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# Week 11 Networking options (March 26 - April 1)

You can network at live events or asynchronous communication platforms. Choose one of the following options this week, and write a reflection about your participation in this task's comments.

You can also find other online networking options.

• I came across to what I believe to be an article called ‘What’s Your Best Guess?’ The author talks about how our predictions keep us interest in what we’re doing. After reading the whole article I realize that it’s true! I reflected on myself and noticed that when I’m watching a movie I always predict the ending and I keep watching the movie to see if I’m right and connect the dots that led me to my prediction. A test was done on a class to show how prediction helped the students use prior knowledge to help them work through the math problem. Predicting something really makes us think deeply as mentioned in the article. I think it’s a cool idea to give students questions that have them predict an answer to start off a lesson. It challenges them while making the lesson interesting and keeping them engage.

mindshift.kqed.org
Predictions pique our interest. Once we wager that our favorite sports team will win, we want to know the final score. Once we guess the identity of the murderer in a mystery novel, we keep reading to find out if we were right.
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• Keisha Louis wow! i never thought of how predicting answers lead to deeper thinking. I really like the idea of having students predict answers to questions before teaching a lesson. Great read!
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When I first read math circle I thought it was just a savvy name for the Facebook page. I didn’t know it was an actual math activity. I came across a comment from a teacher that shared her best experience with math circles. She played a game called Spot It. I found a site where there’s a demo you can play. It was extremely challenging for me to find the matching object quickly but it was also extremely fun to play. I see myself using this in my class in the future.

I just led my best math circle ever (well, maybe there've been others as good) with Oakland Math Circle. There were 5 adults, 5 kids (Oops! How'd that happen?), and 4 games of Spot It. We played a few rounds of Spot It, and continued our in...vestigation - How do they make those cards always match on exactly one picture?

Each group worked on making cards with 4 pictures each, and seeing how many cards they could make for their decks. Two groups made 5 cards that all matched each other once, and then could not make more! I was intrigued... I promised them they could get a deck with more, and they kept exploring.

Everyone was engaged. I loved seeing it.
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• I just posted an activity on  "Let's Play Math"  It's going to be a lot of fun when I finally get to try it out in the classroom.

I have a great weather-related activity that should work well for children in kindergarten or first grade. It will involve some preparation. You will need to track down some large prints or posters, picturing various weather conditions. Also find several pictures showing different types of clothing worn during different seasons. You will also need to create corresponding thermometers representing various temperatures we experience during each season. The task is to have the students play a sort of a matching game with these items. Obviously we would be matching cold to cold and warm to warm etc. This could easily be done on an easel in the front of the classroom as a shared activity. It could even be incorporated with a geography lesson.  The possibilities are endless, and I can't wait to actually try it out when I do my student teaching!

• This week again I looked at LetplayMath on Facebook. I found a blog (http://www.moebiusnoodles.com/2012/03/money-math-for-preschoolers/) about mathematics and money for kids. The blog came equipped with a nice story about a boy and his allowance. He got \$2 every week. Last week he didn't spend any of his money so when he got his \$2 this week he had \$4. His mom went through a few other scenerios until the boy had a revelation, "money is mathematics!" Now while I think this story is very kind and something I wish every kid realized, it isn't. Not every child will magically understand math though money, but I do believe that money is a very real thing that can aide in their understanding of addition and subtraction.

The few lessons and activites that follow the story all follow this idea od learning addition and subtraction. One of the activities is something tht can be done with an object though and focuses on addition. You create a board with 8 squares and put the number 1-10 in them and then throw a penny, after two turns you add the numbers up. This game is similar to many games I have played before and lends itself to other mathematical skills. You could add, subtract, multiple, divide, even do fractions with two number. Moreover you could increase the numbers to make it more difficult or even derease the numbers to negatives. Although this activity is very simple and obviously made for younger kids, it could work for older elementary students too.

• This evening I attended the Math Chat on Twitter.  This week’s topic:  “How do we measure success in mathematics & in schools?”  This chat fit right in with some of the topics we’ve discussed in our class.  The overwhelming majority of the participants did not feel that success is only measured by test scores and meeting standards.

This is how I feel about success.  I don’t believe that tests are fair or accurate measurements for all students.  Bias in tests has been well studied, yet we continue to put all of our “cards” in this “basket”.  Here are some of the other ways the Twitter participants defined success:

• Solve a problem the way we taught you (C). Solve it in a unique way (B). Find a problem and solve it (A).
• Maybe "measure" success as absence of failure - kids not saying they hate math, not suffering math anxiety.
• Doesn't failure lead in some cases to discovery, learning & deeper success?
• Success is continued effort towards knowledge & learning!
• Another measure of success is if math starts making kids happy.
• A measure of success is when students ask for harder problems
• If kids keep you after class, asking questions and pestering you, that is success.
• If a student is willing to slog through a problem now but wasn't at the beginning
• Having students explain how today's lesson can be used in another class. Making connections outside of math class is successful.
• I think an ability to explain the WHY of a math problem (using math language!) is a big step to success
• Another measure of success is if a student is willing to slog through a problem now but wasn't at the beginning
• Measures success by the rate at which students enter class vs. them leaving. It's actually measurable!
• If they can communicate it & demo it, they likely understand it = a great way to measure success.
• Maybe one measure of success is willingness to fail.

I really appreciate these points of view, and they reflect my own belief that success is not always measured by a score on an exam. Interesting concepts... espcecially coming from math people whom I would have assumed (based on my obviously incorrect stereotype) would like the cold, hard statistics. Very interesting discussion this evening!

• Another forum I've been enjoying lately is the Well-Trained Mind Forum. It's primarily homeschoolers, but not entirely, and it's very active. I wish they had the posts separated out by subject rather than by age -- it would make it easier to find the math-related posts on such an active board. But I guess most of their members are looking for advice regarding situations with particular students, so the age sorting is most appropriate to them.

Example of a question I found interesting this week: How do I become a better math teacher?  (from a homeschooling mom who is trying to stay a few steps ahead of her elementary students) She wanted specific recommendations for

(1) re-learning the math she didn't understand in school, so she can explain it to her kids,

(2) keeping track of and remembering what she learned, and

(3) deepening her family's experience of math -- that is, going beyond their textbook.

What would you suggest?

•

• Is it okay if I use the same group from last week? I still want to investigate Living Math Forum now that I'm a part of it.

• Laura, by all means! It's an awesome group and I would love for you to keep participating. The same goes for Twitter chats, etc. As Harry Potter said when uncle Vernon questioned him about watching the news again, "It changes every day" :-)

• Okay, sounds good! This week I got to read more of the posts on Living Math Forum. Many of them are related to homeschooling and issues with specific teaching strategies, so I tried to find posts that I could better relate to.

For one of my posts, I read someone's post containing a link to an article on Emmy Noether. Noether was a female mathematician who produced groundbreaking work in the field of math. However, most people haven't heard of her for some reason, and students aren't taught bout her achievements. I noted that it could be beneficial to teach about her work, especially for girls who believe they're "no good at math."

http://groups.yahoo.com/group/LivingMathForum/message/24958

There was also another post I commented on, which linked to a blog post. The post was on the stress that math students face. Children are forced to learn the rules and patterns of math, providing new anxiety and making math seem like a complex process with little application. I suggested that we teach kids math in an engaging way, in order to make math less intimidating.

http://groups.yahoo.com/group/LivingMathForum/message/24894