Promoting a Mathematical Community of Learners
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Are You a Thought-Provider or a Thought-Provoker?

Are You a Thought-Provider or a Thought-Provoker? | Promoting a Mathematical Community of Learners | Scoop.it
Our job as educators is to be thought-provoking, not thought-providing, says principal Matt Renwick. 1-to-1 tech is only good if students make meaning with it.
Joanna Chung's insight:
Although the title itself was the main thing that grabbed my attention, as I read this blog post, there was something else that also caught my attention. At the end of the blog, there is a subtitle that says ‘We have to help students make meaning.’ The information provided underneath it really reminded me of the first core practice which is to promote a mathematical community of learners because this blog talks about the importance of selecting, or adapting a task that is worth talking about or worth doing. If the students are able to make meaning of what us teachers present to them, then they will be able to take that learning and connect it elsewhere other than just school. Thus, I really like the fact that the author of this blog, Matt Renwick, reminds teachers or prospective teachers to ask themselves, ‘Why am I doing what I am doing?’ This question will help remind teachers to assign tasks to students that are worth their time. It seems ridiculous for teachers to assign students a certain task that even the teachers wouldn’t consider doing. However, unfortunately, there are teachers who assign tasks that are, in the end, not worth the students time doing or the teachers’ time grading. I think this is a challenge because not all the topics covered in math can be ideally fun for the students. However, these topics can be introduced and taught in a fun, engaging way. I think this is something that I need to develop more because I have been so used to learning math in a traditional way.
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Cierra Johnson's curator insight, December 16, 2013 2:49 PM

After reading this article, it made me reflect on all of the math lessons I have done thus far. A couple of my favorite quotes from this article were, "Our job as educators is to be thought-provoking, not thought-providing", "Why am I doing what I'm doing". If you could not answer the previous question then he suggested that you find another method or way of doing your lesson. This article also delves into letting the lesson be more student centered than teacher centered. Instead of having the students open to a page in the textbook, let them ask their own question to start the lesson.

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Dan Meyer: Math class needs a makeover | Video on TED.com

Today's math curriculum is teaching students to expect -- and excel at -- paint-by-numbers classwork, robbing kids of a skill more important than solving problems: formulating them.
Joanna Chung's insight:
1. I know that in this video, Dan Meyer talks about his high school math experience, but there were a lot of great ideas talked about that can be applied in an elementary school setting. This quote, “No problem worth solving is that simple,” got me really thinking about how many students react so negatively when they can’t solve a math problem right away. I see that many of the students in my placement get easily frustrated when they do not get the answer immediately. Most of them struggle with two-step problems because they are used to the simple equations such as an addition or subtraction problem. I like how Dan Meyer talks about how he likes to create discussion with the question. “The math serves the conversation, the conversation doesn’t serve the math.” I really agree with this quote because I think that when students are able to converse about the math problem before they start it, it will trigger them to start thinking about how to go about solving this problem. This trigger will help them by giving them possible motivation to solving the problem given to them. Since they have begun talking about the problem with another student, it might strike curiosity for them of how to go about solving it. I think that this video just showed me the importance of productive math talk. I would really like to implement more of this when I do the takeover in my placement next semester. However, the structure of the math talk is important because it should be done properly. The productive math talk should help develop the students to think about their math reasoning and develop patient problem solving skills.
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Strategic Modeling: Balancing Structure with Choice

Strategic Modeling: Balancing Structure with Choice | Promoting a Mathematical Community of Learners | Scoop.it
Early in my teaching career, I viewed students' struggles as a temporary phase that would end once they started working harder and "figured it out." Students would come to me with questions, or I wou
Joanna Chung's insight:

This article talks about how having a balance of having structure and choice is critical to create a more meaningful learning experience for students. This relates with the open-ended problem solving activities. There needs to a balance between how much information being told to the students and how much choice they have to producing their answers. When I did an open-ended problem in my classroom last week, I remember I read the problem aloud. It had just the right amount of information for the students to create a problem and produce their own answers. Since most of these students were used to having one correct answer when it comes to solving math problems, many of them kept on asking me more specific questions. In example, I asked them to show me how 30 people would be able to share 10 umbrellas equally (all the umbrellas wouldn’t not have to be used). Some students were asking me if I was looking for a certain number sharing each umbrella and if their number was the correct answer. I had to stress onto them that there is no one correct answer, and that this problem can have many possible answers. I then realized how valuable these open-ended problems are because they are in a way an example of a balance of having a structure and choice.

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Math teachers are teachers of language

Math teachers are teachers of language | Promoting a Mathematical Community of Learners | Scoop.it

Via Darren Burris
Joanna Chung's insight:

This video and description provide a lot of insight of how  to build a bridge between the everyday language students have and the academic language that math invovles. In my class, there are many ESOL students who have trouble reading and have difficulty decoding sentences. This article talks about how if we want students to learn the language of mathematics, we must build it up form the language students know. I completely agree with this because it will be illogical to ask a student to solve a math word problem when he or she can't even understand what the problem is about. I really like the tip of using daily math talks to build students' abilities to discuss mathematics. Thinking about it, I feel as though there are rarely any discussions on the topic of math. Instead, math class usually involves students working on or solving problems using pen and paper. In my class, my mentor discusses math vocabulary in a strategic manner of having the students first decode the meaning using context clues. Then they think, pair, and share their thoughts. After that, my mentor talks with the whole class about each math vocabulary and clarifies what it really means. She also has a word wall dedicated only for math vocabluary so the students can look back at it incase they forgot what a certain word meant. Whenever the students are stuck on a problem because they can't remember what a word meant such as multiply or quotient, they simply turn to the word wall. On the word wall, each vocabulary has its meaning and a picture. It is definitely an effective tool for helping students build their math vocabulary. 

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Common Core Standard: Third Grade Math Strategies

Common Core Standard: Third Grade Math Strategies | Promoting a Mathematical Community of Learners | Scoop.it
CCSS.Math.Content.3.OA.B.5: Apply properties of operations as strategies to multiply and divide.

Most math instruction for younger elementary students (K-2) is based around number sense. Students ar
Joanna Chung's insight:

In my school, my students are currently working on applying the distributive, associative, and commutative properties of multiplication. In this article, it suggests to break the class into groups and have everyone check out everyone else’s work. This caught my attention because it made me think back to how in my EDCI352 class, we check each other’s work after each beginning activity. By checking other’s works, it shows me the various answers that the problem can produce. I think this is important because students can learn that there are other ways to solve a problem (if the problem is an open-ended one ofcourse). What I got from this article is that group work and collaboration can be a big help when learning math. I am always used to the traditional way of working on math problems alone in class when I was an elementary student that this is something still new to me. I think that it is highly beneficial for students to be able to have some type of discussion during math because math isn’t all about getting the answers right. There are a lot of strategies and thinking involved in math; students should be more aware that math is more than just getting the answers right.

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5 Powerful Questions Teachers Can Ask Students

5 Powerful Questions Teachers Can Ask Students | Promoting a Mathematical Community of Learners | Scoop.it
My first year teaching a literacy coach came to observe my classroom.
Joanna Chung's insight:
When I read this article, it reminded me of the open-ended problem activities I have been working on in my EDCI352 class. Although the fact that the problem is open to many possible solutions, I think it is the guiding questions that really get the students to think critically. However, the type of questions that are being asked are what is really important. The article says that, “Why do you think that,” is a good question because it pushes the students to provide reasoning for their thinking. I think this is a beneficial question because it requires student to think of their thinking, basically metacognition. The question, “How do you know this,” requires students to connect their ideas and thoughts with things they’ve experienced, read, and have seen. This is crucial because it shows the teacher why and how each student is thinking a certain way when solving a specific problem. Overall, I think the answers generated from these critically thinking questions are important when trying to understand what the student was trying to do or what the student was thinking while solving the problem
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3 Strategies to Promote Independent Thinking in Classrooms

Imagine the intentional focus you would bring to crossing a rushing creek. Each stepping-stone is different in shape, each distance uneven and unpredictable, requiring you to tread with all senses in
Joanna Chung's insight:

The one part from this article that really struck to me was the Recovery From Mistakes. I think it is a fantastic way to get students to be able to appreciate their failures and learn from their mistakes. As I grade some of the math classwork and homework, I noticed that there are some students who skip pages or don't hand them in at all. I recently had observed all of the parent teacher conferences between my mentor and the parents. I made some notes of how there are some children who just have the fear of failure that prevents them from trying. I think that going over a homework or classwork and allowing students to volunteer and share what they got wrong will help them feel more comfortable with getting some answers wrong. I also think that going over their mistakes with the whole class will hopefully remove that fear of being wrong in the classroom environment. I think that when a student shares how a certain strategy for a problem didn't work is as beneficial as when a student shares how a different strategy did work. This can show the class that there are various approaches to solving math problems, but not all of them may apply to a certain problem. I also think that this will definitely build many of the student's confidence.

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10 Ways to Help ELLs Succeed in Math | Scholastic.com

10 Ways to Help ELLs Succeed in Math | Scholastic.com | Promoting a Mathematical Community of Learners | Scoop.it
Math can feel like a foreign language for everyone. Five experts share their best practices.
Joanna Chung's insight:

In my classroom, the majority of my students are in ESOL. I noticed that a lot of these ESOL students struggle with math since they are dealing with learning a second language and the content at the same time. I found this article where it has tips of helping ESOL students succeed in math. My mentor implements the usage of math vocabulary words by creating a word wall. As the article suggested, I can see how this helps the ESOL students when discussing or writing about their math thinking because these words are used as a reference. What I have also seen in my classroom is that a lot of the ESOL students perform low on the math assessments when there are lengthy word problems. I agree with the article that questions should be designed for different language proficiency levels. This is because if the ESOL student can’t understand the problem, he or she will not be able to go about to solve it. I think that adjusting the language of the problem will not make the problem itself any easier, but it will definitely help the ESOL student to understand it better. I think that adjustments should be made for the ESOL students because it is unfair if they know the concepts of the math but are unable to apply it due to the language barrier.

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Beyond Q+A: Six Strategies That Motivate ALL Students to Participate

Beyond Q+A: Six Strategies That Motivate ALL Students to Participate | Promoting a Mathematical Community of Learners | Scoop.it
Do you have students who rarely raise their hand when you ask a question? When I think back about kids in my classroom who didn't participate at first, I remember Jared and Maya (whose names I change
Joanna Chung's insight:

These strategies can be used when we are motivating the student to participate during the discussion of developing a mathematical eye to the students. These strategies can also be useful to promote the community of math learners because students are not used to 'talking' when it comes to math. I am actually going to try the three second rule when I have my second discussion with my class. This is because I had a few students who had nothing to say in today's discussion. I am hoping that these questioning strategies will help me get more students to become more open to share their thoughts and ideas aloud.

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Free Technology for Teachers: Bedtime Math - Fun Math Activities for Parents To Do With Their Kids

Free Technology for Teachers: Bedtime Math - Fun Math Activities for Parents To Do With Their Kids | Promoting a Mathematical Community of Learners | Scoop.it

"Bedtime Math is a great site on which you can locate fun mathematics activities for elementary school and middle school students. The activities are designed for students to do at home with their parents. Of course, the activities could also be used in your classroom. The Bedtime Math activities incorporate common household objects. Today's lesson is about mixing and sharing milkshakes."


Via John Evans, susanne bowen
Joanna Chung's insight:

I know that this has no link with the core practice, however I think that this is a great way for parents to also be involved with their children's learning as well as providing students a fun way to do math activities at home. I just wanted to add this in here for me to use as a future reference.

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susanne bowen's curator insight, July 19, 2013 9:42 AM

Wonderful resource for resources!!!