With the Director Special Education Studies at Fresno Pacific University, Megan Chaney, joining us in the studio we discuss some of the issues of “co-Teaching” students with and without special needs in the same classroom. Some good advice on this task is provided from a voice of experience. Focus upon each other’s strengths and shore up each other’s weaknesses in a setting where ego gets set aside. Letting the content instructor be the expert in the content and the Education Specialist be the expert in the process. We examine the role of teachers disposition in providing a successful learning environment for all students. Ms. Chaney is a doctoral student at this time focusing on the disposition veteran teachers have working in the Special Needs situation. She reminds us to focus upon the child, the child’s knowledge, and as much as possible to know the child’s needs.
Brook Lewis talks about the research she has been studying regarding how students progress from additive thinking to multiplicative thinking. Children start early to count, but we can help them to “segment” their counts into various speech patterns. She references a face to face meeting with Dr. Les Steffe the major researcher we look closely at here at AIMS. She introduces to us the concept of a “composite unit” and how to help children to recognize that it is possible to make use of that form of counting. We discuss a multi-dimensional representation of the interconnections she is seeing between composite units and other areas in our research here.
Meagan and Brandon Dorman chat in the studio this week. We discuss a topic that is important in the Special Education world known as Universal Design for Learning, and how it can assist in creating an environment for all students to learn well, something that is central Meagan’s work. Also we focus on a related topic of Formative Assessment (assessing student knowledge along the path to learning not merely for grading or at the end of a unit). We discuss how shifting to these two foci supports a strong learning environment, rich with opportunity for students to learn. The use of several technology tools are brought up as Brandon’s work is completely focused upon this aspect of the learning enterprise.
This highly nuanced topic is a core idea that we study here at the AIMS Center, and Ms. Beverly Ford has been a member of the Research Associates team longer than anyone around here. She gives us clear and coherent exposition what this idea means and how understanding it can be of benefit to teachers. This research focuses upon the idea of the “Epistemic Student,” a topic we have engaged with in earlier podcasts. We discuss some of the methodology of the Center in how we sort through deep ideas in the Mathematics of Students.
To see more from Beverly and her desire to understand the Mathematics of Students, head over to her most recent blog post at http://www.aimsedu.org/2017/01/18/mathematics-of-grace-using-finger-patterns/
I am joined in the studio by four Research Associates from the AIMS Center for Math & Science Education. Elizabeth Gamino, Everett Gaston, Brook Lewis, and Aileen Rizo discuss some of the goals of this mode of teacher behavior, and provide a few strategies for its inclusion in the teacher repertoire. If you want to understand and assess the understandings that your students possess, you have to learn to notice how they communicate them.
Joining us via Skype this week is Dr. Kristof Fenyvesi. He is a professor at Yväskyla Yliopisto (University of Yyvaskyla, Finland). He talks to us about his involvement in the Bridges Mathematics and Art movement and how art and math are connected in the mind. Kristof is a fascinating man, and was a pleasure to interview.
Dr. Richard Kriegbaum is the present President of Fresno Pacific University, and was the President in the era when “The Fresno Pacific Math Project” became “Activities Integrating Math & Science” which later became AIMS. He tells us a bit of the history, some of the present day realities and informs our future. He describes a unique partnership, one that is not found in many academic settings at all. These two organizations have a rich, and mutually beneficial, symbiosis. His hopes for the future of this relationship are made clear as well.
In this episode recorded in September but released in December, Matthew and I discuss a few of his projects, music videos, TV shows, and books. His mission is to affect as many people as he can with the joy of doing mathematics in multiple ways. His focus has been upon student representations of concepts. We end up discussing how pop-culture can be leveraged to engage students. For him, knowledge is constructed by students in the doing of mathematics. Finally we look at a couple of organizations he supports “With Math I Can” on Amazon, and “The Global Math Project” sponsored originally by the Mathematical Association of America via James Tanton.
Lesley Gates joins us on the podcast this week. She briefly describes some of the goals, purposes, and benefits of the new science standards that are in the process of being incorporated in public schools across the US. With an emphasis on the “Doing” of science rather than reading about it from books; along with developing and fostering a sense of curiosity and wonder about the natural and human-made worlds, the NGSS hope to bring science back to a more prominent role in schooling than it has been over the last few decades. Lesley describes with great passion some of her hopes for these standards.
Lori Hamada, the Executive Director of the AIMS Center for Math & Science Education, joins me in the studio this week to flesh out her recent talk on Productive Struggle. We explore a little the four different perspectives of: Teacher, Student, Administrator, and Parent when it comes to this topic. We end with some descriptions of how teachers can access tasks that enhance or provide opportunity for students to productively struggle in their classroom.