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

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”→

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.

I am committed to adding in more number sense practice in all my classes this year. We are regularly doing number talks, brain teasers, estimations, strategy chats, and other quick but routine plugs for flexible thinking. But my main focus this year is going to be adding the clothesline. I have used clothesline math in algebra for the last few years, but mostly only once or twice when we introduce slope. This year I want to use it in all 6 classes both for specific content and as part of other warm ups (estimation, number talks, etc). I saw Chris Shore talk at TMC17 and made it my one thing. He does a great job explaining the underlying idea/structure and providing resources at the aforementioned link, but I’m going to try to capture student language/moves/misconceptions from specific activities this year. (If you want to read my very first clothesline attempt: Clothesline: Slopes)

Setting the Stage: The day before, we draw lots of intersecting lines, measured angles, and started making claims about angle relationships yesterday. Most (but not all) students were there and had at least some introduction to the words: vertical angles, linear pairs, traversal, alternate interior, alternative exterior, corresponding, and co-interior.

Style: Quick warm up/ try now when entering class.

How it went: Students were either handed one of the four cards (a, b,c ,d) and told to place on the clothesline with a best guess OR were asked to quickly sketch a number line and place a,b,c,d, on it at the tables. (Each table as a whiteboard stuck in the middle). Board placers joined their tables when they finished:

A minute after class started, I asked if any of the four students had a mathematical reason why they placed card where they did on the line.

Student B: My angle was smaller, and therefore closer to 180*.

I am excited to be back in the classroom with actual students today. I’ve spent a lot of time this summer prepping, rethinking routines, and setting up a fun safe place for learning. I am also starting year 4 here (a record, by a long shot for a reformed wanderer.) so I want to really refocus my practice. I’m going to try to do a #teach180 with pictures on twitter and then recap weekly (or so) here. I’m also getting out of my comfort zone a bit and taking on more active roles in state math curriculum and education policy, speaking at the NW math conference, pushing myself and others in a social justice direction and otherwise really making Seattle my professional home.

Anyhow, day 1 was awesome. It was so good to see the students again. We played a Breakout game in 4 of my classes (there was 50% success rate), did some check ins and group chats in advisory, and in 1st period which was shortened due to getting scheduled and reacquainted with school, tried a few leveled warm ups to get in the habit of doing math. Also debuted the math play table and had a few students take advantage when they were hanging around or needed to cool off from another class/event. We are up and rolling!