My personal go-to is reading. I read current and relevant texts when I'm unsure of what to do next.
One of my favorite books for meeting with mathematicians in small groups is Math Exchanges by Kassia Omohundro Wedekind. On her blog Math Exchanges, she wrote,
In my book I talk a lot about how math exchanges must be both contextually meaningful and mathematically significant. Many times “contextually meaningful” means relevant or useful to the life of the mathematician solving the problem.
This got me thinking about giving students situations that were relevant to them. And after Thanksgiving what else is there but TOYS?!
In the text, Learning to Love Math by Judy Willis, she shared her theory about learning from video games. She wrote,
Video games are an example of the lure of achievable challenge because they help students reach personally desirable goals...These goals can be translated into mathematics as long as we use the model of achievable challenge (through differentiation and individualization) and connect our teaching goals with students' personal goals and interest.
This challenges me as an educator. I have to find the achievable challenge for each student knowing that they will all be different. For my whole group lessons, I determined that I would use the Gradual Release of Responsibility by amping up the problems each time.
Maggie Siena wrote, in her book From Reading to Math,
There is no one best way to teach math.
Confidence is paramount.
Professional development is important for teaching all students.
Everyone has the potential to understand math.
What I really honed in on in my personal quest was the idea that the student had to have confidence. Again this leads me to the GRR and teaching with Concrete, Representational and Abstract sequence. I need to give the students in my class every opportunity to feel successful and to do this I need to create building blocks that they can stack and depend on to support them.
Here leads to my freebie! I wanted to create materials to use the first week back that incorporated all these great things I've learned about math instruction.
Click on the link or pictures to pick up yours :)
I hope you enjoy this week and give thanks for all that you have because life is precious!!