Student to Student Discourse: NWMC Workshop Part 2

Today I am back with the second half(ish) of my presentation at the Northwest math conference. To get a feel for the flow or to get caught up:  Part 1 of my presentation can be found here.

After the discussion on the importance of classroom culture, we jumped right into trying out a few of the activities/strategies. The first was Which One Doesn’t Belong. I have used this activity has a whole class period learning opportunity, but for this presentation I wanted to highlight it was a way to jump start math talk and group students with peers who might think about things a bit differently than they do.

Increasing Student to Student Discourse (3)

I put up the previous picture and asked the attendees to move to the corner of the room representing their first impression of which picture was the odd one out. Once there, they were to discuss in their corner the reason they choose to see if they were all the same and then each corner had a chance to share out a reason (or a few) that their picture didn’t belong. Then the attendees regrouped into table groups that had at least one member from each corner represented. Teacher Note: Most of the time I’d do this activity with a more math-y example, especially one using similar math to the activity at hand. This way, the grouping by unlike thinking is even more powerful for having different views represented.  I chose a non-math example for the presentation since I had no idea of the background of attendees coming in and I wanted to showcase the breadth of examples on the WODB site.  This grouping strategy can be done relatively quickly (in place of a warm up, perhaps) and gets kids brains and bodies moving and in math discourse mode right away.  You can find more examples of WODB on this site. Continue reading “Student to Student Discourse: NWMC Workshop Part 2”


Student to Student Discourse: NWMC Workshop Part 1

Back in October I gave my first ever presentation/workshop at a big conference. It was actually my first time attending a big conference as well. I’m not sure what I expected but 1500+ people is busy! My topic was on increasing discourse between students. It was a workshop format which I took to mean as interactive as possible. The room was packed, so movement was difficult, but all the attendees were super gracious about the space constraints and were awesome participants.  I’m going to give a run down on how it went and access to resources I mentioned. (This post will be the first few slides).

Opener: Increasing Student to Student Discourse

I went around and shook hands and introduced myself to as many people as possible as they were coming in and getting settled. I chatted about their conference so far and what they were hoping to get out of the workshop. I introduced people to someone at their table as they came in when possible. Throughout the workshop I bounced between “teacher” role and “explainer of teacher moves” often. I’ll try to capture that here in regular typeface and bolded side notes.  ((Teaching Note: I try to greet my students at the door or as they get settled every day. I also try to ask group-like questions to get them talking to each other if they aren’t naturally inclined to do so. Non-math talk is still a positive to build relationships with the teacher and among peers. Also, if they have a chance to chat before class starts, they are more inclined to get to math talk sooner once we get into it).  Continue reading “Student to Student Discourse: NWMC Workshop Part 1”

Students Play with Dots: Math Circle Followup

I talked about my experience in a teacher math circle in a recent post and spent some of that time describing how we played with the initial prompt: How many squares are in a 4×4 dot pattern. What are the areas? You can read that post to get a run down on what I did and where the group went with it.  I wanted to present the same task to my students and see what they did. 

I had a plan for Friday morning which had students revisit some work from the day before and provide justifications to each other on the rules they had written for a series of pattern questions. I knew they all had had a rough go at it the day before and I wanted a bit more time to look into original responses and plan a better way to debrief and move forward so at the last minute I decided it was the perfect time to pitch the dot pattern prompt from the Math Circle. It was Friday. They could play and hopefully I’d inspired at least one to go home and think over the weekend. Here is what went down:

I projected the 4 by 4 dot pattern on the board and and asked students how many squares they could find and what the area of those squares were. They worked alone or in pairs with either graph paper on the table white boards.  Right away students started to dig in and after a bit of chatter, 14 became the it number to arrive at (with areas 1, 4, and 9 units squared). High fives all around, we were done!

Except… one student chimed in: “Mmmm… do diamonds count?” Continue reading “Students Play with Dots: Math Circle Followup”

Teach 180 Round Up Part 2

Teach180 is a movement to document one picture (or maybe even a video or a thought) from each day of the school year. I am tweeting daily and then posting here every 2 weeks or so. Most provided without much comment, but happy to explain if anything catches your eye. Join use using the #teach180 on twitter!

The last two weeks have been busy and full of some great math learning:





Random count for Me:   4 Bridge to College, 2 Alg B, 2 Geo B, 2 Advisory

Teacher Math Circles: Take 1

Last night I joined my first ever math teacher circle! The awesome Math for Love founder (Dan Finkel) and the director of the Washington Experimental Mathematics Laboratory (Jayadev Athreya) teamed up to run circles for elementary and middle school math teachers in the Seattle area. I don’t fit into either group, but Dan let me crash the middle school group anyway.

My first big takeaway: I don’t do enough math. Between teaching, being a parent/spouse, finishing grad school (done as of last Jan!!!) and other random life things I let the practice of just playing and thinking with and about math slip. Even if I didn’t bring anything back to use in class (which I will) it is worth it just to spend 2 hours doing math again with other people who were also excited to just play with math. Continue reading “Teacher Math Circles: Take 1”

Teach180 Weekly Roundup

We have reached the end of the first week and a half. Its been a great way to make sure I am at least semi-active posting on twitter, not just lurking/finding great ideas but sharing out and connecting with other math teachers.

Also, I’ve noticed interesting things already, so I’m excited to see where the year long trends go. I get really busy and often forget to take pictures, so usually I only have one at post time. I’d love to actively document more, but it also brings up interesting things to watch/track.

Continue reading “Teach180 Weekly Roundup”