their teams and work together for the entire year. More recently, though, my coworkers and I have used a card sort activity for teaming students on the first day of a unit. Teams work together throughout the unit unless we are enacting a Formative Assessment Lesson (FAL), in which case we team students homogenously based on their pre-assessment.

In geometry, we’ve made card sorts that introduce students to some of the terms and diagrams that we will study in the unit, often leading right in to the first lesson. It often takes a while for students to find their other team members since they don’t already know the content. Alternatively, we could use content/card matches from the previous unit to team them randomly and visibly on the first day.

For the first team sort, I emailed a preview to students the night before class so that they would have some idea of what to expect/what they might do with their card when they came to class.

Many students noted in their end of course feedback that we should keep the team sorts:

I think you should keep putting us into teams, as we can learn from others who think differently or similarly to us. I think you should also keep switching the classes some. I feel like this helped me a lot this year.

I would keep the different groups that are paired up. I feel that the groups helped me to see others point of view not just my own.

switching classes to see different teaching styles and having different groups throughout the year.

The changing of groups because it has helped me make friends and learn to work together with people who frustrate me.

All of our geometry team sorts are linked here.

I’ve heard others talk about teaming and re-teaming several times during a single lesson based on what students know and don’t know yet. I’m not there yet, but I am intrigued by the idea and would like to learn more both about the value of moving around so often and the logistics of what happens to students’ stuff.

And so the journey to figure out who will work with whom continues …

 

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Join Me for #ObserveMe?

Robert Kaplinsky recently issued a challenge to welcome other educators into your classroom by posting a sign and asking for feedback on at least one of your classroom goals.

Mississippi has recently released an update to the Professional Growth System, formerly known as the Mississippi Statewide Teacher Appraisal Rubric (M-STAR). The name is a huge upgrade, and thankfully, so are the indicators.

In the Teacher Growth Rubric, the difference between Level 4 and Level 3 for indicator 8, Engages in Professional Learning, is serves as a critical friend for colleagues, both providing and seeking meaningful feedback on instruction.

 

How are you already serving as a critical friend for colleagues?

How might you serve as a critical friend for colleagues?

 

How are you already seeking meaningful feedback on instruction from your colleagues?

How might you seek meaningful feedback on instruction from your colleagues?

 

I wrote Changing Our Practice, Slowly earlier this year reflecting on Dylan Wiliam’s chapter in Embedding Formative Assessment called Your Professional Learning.

Wiliam says, “A far more likely reason for the slowness of teacher change is that it is genuinely difficult.” (Wiliam & Leahy, p. 17) He suggests teachers need to take small steps as we change our practice. We need accountability, and we need support.

The Professional Growth System recognizes that all of us can and should improve our practice in the classroom. Robert provides us a way to make public what small steps we are going to work on and seek the accountability and support we need to truly change our practice.

 

What small step(s) are you working on in your teaching practice this year?

Who will hold you accountable?

What support will you need?

Will you join me by participating in Robert’s #ObserveMe call to action?

Here’s my sign. If I see yours, I’ll be sure to stop by.

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Wiliam, D., & Leahy, S. (2015). Embedding formative assessment: Practical techniques for k-12 classrooms. West Palm Beach, FL: Learning Sciences.

 
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Posted by on September 6, 2016 in Professional Development & Pedagogy

 

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