Mission Accomplished

As I publish this reflection, I fear that this moment may turn into something along the lines of another famous moment….


I am very honored to have met #IRL (in real life) the person that inspired this learning goal for me this school year: Having students produce a weekly learnings podcast for public consumption. Joe Young is an incredible TOSA for math and education and he shared this idea a long time ago, and when I had the pleasure of teaching two courses this year, I wanted to challenge myself and use this as one way students would show what they know.

Finally, this week, I found the magic recipe to making this happen, I assigned two students, one in each class to get the job done. Friday marked the turning point for me in doing some of the things I wanted to get done and continue to build on. Friday was also our first Mystery Skype with another group of students. While the connections prevented less opportunities for conversation, it was an entertaining and fun sort of thing.

While doing the Mystery Skype, we also produced our weekly podcasts for both classes. I loved the idea of having students interact with other students around mathematics and this public display showed a proof of concept.

All in all, I was very excited to have been able to edit, publish, upload, host, and publish to iTunes. I am currently waiting on a review of my two podcasts to be approved, and if that works they’ll be in iTunes. The Mystery Skype provided the opportunities for students to strategize their thinking and be able to try to problem solve.

The podcasts are linked:  Math 8    &/or     IM3

Well looking forward to another great week. Hope your week is as magical and moving you forward to meet your new goals.

Fact Families

Time flies by with little regard to your desires to get things done, and I am three months behind on my blogging. I am going to start to remedy that situation with the change of the calendar.

This first example is from back in October of 2016, I will set the stage and then showcase the video below.

On this particular night, the two 3rd graders in our lives, had been working on their homework with my wife for over an hour, and everyone had exposed nerves when I showed up. The girls were frustrated and tired of the mathematics, my wife was feeling defeated at not finding a way to convey the ideas to the girls, and everyone was feeling pretty negative toward mathematics.

As I came into this situation from the perspective of we need to have some fun, and learn through exploration and their girls realizing they have the tools to make sense of the vexing problems. So we started with some work on visualizing the mathematics, utilizing the notice and wonder format to make some headway. Soon, the girls were feeling pretty good about themselves and their mathematics, and we pushed into the Fact Families, the very devil that had started this whole mess.

The girls went back and forth, each taking a turn and exploring as their understanding firmed up. The video showcases this entire process; we were using my iPad with Explain Everything to highlight the pieces. When we finished, the girls listened to pieces they created summarizing their thinking to each other, an added benefit of recording their thinking.

Love to hear your thoughts. Have you had similar experiences?