Far from a simple undertaking, incorporating more inquiry in your class is a challenging process. You and your students may have to unlearn some of the tendencies you’ve built up over the years. So I hope you don’t take this “five steps” post as a flippant, “it’s so easy” post. The opposite is true: problem … Continue reading Five steps to plan a problem based lesson

## Math Mindset and Attitudes Survey

The start of the school year offers a unique time in the academic calendar to obtain some baseline data on how your students view themselves as mathematicians and the discipline of math itself. Most beginning-of-year info sheets solicit information about students' passions and/or guardians' phone numbers. This year, I encourage you to ask some questions … Continue reading Math Mindset and Attitudes Survey

## Specifics before Strategies

In this blog post, we'll explore how to get specific with math or non-math classroom issues before we develop strategies. We'll also see an example of how to build a rubric from the ground up. === “My kids just won’t work together.” This (or something like it) is a common complaint I hear during professional … Continue reading Specifics before Strategies

## Your Student Portfolio System Begins Now

As we transition back into School Mode, I’d like to offer a brief encouragement to use this school year to establish a system of student portfolios. If you’d like a “why” around this, I’ll point you to my Shadowcon Talk from a couple years ago. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aKgyvk28STM If you’d prefer not to watch a video, here … Continue reading Your Student Portfolio System Begins Now

## Problem Based Learning and supporting English Language Learners

A classroom with quality, complex problems as its cornerstones can support English Language Learners. First let’s check out a few “ground rules” about supporting English Language Learners. The following ground rules are not exhaustive, but are pulled strategically from English Language Learners and the New Standards by Margaret Heritage, Aída Walqui, and Robert Linquanti. Use … Continue reading Problem Based Learning and supporting English Language Learners

## What Khan Academy Gets Really, Really Right

There is no shortage of criticism of Khan Academy around these parts. In fact, Khan Academy criticism was among the first unifying themes of the math blogosphere. Since then, however, KA has made their platform more robust and useful. And those of us who swore it off might want to take another look. I’m taking … Continue reading What Khan Academy Gets Really, Really Right

## What teacher training and PD can learn from Trader Joe’s

When we got a Trader Joe's in our humble little burg of Fort Collins there was much rejoicing. Now we have a place to get all sorts of goodies, which I'll describe in more detail in a moment. Sadly, due to some byzantine Colorado laws they cannot carry Two-Buck Chuck. Nevertheless, I hit up TJ's … Continue reading What teacher training and PD can learn from Trader Joe’s

## I’m not sure what the second step is, but the first to understand

Recently I had a conversation with a special education coordinator. He was struggling to keep his kids in their classes. They kept getting sent out for disruptive behavior, being off task, or not playing well with others. He talked about parents who would leave IEPs in tears. These meetings - and other informal meetings - … Continue reading I’m not sure what the second step is, but the first to understand

## Active Caring, a how-to

I've given the book talk (by other names) a few times now, and I'm noticing some patterns of what's really resonating. One small, but significant piece that's fostering conversation is a section around Active Caring vs. Passive Caring. I've blogged a bit about this in the past, so feel free to check out those posts. There appears … Continue reading Active Caring, a how-to

## Mathematical play, but, like, for older kids

Chris and Melissa gave a great talk on the importance of mathematical play at NCTM-Seattle last week. You can see their Math-on-a-Stick work on their website. There you can see pictures and examples and of children enjoying and playing with math in interesting and delightful ways. One of my many takeaways from their keynote was … Continue reading Mathematical play, but, like, for older kids