2017-07-25 – Ipadpaloozaca & a Pirate


The first day back to work and I’m so stoked to start the new school year with IpadpaloozaCA and the opportunity to learn and get better together struck twice with both keynote speakers Dave Burgess and Carl Hooker. Both gentlemen are incredible speakers, fun, entertaining, and knowledgeable.

Meeting one of my eduheroes is the most exciting events in life.


Dave inspired us to create learning experiences for our students and to add a little edupropane to our teaching because we need to preheat the edugrill. What a wonderful experience and so fantastic being able to accomplish my dream.

2017-05-18 – Day 8 – Rich Task Routines & Fraction Splats

One of the charges my district has taken on requires that we work toward improving math instruction at the 5th-grade level – this grade level has been identified as a severe turning point in the performance and mindset of learners toward mathematics. We are working on ways that will improve instruction and learning experiences so students feel differently about mathematics and themselves.

One of our approaches is incorporating rich tasks for our students to access. The Rich Tasks provide both a better math experience and promote a growth mindset in mathematics.


The process I am testing is trying to tease out if the students can make connections between their thinking and others. In addition to sharing their thinking and being able to perform some complex mental arithmetic with everyones’ favorite F-word, fractions. I was gifted with two extraordinary teachers that let me try this approach with the amazing Steve Wyborney’s Fraction Splats. I have had huge success in grades 3 through 12 with the fraction splits, so I knew that wouldn’t be an issue, but the questioning and format may be a challenge. The results shown in the video below show the comparison of previous Rich Task Routines with the new version. What do you #NoticeWonder?

Overall, the day felt very successful, the students seemed highly engaged in their learning, and sharing out their thinking. The valuable conversations and having students point to and demonstrate their thinking is huge. The connecting to other people’s thinking may need some direct instruction on, and multiple reps before students are reliably able to tackle this piece.


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.

Technology Enhanced in Math Lesson

What an exciting time to be a teacher, a student, and a learner!

I have a tentative understanding, at best, of human nature, but I do believe that most people find change uncomfortable and difficult to deal with both emotionally and intellectually. I am not immune to these feelings, but I like change. I like to embrace the unknown, I thrive off of dreaming about the possibilities that could be.

One of the most exciting things about the change of standards to the Common Core State Standards in Mathematics is the depth to which students are expecting to dive in their understanding. With this in mind, the fun of being a teacher is to create learning opportunities that facilitate students’ thinking and facilitate opportunities to dive deeper in their thinking.

The original idea for this lesson is hard to nail down, but I do know a large part of it came from the wonderful book Fostering Algebraic Thinking. The results are shown below:

I tried the lesson with sixth and seventh graders, and the biggest thing I realized is that there is a bunch of background knowledge with respect to the technology that students need to be familiar with to take advantage of the lesson. On the other hand, this seems like a natural way to introduce the use of technology in a lesson which has its own advantages.

What would you do differently? What would make this lesson better?