Professional Learning

What’s Your Mindset About Math?

Do you have mathematical discussions with your students? I would think that you do it regularly. Consider the following questions and how they resonate with you.

  • Have you read a good book lately?
  • What book are you reading now?
  • Have you done a good math problem lately?
  • What math problem are you working on now?
  • What are the likenesses and differences between the questions above?
  • What are you thinking about now?

My thoughts are many, but these questions make me think about students. We have the responsibility as educators in helping them become lifelong readers and lifelong mathematicians. Why might we be more comfortable with the term “lifelong reader” than “lifelong mathematician”?

Here is why I think so.

We have not created a current atmosphere of being a lifelong mathematician as acceptable. Here is an example. I’ve seen the following question on Facebook in the last few days

What do you do when this happens? Should I chalk this up to how things circulate on Facebook and how we may not think about what we post or when we see such posts? Do we pass along things like this that works without considering how or why it does? Do we subconsciously let down our guard because the post invokes participation using some level of mathematical thinking, so we don’t check it out close enough?

Unfortunately, this is an example where people share misinformation about important issues.

I challenge teachers to use this question as an opportunity to start a mathematical conversation with students. It is an opportunity to help them to develop the varieties of mathematical expertise you desire them to acquire. These are the practices, the important “processes and proficiencies” of importance, the Standards for Mathematical Practice. They describe the ways of developing student practitioners in the discipline of mathematics as they grow their mathematical thinking and expertise throughout their school years. It is a teacher’s jobs to connect the mathematical practices to content in mathematics instruction.

Using the Facebook math question would engage students in the following math practices:

  • Make sense of problems and persevere in solving them.
  • Reason abstractly and quantitatively.
  • Construct viable arguments and critique the reasoning of others.
  • Look for and make use of structure.
  • Look for and express regularity in repeated reasoning.

What math problem are you working on now? This question is relevant and one that we should be able to ask anyone at any time without the reaction of a chuckle. I’m going to work to change the common mindset around doing math as an acceptable and needed lifelong endeavor. Join me, will you?

Share

They Are Curious

Albert Einstein once said, “The important thing is to not stop questioning. Curiosity has its own reason for existing.” We are curious about many things in the world around us. We follow our curiosities which in turn helps us to make discoveries. School and the classroom are places where kids make discoveries and satisfy their… Continue Reading

Let’s Build – Part 3

There is nothing better than listening to, learning from, and growing from a presentation given by one of your own. I was privileged to hear from four of my colleagues during our two-and-a-half days together during the AIMS Facilitators cadre meeting in Dallas, TX. My cognitive depth and understanding grew because of what I heard… Continue Reading

Let’s Build – Part 2

I wake up daily craving a morning cup coffee, quite similar to how I crave spending time collaborating and working alongside my colleagues. Savoring the smells and taste of a good cup of “joe” is how I feel about my collegial work. I look forward to it, and it is one hundred percent worth it!!… Continue Reading

Let’s Build

I’ve been in Dallas, TX this week with plans on spending two and a half days with the AIMS Center’s cadre of professional learning facilitators. It is my favorite time to spend with this group. It is our time to be together and learn. Our time to change, adapt and grow. Our learning plays an… Continue Reading

I Was There

Social media is what brought me to the Early Math Project Symposium sponsored in part by AIMS and held on the campus of Fresno Pacific University Friday, June 22, 2018, @aimsed, #AIMSplay, #AIMSspatial, and #EMSymp18. While I was following the day through social media, I realized that I could do an even better job of… Continue Reading

Do You Do Shikaku?

Keeping a sharp cognitive fitness level means continually engaging in mental exercises, using multiple senses, having a growth mindset, doing so often, and repeatedly. I like to find new challenges and this summer is no exception. A while back I remember being introduced to a puzzle named Shikaku. It was created by Nikoli, the Japanese… Continue Reading

Thinking Science

Nineteen states along with the District of Columbia have officially adopted the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). Oregon is the only one of those that has fully migrated through adoption to full implementation of the NGSS standards. Administrators and classroom teachers alike are aware that adopting any new standards and then successfully implementing them is… Continue Reading

Have You Read the News? – A New and Helpful NGSS Resource

I just finished reading the May 2018 Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) newsletter. I hope you have too or plan to read it soon. I also hope that you share it with your colleagues, especially science instructional leaders. As a science educator I am grateful NGSS creates and shares so many useful and well-prepared resources.… Continue Reading