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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!

iTunes U: Creative Problem Solving course from TED

Posted by admin | Posted in Anastasis Academy, education reform, Grade Level, inspiration, iPod, professional development, Teacher Resources, TED Talk Tuesdays, video | Posted on 09-02-2012

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What it is: iTunes U is a true gem that doesn’t get talked about nearly enough.  iTunes U is a collection of learning from around the world, available for free at your finger tips.  It just doesn’t get better than that!  Recently I found a new iTunes U course that I had to share with all of my edu friends.  Creative Problem Solving is a course by TED (you know that really super, great conference “talks”) that collects great TED talks about creative problem solving in one convenient place.  “These speakers from TED assess the prevailing model of education reform by answering the critical question: How do we create educational environments that maximize how students harness their creative and problem-solving potential?  Relevant areas of interest, study and coursework include: Education Policy, Curriculum Development, Assessment, Pedagogy, Career and Technical Education, Project-Based Learning, Whole Child Education, 21st Century Skills, and Multiple Intelligences.” These TED talks have had a significant impact on me and have guided many of my thoughts and “hunches” about education.  The collection includes Tim Brown, Emily Pilloton, Gever Tulley, Dan Meyer, Kathryn Schultz, and not one but two from Sir Ken Robinson.  7 episodes in one place for a free course on education that will blow your mind and fire up your passion for education reform. 

How to integrate iTunes U Creative Problem Solving  into the classroom: iTunes U is a great place to learn for both you and your students!  This particular collection is a great place to feed your educator soul and boost your own professional development.  If you have the ability to shape PD at your school, this is an AWESOME addition to your time together as a staff.  In the past, I have done TED Talk Tuesdays and Webspiration Wednesdays over the lunch break with other teachers.  We gathered in the library where there was plenty of room to sit, relax, eat and learn together.  The discussion that ensued after watching the TED talk was always rich. This is a GREAT way to build culture and community among your staff.
Over the summer, I started every morning with a TED talk to start my day off with a healthy dose of inspiration.  I think I will re-instate this habit while I get ready for school.
At Anastasis, we often share videos as a staff.  They aren’t always this inspirational, sometimes we share clips from SNL (HVR, HVR! “Write that down.”) or YouTube.  Videos have a wonderful way of connecting us and giving us shared language and inside jokes.  Gotta love that!
Tips:  TED has other great iTunes U courses including Understanding Happiness and Mastering Tech-Artistry.  Next on my list!

Please leave a comment and share how you are using iTunes U Creative Problem Solving  in  your classroom!