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Week 6 Live networking (February 20-26)

February 21 meeting: Carolyn and Laura Haeberle

This week, my goal is to have live chats with as many class participants as possible. Live communication is different from forum and email. People feel closer when they talk live.

Especially when starting in a new profession, it's crucial to network with colleagues LIVE - by voice if possible, or at least by text chat. Invitations to jobs, projects, collaborations, grants and the like are very heavily influenced by whether the person making the decision has heard your voice! This is one reason live conferences aren't becoming obsolete.

You can choose these scheduled events, OR make an appointment with me for a brief chat at another time during this week. I highly recommend John Mason's event on Wednesday. John is one of my math ed (or "maths" since he's from UK!) heroes, because of respectful, deep and meaningful professional development work he is doing in teacher communities and describing in excellent books. The topic of the event is multiplication, a key area of elementary mathematics.

Monday 20th 3:30pm or  Thursday 23rd 8pm ET Twitter #mathchat Need to be on Twitter to participate. How to do it:  

Wednesday 22nd 2pm ET Math Future event with John Mason, "Elastic Multiplication"

Again, reflections about meetings will go into this P2PU task comments.

Task Discussion

  • Keisha   May 1, 2012, 4:03 p.m.

    I listened to Maria’s recording.

    Just like Carolyn and Laura I had an idea of what I wanted to do with my scratch but it was hard to actually make it happen. I wish there was a ‘Getting Started’ manual that walk you through how to use scratch when you first download it. Carolyn mentioned the language of scratch and I thought I was the only one that didn’t fully understand the language of scratch at first. I wish the actions were simply worded. Technology is extremely important for teaching. So much is happening on computers and games that can help teach kids math. I find it really impressive that Maria and Laura design games. The end result must feel amazing! Seeing kids learn so much from a game you created. Sounds like something that I would enjoy since I love to play them.  I’m finding it very popular for teachers to get involve in kid centered activities.

  • Kathy Cianciola   Feb. 24, 2012, 9:52 a.m.

    Yesterday I took part in Twitter's #mathchat.  I generally like chatroom formats, however this was a very fast moving forum.  I found it rather difficult keeping up with the conversation because when talking about subjects such as math, I need time to think and reflect.  That said, I do think Twitter Chats are a great resource, and I plan on exploriing other discussions done in this format. 

    The conversation revolved around encorporating games with mathematics, and everyone had a different take on the subject.  Some participants felt that math games were the way to go in the classroom, and others did not.  Several said they would like to utilize math games more in the classroom, but they felt restricted by the school curriculum. 

    Participants discussed activities they have found to be both fun and effective in the classroom.  They also talked about structuring assignments.  When Maria expressed that she felt it was important to allow flexibility regarding assignments, someone replied saying that he has to be careful not to be too flexible. 

    Although the participants had differing opinions, it was quite obvious that they were all very serious about mathematics, and sincere in their desire to be effective in the classroom.  I believe whether through play, experimentation, games, charts, or question-and-answer, the most important aspect of teaching, is the underlying desire to impart knowledge successfully.

  • SandyG   Feb. 23, 2012, 9:05 p.m.

    This evening I joined the Twitter talk about math and games though I'm not sure anyone realized it was me as my Twitter name shows as A_LMom.  I was a bit nervous as I'm not a math person and have never participated in this kind of forum.  I found it very interesting that everyone was not overwhelmingly in favor of using games. I expressed to Maria that I think games can bring a lot of pressure to students who don't enjoy that type of activity.  She suggested non-competitive play such as Daddy, Mary and I played house this afternoon.  She asked who the winner is.  I replied that if "I" wanted to be the mommy and someone else got to be mommy, then that person would be the winner (at least in the eyes of "I"). 

    While I do think games can be a great teaching tool, and for many (maybe the majority?) games might be a nice break, I think it is equally important to consider those students who may be very put off by games.  I also think it's important to take the competition out of the game as much as possible. 

    There were some interesting chats going on and some great links thrown out for different math games.  I hope some get posted here on P2PU so we can explore some of them... Did someone say Zombies vs. Humans?

  • Carolyn Lesser   Feb. 23, 2012, 4:26 p.m.


    I went to the webinar on Wednesday with John Mason. It was hard for me to really get involved with the conversation just because most of the people had a much a higher level of math understanding. It was also my first webinar so it was a little intimidating but very interesting! Everyone was very nice and welcoming. The beginning of the webinar was full of questions which were interesting. After this John started his chat about using an elastic to help measure things. Unfortunately I did not know I needed a band so I was unable to do it myself but John was on Webcam so I got a visual. The elastic had 5 marks on it. Two were on the end and there were was one green in the middle and two red were each 1/3 from each end. We started out by stretching the band to see what would happen and each mark stays in the same relative position but become thicker. Basically we went through to see the different changes and learned through discovery.  We eventually used the elastic to actually use multiplication. An important point John said that stuck out to me was to imagine as much as possible before you actually do the physical work. I thought this was great idea and I can see how this it would be helpful! Overall it was a great and fun activity that would be wonderful for kids. I wish I would have better understood but I think the more webinars I go to and start to participate more the easier it will come to me.

  • Carolyn   Feb. 23, 2012, 3:30 p.m.

    On Tuesday Laura and I had a meeting with Maria and focused on some issues we were having with scratch and other games in math. From simply watching Maria play with scratch I learned more than I did reading help sites and watching tutorials. I thought it was interesting how the different ways people learn and as a person that most of the time needs a visual, hearing and to actual do a task, I finally started to get scratch, a little bit. We aslo talked about games in the classroom and I found that my idea of games was different than Maria and Lauras. When I think of games I think of anything that has a winner and is hands on in the classroom. However I learned that Maria designs games for the classroom that are more computer based, something I never go into as a kid. I never considered myself a "gamer" and couldn't find my way around a gaming system or computer game if I tried, but seeing as this is the way our educational system is most likely going I should probably start to learn. I think scratch is a great introduction to different "games" and technology out there and am excited to learn more. 

  • SandyG   Feb. 21, 2012, 7:06 p.m.

    Do you have any other times when you can meet?  I would be available tomorrow evening after 6 or Thursday after 8.  I would do the MathChat on Twitter, but I'm not sure I would have anything to add to the discussion!

  • Laura Haeberle   Feb. 21, 2012, 6:10 p.m.

    Earlier today, I had a live meeting with Carolyn and Maria. We mostly discussed some of the difficulties we had with the Scratch task from last week, and what we believed may have been more helpful in the process. Ultimately, we talked about game design, and how beneficial it is to have some sort of background in technology. This semester, I'm actually in a course on Instructional Technology, and my professors always emphasize the importance of being up to date. Originally, I thought this meant understanding the technology in society, and being able to ultilize it in my classroom. Yet, I'm realizing that I have the capability to take on a much more active role. Rather than just understanding how graphics and games work, I could do more research and tweaking to make the material even more appropriate for my class. After our chat today, I feel more comfortable about the concept of designing, and I'm hoping that this week's Scracth task will go even better!