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Week 14 Summary: learning about yourself (April 16-22)

One strong method of professional development is examining yourself as a learner and a peer participant in group learning environments.

For example, if you teach someone to read and write, you can learn an alternative alphabet for your language - such as Braille or Aurebesh for English - and observe your reactions.

I just met organizers of a US teacher math circle network at the Circle on the Road conference this weekend. Teachers who are in a math circle themselves can organize math circles for kids better.


  1. What have you learned about yourself in relation to this course's tasks?
  2. Do you think this will apply to math tasks with your children or students?

Here is an example. Laura learned something about herself and plans to apply it to kids. Here is what she wrote about the GeoGebra task:

"Being in this online course has really showed me that I love testing things out to learn how they work! So instead, I started messing around with the controls and seeing what looked cool. Honestly, I based most of my picture off of my artistic side, without really trying to creat something in particular. (...)

I focused most of my own creation off the attitude of young elementary school children. For them, you could just allow them to play with the program and create something intricate and creative. Children would simply be using the tool as another medium for art."

What Laura describes is very close to what I did with my math club three weeks ago. Laura, you will be pleased to know it worked very well - kids ages seven to nine loved it. They achieved pretty complex creations within the first half an hour, exploring many construction tools and ideas, and asking and answering deep questions. Children also asked for help with tools, and a couple needed a suggestion or two of how to start.

Task Discussion

  • Keisha   April 25, 2012, 2:14 a.m.

    This course has taught me a lot about myself in so many ways and I am glad that I was able to be a part of this course. I learned a lot about my learning styles, organization, prioritizing, and of course math tasks to use in my future teaching career. This class is my first online class I’ve taken in college. I thought that I would have been able to stay on top of my work but I was completely wrong.

    Because we don’t have a set time to meet in a class I forget to come to the website and check on tasks. I don’t know why but I kept forgetting to do the tasks, even when I wrote them down in my planner. There were times that I put this aside to do other work thinking I have plenty of time to get to it. This class as well as my other classes put me to the test as a student and teacher. I know as a teacher I’m going to have a lot of work on my hands and I can’t slack on my work. It’s unprofessional and unacceptable. I’m really taking this in as a lesson and learning from it.

    Finishing up lesson plans, creating homework, grading work, creating tests and quizzes, and helping my students in any way possible will be my top priority as a teacher. I know it’s going to be tough but I will try my hardest to do so. I am also going to use everything that I learned in this course in my class. I wish when I was in elementary school I was able to have these resources to help understand math better and to experience a different type of class.

  • Carolyn   April 22, 2012, 4:53 p.m.


    1. What have you learned about yourself in relation to this course's tasks?

    I have learned so much about math in this course that I never even knew exsisted and probably never would have. I learned about simple things such as blogs and the real power and creativity behind them. They are so useful, but do take some time to comb through and see which ones worth using and which are not. The idea that Twitter is more than just 140 characters of updates on people's lives is new to me. I have learned about Twitter in a number of my other courses this semester and found that it is beneficial in leading you to different sites and what not. I have also learned some new conepts about math such as math and art and that patterns in math are a debate. 

    1. Do you think this will apply to math tasks with your children or students?

    The amount of resources that I have gained from this course is going to be so beneficial. I am now aware of all of the online resources such as webinars and blogs but also of Twitter which I think could be used as a quick resource almost like google. I have learned that Twiiter can narrow your search of things such as #mathchat or even for differentiating and different disabilities #dyslexia and what not. Ont he other hand the webinars are something I think I will use to better my education in math and other things. I don't think I would use all of these resources with young students but definitely try some programs such as Scratch with older students. I think growing up in a technology age that they would pick it up easier and be able to do some amazing things with it. 

  • Carolyn Lesser   April 22, 2012, 3:59 p.m.


    I have learned many things about myself from this course. I think the main thing I learned is how much I actually use the computer to do work. It was my first online class and obviously you are going to be using internet for it but I never realized how much I depend on it. I really don’t know what I would do without it. It certainly makes life easier and is a great way to gain knowledge. I think that now that I know how helpful internet is I will definitely not feel intimidated to go straight to it when looking for lessons or fun games for my students.

    I also learned that it takes me a while to get accustomed time schedules. Since this was my first online class it was hard for me to make sure that I did all my work. It is easy to say “Oh I have all week to do this,” and put it on the back burner. However, when you get to Sunday night and have to do it all at once it gets difficult and sometimes it is easy to forget. As the semester went on I started doing my work at a more scheduled time. I didn’t want to rush through my work but do the best I can with it. I now know how to do with my time better which will definitely help in the classroom. It is so important to keep a schedule and stick to it or it is too easy to become disorganized and frazzled.

    One other thing I learned is that I don’t dislike math as much I thought I did. I never thought it could be fun and that it was impossible for me to really understand it.  I see now that it isn’t that bad. There are so many different aspects of math that I can find something that I enjoy. I realized how important it is and that we use math all the time and without it we would really struggle. I know how to make math fun and this will be great for my students. I can hopefully make them more excited and engaged in math. I know after this class I am definitely more engaged in math! 

  • Laura Haeberle   April 16, 2012, 4:34 p.m.

    Maria, that sounds like a great project! Kids can create such amazing designs, without even needing to be fully knowledgable about the math used. I come from a viewpoint that children learn while playing, and this concept should apply to math! Playing around with math concepts can lead to fantastic creations from kids of any age. 

    Actually, that's one thing I learned in this course! In my future classroom,I would love to integrate art into the curriculum. I believe that self-expression can really help a child become familiar with basic concepts. Even in my literacy course, we've learned that children should have the opportunity to play around with letters before they even begin writing. These could involve collages of words and letters, letter stamps, etc. used to create art. In math, one could use stencils or shapes or tracing objects of certain shapes and sizes. Or, children could use computer functions and programs to investigate the way that numbers act. There is so much potential and inspiring math and art that my classroom would benefit from. This class showed me that I have an artistic side that I could take advantage of.
    I've also learned that I benefit from collaboration, and have a beginning set of skills to use in the teaching profession. I enjoy interacting with fellow teachers, and have an interesting perspective. Like Sandra, I was intimidated at first that so many of the participants in this course were experts in math and hosting entire websites and blogs. They all seemed so advanced! Yet, there's no shame in admitting what you don't know and learning from those who do. Plus, I was able to hold my own in most math-based conversations. 
    Lastly, I recognized part of my work style through this course. This was my first online course, so I was nervous to begin. However, it wasn't difficult to keep up, and the online format let me manage my time more constructively. I greatly benefit from scheduling my own time, so that I can make sure to devote enough time to everything. Rather than a regular course with specific meet times, I worked on my own time, and didn't need to stress out days that were already busy. I'm good with time management overall, but I do need some work with deadlines! Constant reminders are a big help, and I can do that for myself when using post-it notes or calendar reminders as a teacher.
    I will use all of this as a teacher. My teaching style is a combination between all parts of my own personality and my "teacher-side." I plan to make art one of the focuses in my class, along with math. Math is, obviously, everywhere, and I want my students to be picking out examples and constantly questioning their environment. I can also use collaboration, both as PLNs and the teachers I work with in schools. It's always helpful to get a new perspective and learn from nearby, willing resources. Moreover, I have my own info to teach others, and a unique set of advice for other teacher collaborators. I'm still learning who I am as a teacher, but I know that working on time will be critical. This semester, I've been good with managing my time for the most part. Yet, I still need a boost every now and then, and I need to know that about myself as a learner! This course helped open my eyes to who I will become as a teacher. 
  • SandyG   April 16, 2012, 1:37 p.m.

    What have you learned about yourself in relation to this course's tasks?

    I learned a lot about myself from this class.  I was very intimidated by the introductions of some of our classmates.  The backgrounds and credentials of some were very impressive, and coming at this from outside of the math field made me apprehensive; however, I learned that whether you are an English teacher or a math teacher, all educators have the same goal:  educating students.  So, even though I may not have had much to add to the math concept discussions on Twitter, I could add my perspectives as an educator.  This taught me that, despite being in another department, networking could be really beneficial with everyone in a school. 

    I also learned that I need to not be so intimidated by math.  Perhaps it was the way my teacher’s presented math that built that fear into me, and this is a valuable lesson.  I know that many people are also afraid of their English teachers.  Reading and writing do not come naturally to everyone, and I would never want to have a life-long negative impact on a student.  By crafting lessons in a fun and relevant way, students will learn despite themselves!

    I also learned that I enjoy using technology and am far more comfortable than I realized—even when it is a program that works with an intimidating subject.  When asked to create using Scratch, I never thought that I wouldn’t be able to do it.  I knew that if I played around, I would see similarities with other programs I know and would make my way through it.   


    Do you think this will apply to math tasks with your children or students?

    I think the idea that learning must be fun and open-ended will definitely be helpful with my students and my own children.  I think learning must be less of a chore, and this class have me some tools and ideas for ways to do that.