Twitter Tasting Menu – October 2019

Last month I started a new feature on this blog that I’ve dubbed the “Twitter Tasting Menu.” Each month I’ll be sharing a selection of articles, blog posts, and videos that I perused over the past month. If a resource resonates with you, all I ask is that you share it with at least one other colleague. Help spread the learning!

Our New “Math Space”

In this blog post, my colleague Sam Shah shares his take on creating a fun and engaging space for students to play and explore with math.


Excerpt to whet your appetite:

“Through this space, which will be curated and changed periodically, we want to widen the umbrella of what gets counted as “math” and “doing math,” and who gets to be counted as a mathematician.”

When You Multiply by 10, Just Add a Zero? Horrors!?!

In this blog post from Marilyn Burns, she shares three potential ways she could respond to a student’s misconception. I appreciate this window into possible choices as well as the critical reminder that teaching tricks has the potential for students to hit a mathematical wall down the road.

Excerpt to whet your appetite:

“Here Natasha again faces multiplying by 10. She restates what she said when multiplying 12.6 x 10, “Each time when you multiply the number by 10, you just add a zero to the end.” But here, in the context of buying pens, she gets the correct answer of $13.90.  Thinking about what Mark wrote, the context of the problem invited Natasha to give an answer that made sense instead of what she did with the naked number problem.”

Humanizing Math Class Means Teaching Math Like the Humanities

In this blog post from Dan Meyer, he makes important connections between teaching math and teaching humanities subjects. The more we can focus on good teaching, regardless of the subject area, the better we can serve our students.

Watch this video. What’s the first question that comes to mind?

Excerpt to whet your appetite:

“So my own advice is for these teachers trained in the humanities to focus on their teaching, not the resources or curricula. Specifically, I hope they’ll resist the idea that math should be taught any differently than the humanities. I hope they’ll resist the idea that only the humanities deal in subjectivity, argumentation, and personal interpretation, while math represents objective, inarguable, abstract truth.”

The Crucial Steps Are Those We May Have Skipped

In this blog post from Alfie Kohn, he points out that some of our burning questions in education may not be getting at the real issue that needs to be addressed.

Excerpt to whet your appetite:

“One of the most important lessons I’ve learned in my career is that the best way to respond to a question is not always to offer an answer. Sometimes one should linger on the question itself, asking what assumptions it conceals and what other questions it displaces. Many questions in education, for example, take for granted the inevitability of traditional practices. That means our job is to challenge the question’s hidden premises. “Wait,” we might say — you skipped a step.””

Math Fails 2019 Set #5 – 112 new pictures to download

In this blog post, my colleague Sara Van Der Werf shares her fifth collection of #MathFail that she’s collected. She includes advice for how you could use these in class or as a bulletin board.

Hmm, your numbers seem off… (Source)
So much wrong in this picture (Source)

Excerpt to whet your appetite:

“I like using a math fail to introduce something I am doing in class.  Often I use them to review in a safe way some math topic my students will need for that day’s topic…a #MathFail puts the focus on mocking an image and tricks us into learning something.”

What we mean when we say “Anyone can do math”

In this blog post from Dan Finkel he unpacks the phrase “Anyone can do math.” What does that mean? What should it mean and what are the implications for educators?

Want to know what the Pixar movie Ratatouille has to do with learning math? Check out Dan’s post.

Excerpt to whet your appetite:

“Not everyone is equally gifted in mathematics. But there are reasons to teach like everyone could be.”

Classworks Hundred Grid

This interactive tool allows users to explore patterns within the number system. At first it looks just like a hundred grid, but you can actually scroll all the way to 1,000 or you can switch from whole numbers to decimals. You also have the ability to hide and color code cells. Lots of possibilities! (h/t Janet Nuzzie)

Try it out for yourself!

Building Authentic Relationships with Parents

In his latest President’s Message, NCTM President Robert Berry talks about the importance of building relationships with parents as well as advice for doing so in meaningful ways.

Excerpt to whet your appetite:

“Relationships with caregivers and parents take time and effort. They require an understanding of the community, including its history and context, that schools serve. Learning the history and context can provide a lens on how caregivers and parents see their schools function within the broader context of the community.”

It’s not fair, I don’t want to share: When child development and teacher expectations clash

In this Phi Delta Kappan article, the authors discuss the developmental reasons why young children don’t like to share. While the article talks a lot about preschool, they also make the point that the cognitive development needed doesn’t occur until children are around 8 years old. I especially appreciate the practical classroom suggestions at the end of the article.

Young children may know about the importance of sharing without yet being able to act on that knowledge. (Source)

Excerpt to whet your appetite:

“But there is a danger in constantly enforcing a strict policy, particularly when accompanied by sanctions: Children may comply without acquiring conviction. They do what they are told from fear, not from a rational understanding of others’ rights. Teachers, therefore, may continuously press children to be nice without altering the emotions and motivations behind their actions.”

Why Kids Should Use Their Fingers in Math Class

In this Atlantic article from Jo Boaler and Lang Chen, they make the argument that we shouldn’t be discouraging students from using their fingers to solve math problems. Rather, we should be encouraging the use of fingers because of connections that are made and strengthened in the brain.

Activities to promote thinking with fingers.

Excerpt to whet your appetite:

Remarkably, brain researchers know that we “see” a representation of our fingers in our brains, even when we do not use fingers in a calculation. The researchers found that when 8-to-13-year-olds were given complex subtraction problems, the somatosensory finger area lit up, even though the students did not use their fingers.”

That’s it for this month’s tasting menu. Come back in November to taste from a brand new selection of resources.

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