Daily Archives: August 31, 2012
Math Blogger Initiation Week 2
Without further ado, I present you the second post from 10 different new math bloggers as part of the Math Blogger Initiation.
Kristen Silverman | Numbers
Kirsten Silverman @klsilverman has a blog named Numbers. The second post for the Blogging Initiation is titled “Today” and the author sums it up as follows: “Even when there are crummy days, now that I’ve started blogging, I can read about the better days. I can go back and read about the days I have been inspired.” A memorable quotation from the post is: “I’m trying to be more positive.”
–> My take: We all have those moments where we are like gaaah, why is everyone else making my life so hard!?!? Kristen brings up a really cool point about blogs being a place where you can go back and revisit positive moments on a particularly challenging day. Cool idea!
That Math Lady | That Math Lady’s Blog
That Math Lady @thatmathlady has a blog named That Math Lady’s Blog. The second post for the Blogging Initiation is titled “A Teacher’s Legacy” and the author sums it up as follows: “My post is a futuristic account of what my students would say about me and my class at their 10 year reunion. I hope that my real legacy is similar to this one! “ A memorable quotation from the post is: “I would trade all the okra-powered hovering hybrid carriers in the world for that legacy to become true.”
–> My take: In 20 years, will kids remember how to divide polynomials? Probably not. What things will they remember then? I think passion for mathematics is as good an answer as any, so I approve of this futuristic vision.
Maggie Acree | pitoinfinity
Maggie Acree @pitoinfinity8 has a blog named pitoinfinity. The second post for the Blogging Initiation is titled “Two Things Are Better Than One” and the author sums it up as follows: “I am looking to implement more investigative practice as I go throughout this school year. I did find two ‘things’ I have done in my classroom that is just that and is motivating me to do more. There are always concepts that just have to be done, but when the opportunity is there, it is important to do some sort of activity or investigation to get the students thinking.” A memorable quotation from the post is: “Coming back to the prompt I decided on, it was important for me to find a few things I have put together myself to help my students with investigative practices or constructing their own reasoning.”
–> My take: Piecewise functions are what I use for review for my Calculus course because they seem to hit a ton of great things from lower math classes. I really like this idea of cutting out graphs, and I think I might try it in my own class! I wonder if there is a way to do this though without such step by step instructions. And I think it might be useful to have some part of the activity go the other way, i.e. to write down an equation from a piecewise function. Great idea!
Duth Math | duthmath
DuthMath @DuthMath has a blog named duthmath. The second post for the Blogging Initiation is titled “I wish I had heard about the Ladder of Abstraction in Teacher Training” and the author sums it up as follows: “My post is about trying to start using the concept of Ladder of Abstraction with my developmental college math students.” A memorable quotation from the post is: “Only one week to go before I meet them for the first time!”
–> My take: Dan Meyer has been such an inspirational figure for a lot of us teaching math. It’s no surprise that he is continuing to do so!
Nathan Kraft | Out Rockin’ Constantly
Nathan Kraft @nathankraft1 has a blog named Out Rockin’ Constantly. The second post for the Blogging Initiation is titled “Working for the Man: A Cautionary Tale” and the author sums it up as follows: “I did some work writing math-tasks for a company this summer. However, once restrictions were placed on how I could design the lessons, it no longer became something I enjoyed doing. Having creative freedom allows me to do my best work. Although getting paid sounded like a great motivator, it had the opposite effect.” A memorable quotation from the post is: “Once I was getting paid to write math lessons and had restrictions placed on how that should be done, what used to be fun became work.”
–> My take: I helped work on our school’s salary scale through a committee this past year and one of the coolest facts I learned is that most teachers don’t know their exact salary (do you? I don’t) unlike some other professions where money is much more of a motivator. Nathan captures this sentiment well in talking about getting paid to write math lessons. I don’t know if I could do that! I get super stressed out by planning, so the idea of doing just that part as a job kind of freaks me out.
Lee Ann Smith | Expanding Horizons Through Education
Lea Ann Smith @SmithTeach has a blog named Expanding Horizons Through Education. The second post for the Blogging Initiation is titled “Useful teaching technique” and the author sums it up as follows: “I like to keep my algebra students engaged using a wide variety of activities. This post describes a way to use a little bit of stand up comedy to keep them attentive.” A memorable quotation from the post is: “If I have a concept that I really want my students (high school algebra 1) to remember, I will occasionally deliver the key point while standing on my desk.”
–> My take: This is a funny idea. I love making my classroom a little more whimsical, so I’ll have to try this out.
Emily Allman | Algebra, Essentially
Emily Allman @allmanfiles has a blog named Algebra, Essentially. The second post for the Blogging Initiation is titled “Reflections and Transformations” and the author sums it up as follows: “I am not a new teacher and only a fairly new blogger, but this past year has been full of new experiences, new adventures, and new ambitions. Thanks to the mathtwitterblogosphere, it’s also full of new and wonderful ‘colleagues.'” A memorable quotation from the post is: “I spend lots of time thinking intensely about tiny details, which is a wonderful contrast to teaching – where you have teeny amounts of time to maneuver a plethora of calamities.”
–> My take: I love the reflective-ness of this post, and Emily’s ability to turn a situation that she could easily have just griped about into a great learning opportunity for her. I can’t wait to read some more of her thoughts.
gooberspeaks | Reflections from an Asymptote
gooberspeaks has a blog named Reflections from an Asymptote. The second post for the Blogging Initiation is titled “Staying Sane” and the author sums it up as follows: “I am going to provide some vainglorious advice about my ways of staying sane through the school year.” A memorable quotation from the post is: “I think my motto this year may just have to be Keep Calm and Carry On (thank you British government).”
–> My take: What a great idea to write down the things that will keep you sane during the school year. I really need to do this too. My most simple one is “No work on Friday” (our weekend is Friday-Saturday) but some of the other things that she does are simple and great!
Rachel Tabak | Writing to Learn to Teach
Rachel Tabak @ray_emily has a blog named Writing to Learn to Teach. The first post for the Blogging Initiation is titled ““Special Number” Project” and the author sums it up as follows: “This post is all about a project that I’ve been using for a few years. I like it because it gives kids an opportunity to show their knowledge of number theory, and also to be creative and silly.” A memorable quotation from the post is: “This activity holds tons of potential to get your kids geeking out to the max – showing you how goofy and creative they can be over topics like prime factorization, GCF, LCM, and a bunch of other stuff.“
–> My take: This is a nice idea! I love topics where students can be creative. My suggestions might be to take the [# pts] heading from each question. I think that takes away from the fun! Also, is there any way to make this more opened ended? Could the students figure out their OWN properties about the number they chose? This is a nice idea to do instead of toiling through a sub lesson!
Matt Moran | Maximize Interest
Matt Moran @mathewpmoran has a blog named Maximize Interest. The first post for the Blogging Initiation is titled “What I Wish I Knew Before I Started Teaching/Being the Worst First Year Teacher Ever” and the author sums it up as follows: “This post is something I have really wanted to write but struggled to find the words to say. In it I talk about how horrible my start in teaching was and what I wish I knew when I started teaching. Namely, what I wish I knew was something really obvious; I wish I better knew myself.” A memorable quotation from the post is: “To begin, I want to share a little humblebrag: I believe I set the all-time record for Greatest Disparity Between Expectations of What I Would Do As a First-Year Teacher and Actual Results of Teaching in Year One. Respect to all the other competitors for this accolade, but sorry guys this contest was never even close.”
–> My take: This is great (though perhaps a bit scary?) inspiration for a first year teacher – you don’t have to get it right the very first time you do it, and it takes a while until you feel really at home in the classroom. For me, the transition was all about learning to view mistakes as learning opportunities. You wont ever be perfect, but you can always be improving. Also, Matt sets a record for the number of times citing Dan Meyer in his posts. Also, for the record, I totally disagree about the not-smiling-til-Christmas thing!