MTBoS Mission #4: Listen and Learn

I’m a week behind, but I’m going to try to attend a twitter chat tonight or tomorrow to catch up.

I wasn’t able to attend the Global Math Autumn Special Event on Saturday because I had other plans, but I started with watching “My Favorites: Problem-Based Lessons and Tasks” because not only is this something I’ve been trying to incorporate more and more each year, but it’s become a hot topic in my district and even at the state level. I went to a VA SOL institute last month and the focus this year was on creating tasks. I have collected various tasks for geometry, measurement, and proportion, but I have very little for algebra. Of course, it’s also difficult to change the culture of math learning; students aren’t used to problems that take a while to solve, when they have to look for information, etc.

  • I like how Julie Reulbach showed real tasks that she’s used, like the Four 4s and the Busch Gardens cups. In the beginning of the year, I use Krypto, which is similar to Four 4s, and I’d never thought about it as a task before. I don’t think I encourage students to work on those enough.
  • Alisan Royster reminded me about the NRICH website, which I haven’t looked at in a while. Number pyramids would be a good way to incorporate more tasks into pre-algebra. Many of my students lack a solid foundation in number sense, so it’s important to incorporate that with patterns and problem-solving.
  • Megan Schmidt also talked about NRICH. I’m glad that she mentioned the tags, because I’ve found those really helpful.
  • Finally, Justin Aion talked about Mathalicious, which is a fabulous website that I’m guilty of not using more often. I have a couple of their tasks saved up for future topics, but I haven’t used anything yet this year. Justin mentions that his students are used to being able to work quickly and getting answers right away, which is something that rings true for my students as well. I looked at his blog post on his students’ work with the Domino Effect and I love seeing the creativity. This reminded me that I don’t allow for nearly enough projects in class (Why isn’t there enough time to do everything I want to do?).

I’ve never visited the Global Math site before, but there are several that I want to go back to watch. It really is wonderful to have access to so many resources and I think I can consider myself a new fan of the webinars and podcasts.

Just this week, my spouse has started listening to Welcome to Night Vale, so it seemed fitting that my first Infinite Tangents podcast was Welcome to Night Tangents. I couldn’t hear the weather song very well, but the rest of the show was a perfect mix of MTBoS and WTNV. I’ve added the rss feed to my reader so I can keep up with new episodes of the podcast.

I’m so glad to have found these new resources, though it reminds me that I could seriously work 24/7/365 and still not absorb and apply everything. Still, I’m grateful for everyone’s hard work and the collaborative environment the MTBoS has online.

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3 thoughts on “MTBoS Mission #4: Listen and Learn

  1. I’m glad you found the tags from Nrich useful. I love their website, but sometimes things aren’t grouped like I would group them and the key stages are confusing. The tags really help me to find the right resource.
    If you like infinite tangents, you should check out the TES Maths Podcast. Craig Barton is the host, and he does such an excellent job of highlighting great resources for teachers. You can subscribe to that one on itunes as well.

  2. I hear ya on the amazing number of resources out there… and the fact that they’re so organized (and overlapping and available!) is mind-blowing to me.

    How do you choose which things to try? Mostly, I go with gut instincts or whatever tickles my fancy at the moment.

    • I think I rely on instinct to choose what to look at. I also search through my reader or delicious tags whenever I need to look for something. Like, this summer, I knew I wanted to revamp warm-ups, so I read up on a lot of those posts. There’s so much that I can’t possibly implement new things all the time.

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