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From the Mouths of Babes…

Since I am on holiday, I have time to sit down and really read the blog posts of our students at Anastasis Academy…all 500 of them!  I am so proud of what our students do and the ways that their teachers challenge them to think and reflect.  As I was reading, I kept sending out tweets with links to the posts…I forgot that to read an Edu 2.0 blog post, you have to be registered on Edu 2.0.  Oops!  I thought I would share some favorites here.  None of them have been re-touched or edited. These are from an intermediate class who started with the prompt: “I used to believe, now I know.” Post 1 I used to think the traditional way of school was the only, iPads are a new way to learn.and best way to learn. Now I think using IPads, sitting around the room, and being creative is a great way to take advantage of the generations advanced technology. Are homework, tests, and grades the correct way to teach a student? Are discipline, punishment, and un-creativity a way to rotten the brain into what people now call an adult? Then it’s probably time to get a new perspective. The traditional way isn’t bad, don’t get me wrong, but trying something new is always good. Instead of my teachers asking me the correct time to start and finish something. They let me be creative and dig deeper into the subject. Also, the teachers allow me to watch videos that spark my imagination. Free writing is also a great way for me to get my creative juices flowing. I love writing, always have, always will. That’s why I love being able to put my best ideas on paper and watch a story come to life right in front of my eyes. I think that’s what other kids love too but are too afraid to speak up. Plus, students are afraid that they are going to get a bad grade. “Learning abuse” is what I like to call it. Every kid, even I, have experienced learning abuse. It’s when children receive a big fat F slashed across their paper, or get a “No, that’s not what you’re GO TEAM ANASTASISsupposed to do!” glare from their teachers. I’ve learned that if we change the boring way of school into a creative school, fewer children would die of learning abuse. Laying around the room helps me learn, and it does with everyone in my class. So, I think having electronics and creativity is the best and most creative way to learn. I think that ever since I went to Anastasis, my life has changed, hands down. Thank you for the new way of learning!   Post 2 I used to think that I was just supposed to remember things I learn in school, now I know that you should be creative with what you know. I know this because when I came to Anastasis, I used what I know to be creative and find out more information, instead of just remembering things I learn in school and checking it off the list. I personally think that creative learning is much better, because you should let your creativeness flow through your imagination instead of being like a robot and learning things so can just remember them and not even care. If you get a job in a factory pressing a button every 2 seconds in one hand and getting paid money in the other hand, how is that using creativity? Being creative is a great quality to have because creativity has no limits. You can use it to be a leader or a other quality. It allows you to make great things that haven’t been done before. It also lets your imagination stretch out and be creative. If you use your creativity during your lifetime it will help you in school, your job, your life at home, and even in other places. God gave you creativity to use everywhere, not just in one certain place or not at all. Use the talents God gave you to worship him.   Post 3 I USED TO THINK, BUT NOW I KNOW… I used to think that just getting the grade was the best for me, but now I know that it’s better to be creative and really know what we’re learning. Sometime in school, we all think… “Oh if I pass this test and get the A+ I will be number 1 in our class. That’s all that matters.” Now I know that the A+ doesn’t matter in the long run, but what really matters is being able to… Explain, Create, Retell, Analyze, and Remember. School isn’t about the teacher telling us the problem, we memorize it, put it down on paper, get the A, than forget about it, you know the process. Instead, we should really discover and really understand the process. Some schools think that the best way is too give you a test, we get the grade then they think we know it all. But we don’t. And we are missing the most important meanings of learning. I did a project at my old school, Cherry Hills. We had to create a cell, and its’ insides. We did this project at home. So my dad ended up doing most of it. I took it into school presented it, and got the A+. Now at this school, we do our own projects AT SCHOOL. We learn to be creative and really understand the concept. It definitely makes more sense to do it by yourself and maybe it won’t look as good as your dad, but thats not the point. The point is actually learning, and being creative.   From the mouths of babes I tell ya!  

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Math Class Needs a Makeover: videos, inquiry, math stories and more

Posted by admin | Posted in Analyze, Apply, Blogs, Create, Download, Evaluate, inspiration, Knowledge (remember), Math, professional development, Teacher Resources, TED Talk Tuesdays, Understand (describe, explain), video, Websites | Posted on 18-06-2013

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What it is:  I’ve had the great fortune of time to go through my Google Reader favorites this week as I prepare for the shutdown (still bitter about that!).  The unexpected benefit I’ve had from Google Reader’s demise? The forced opportunity to go back through and be reminded of some of the truly amazing people and resources in education.  Dan Meyer is one of my all time favorite math geniuses.  He reminds us that math is more than computation, it is a frame of mind and an outlook on the world.  If your math program isn’t that…it is time to change!  As I went back through the resources of Dan’s that I had tagged, I re-watched his TEDx Talk: Math Class Needs a Makeover.  If you haven’t seen this TED Talk, or haven’t watched it in a while…now is the time.  I’ve embedded the talk above for your viewing pleasure…you don’t even have to go anywhere!  If you have watched it recently, be a friend and share it with someone else.

Dan also has some other really useful mathspiration.  His blog, dy/dan, is a source of math prompts and discussions that will have you thinking beyond computation. 101Questions is a project that encourages students to think about math through photo prompts and inquiry.  Graphing Stories is STINKING fantastic, Dan offers a printout for your students, they can then watch any video and graph the story.  AWESOME describes this resource. Three Act Math is a curricula that Dan developed, click on the links within the doc to get to the resources.  Again…AWESOME. Geometry curricula offers you Dan’s handouts, pdfs, powerpoint and keynote presentations.  Algebra curricula offers the same.

THANK YOU Dan for sharing your passion for mathematics, your inspiration for those of us who aren’t as naturally inclined to geek out about math, and for your openness of resources.

How to integrate Dan Meyer’s awesomeness into the classroom:  Dan makes it really easy for you to integrate his methods into your classroom.  Everything you need from inspiration, to mathematical story sets, to curricula materials is available.  If you teach math, the obvious place to start is with the type of math that you teach.  Dan’s resources are mostly intended for high school students use.  However, as I looked through his resources again, I think they could be appropriate for students in elementary school as well.

101Questions is a great way to have your kids enter an inquiry mindset as they approach math.  These are photos that ask your students what the first thing that comes to mind is.  Students can type in their answer and get a new prompt.  These would be a great way to start your class using a projector or interactive whiteboard.  Have your class inquire and come up with questions together.  Students can also do this as an independent activity and then share their questions with other students.

Graphing Stories speaks for itself.  Again, it is geared toward secondary students, but I think that given enough support, primary students would really enjoy engaging math this way too.  (Sometimes we don’t give students enough credit for where an interest can take their thinking.  Case in point: Anastasis 2nd and 3rd graders who know Fibonacci inside and out. Normally you wouldn’t see the concept until high school or later.)

The Three Act Math is also a favorite of mine.  Use Dan’s three acts, or use his as inspiration for creating your own!

Dan’s resources hit on every level of Bloom’s Taxonomy…that alone is good reason to stop reading this and go on your own exploration!

Tips: Dan is great to follow on Twitter...a constant stream of 140 character mathspiration!

How are you using Dan Meyer’s Awesome in your classroom?  Leave a comment below!

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