Sunday, April 27, 2014

Installing Cabinet Hardware (or, Fun with Fractions)

So I was installing cabinet hardware today...

...and some math happened! See, I had measured one drawer to be 17+3/8 inches wide. To place the pull correctly, I needed to find the center line of the drawer. So I needed to divide 17 3/8 by 2... not exactly compatible numbers.

Let's look at a few of my options.

Option 1: Use a calculator. 

My laptop is sitting right here. It has a built-in calculator:

Monday, April 14, 2014

Guest Post: The Value of Social Media for Teachers

The following is a reflection written by one of my preservice elementary mathematics teachers (@hollikathryn14) in W14, wherein she summarizes what she learned from an hour of professional development time spent with #MSMathChat on Twitter.

For some background on the assignment, see my post: Professional Growth for (New) (Math) Teachers.

When I read her reflection, I was inspired. I thought she nicely captured the power of looking to social media for professional development, and I hoped that her experience and perspective (pre-service teacher, and Twitter newbie), might inspire others to give it a try.

She graciously granted her permission for me to share this with you. And so, here's Holli's reflection on her first #MSMathChat experience:

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Professional Growth for (New) (Math) Teachers

(Note: I wrote this post for my preservice teachers looking to complete their required professional development experience for my course(s), but then I thought: why not make it general enough to share with the world? I have also tagged it under the cognitive coaching label because it parallels the structure of a coaching conversation: reflect on your goals, set a focus for growth, articulate an action plan, implement it, and reflect on what you have learned.)

Looking for meaningful professional development? Have you tried Twitter? If not, I hope this post might help you (a) decide where you want to go and (b) learn about some social media options for getting what you need.

First, if you haven't already, I suggest you spend a few minutes brainstorming what you want to learn more about
  • What are some of your strengths? 
  • What are some areas where you want to learn more? 
It can be hard to hold yourself still... try setting a timer.

Look back over your list: What stands out to you? What are your priorities? What do you most want to learn more about? Set some goals for your professional growth.

Reflecting on Your Professional Learning

(Note: This post was created as a continuation of the post "Professional Growth for (New) (Math) Teachers", but it is general enough to apply to any recently professional learning experience.)

How do you reflect after a professional learning experience?

You might begin by responding to a few good questions, like: 
  • How has your thinking changed? 
  • What is important for you to remember from the experience? 
  • How does what you learned align with your personal goals?
  • Who else needs to learn this?
That last one is huge! If you have a blog, consider writing a post so that your learning becomes public and permanent.
If you don't have a blog, maybe it's time to start one? If so, help is available.

Here are two nice options for framing a written reflection:

Option 1: What, So What, Now What?
  • What have you learned?
  • So what? How will that impact your practice? 
  • Now what? What do you want to learn next?
Option 2: Mirror the Reflecting Conversation structure from Cognitive Coaching.
  • How did it go?
  • How do you know?
  • Why is that so?
  • How did you grow?
  • How did this help you know?
Hey, congratulations on your new learning!
Now... what's next for you?

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Is there a problem here?

Is there a problem here?

from Doug Fisher's Michigan Reading Association Presentation (via delta_dc)

A student in my W14 teacher-assisting seminar raised this question:
If the [desirable] Japanese lesson style* is all about posing meaningful problems and allowing students to explore them, and if the proper role of the teacher is to lend perspective and support in those investigations, then why are we taught to use gradual release of responsibility?
  * we might substitute problem-based learning, or 3 act lessons, or active inquiry, or...
Then today (4/9/14) I read this on Twitter from @ZPMath.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Portfolio Feedback (ED331 W14)

See below for feedback codes on the ed331 portfolio.
Also, here's a link to a sample portfolio that might be useful:

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

April Fool's Math: Pythagoras Who?

Some of my #ed331 teacher assistants have posted lessons they have taught -- to actual students! -- in which they supposedly prove the Pythagorean Theorem. You know:
For any right triangle, the sum of the squares on the legs is equal to the square on the hypotenuse. Sometimes folks just shorten it to a^2 + b^2 = c^2.
I know, right? Prove the Pythagorean Theorem!? No way.

Here's one example from @kayfayayyy's blog--she thinks she's going to be a math teacher one day--except here she is, showing her students a supposed 3-4-5 right triangle. Oh yes, very clever Miss Fayayyy (if that's even your real name).

You've learned your lessons well: just dangle some candies in front of your kids and they'll believe anything you say. You can read more about her lies at her blog if you like.

But what Miss Fayayyy doesn't know about candy is that it likes to play both sides. How about this 3-5-6 right triangle?

Go ahead, count the Skittles. 9 + 25 = 36? No way, man. There it is: a counter-example, in all its Wild Berry flavor glory. We must conclude that the Pythagorean Theorem is false.