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# Week 10 Networking options (March 19-25)

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 this week. Grow your PLNs!

• I participated in Let's Play Math. I really enjoyed exploring the page. I spent more time exploring a link about place values. The author talks about why teaching place value is very important. Growing up I didn't like learning about place value but it does help a lot with solving math problems. The author also mentions that making sure our students understand the lesson is important. There's a video that shows what looks like a young girl understanding a lesson but later show that she fully didn't grasp it. I really like this page. There's lots of good information!

Let's Play Math · 536 like this
• photo by Chrissy Johnson1 via flickr Our decimal system of recording numbers is ingenious. Once learned, it is a simple, versatile, and efficient way of writing numbers. … But the system is not obvious nor easily learned. The use of place value is subtle, and mastering it is the single most challenging aspect of elementary school mathematics. Ironically, these challenges are largely invisible to untrained parents and teachers — place value is so...
Published: 2012-04-30 11:25:43 GMT
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• Keisha Louis
I never thought of place value as being very important but this switches my way of thinking. I now see that making sure students understand fully about place value will benefit them in working our math problems. The video of Cena was an eye... opener. I thought she was going to be able solve the block answers. It seemed like she knew the concept in the beginning. I guess that's why it's a good idea to go over lessons multiple times (in different forms) to ensure the students understand the lesson. I love the section called 'I love funny numbers'. I think that's a cool way to have fun solving math problems with kids because the numbers sound funny.See More
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• I "liked" lets play math on Facebook for this week's task. When given the choices of different forums to join I immediately went to this one because I am all about incorporating playing into anything, especially math. However, play is not what I gravitated to first on this page. I scrolled through a few post and found this article from The Huffington Post called Kahn Academy: Good Bad or Ugly? I had heard of Kahn Academy before but never really looked into it. Therefore I pulled up their site and did a little digging. The Academy seems to be a site that has instructional videos and lessons in what seems to be every subject. It was a bit overwhelming but seemed as if it could be beneficial.

The author of the article focused on a 60 Minute special on Kahn Academy and he disliked how the special made Kahn seem like a lone hero in changing the world of math education. Although I did not see the special his opinions were a little strong and mixed for me; later he said he was for the Academy because it works for him? His opinions made it seem that one person could not accomplish such a feat of changing the world of math education or anything for that matter. He said that all great things come from funded programs of many people, but where does it start? I find this ironic that I just saw the Lorax with my sister yesterday and the main lesson that Dr. Suess conveys is that one person can start a revolution, Ted planting that tree and standing up for Thneedville brought about great change. While I am not naive enough to believe that change can happen that instantaneously, I do believe it starts with an idea and a person. Yes it may need funding and other factors to get that idea in motion, but why can't we believe that one person can start something great?

The article also mentioned that instructional videos are not the best way to istruct but rather a tool to aide.

• Carolyn, I am glad you picked up this topic. This is exactly what our Personal Learning Networks are for - they alert us to interesting ideas. Khan Academy generated a lot of heated discussion in math ed circles, in the last year or so! It is also connected to play and games. Check out Khan's gamification system.

I think one person can make a lot of difference in his or her circles. We can make a lot of difference for our kids, our students, our colleagues. Do these strong changes in our "little worlds" start a big revolution? Some will, some will not. The changes are big and important anyway - for all the people involved!!! After all, each of us lives in these circles - in our own small worlds, in our little "habitats" such as families and classes and online groups.

Khan started by making videos for his nieces and nephews. I think it's an excellent strategy for changing the world - or our part of it. Find a few people for whom you can make a big difference, and help them, with great love. Then share under Creative Commons :-)

• Carolyn, I think you may have misunderstood Devlin's point slightly. He was arguing that the idea of a lone outsider who comes riding to the rescue is deeply embedded in our culture, but that it's not helpful in talking about education. The TV show drew on that mythology in presenting Khan, but the blogosphere also drew on that mythology in its attacks on Khan. Every blog post I read that was critical of Khan Academy basically boiled down to the argument, "He's not Shane."

You're right -- each of us can start something great. By doing our best to do what is right and to show love (even in teaching math), we start a small revolution in our own life and the lives of those around us, including our students. It's not as dramatic as a movie gun battle and the hero riding off into the sunset, but it surely will have ripples that keep spreading for years...

• It took me a bit more time to respond to this task because I joined the Living Math Forum group. It took a few days before I was approved as a member and able to post. I've never joined a group like this before (except perhaps this class) and I really like how recent everything was. The topics were current and relevant and I just jumped right in!

I started by replying to a post on whether or not arithmetic should be taught at younger ages.

http://groups.yahoo.com/group/LivingMathForum/message/24942

Here, a group member linked to an article about getting rid of math at a younger level, since there is little understanding of the applications at a young age. I argued that math is always necessary and relevant, and that we just need to alter the way we teach to reach students.

I also discussed math in art on a separate post.

http://groups.yahoo.com/group/LivingMathForum/message/24938

Here, someone had gone to a conference about using art in math in high school. The question was how art can be used in math in elemetary school. I was instantly reminded of our one week about the connections between math and art! I decided to post about what we brainstormed, focusing on patterns and shapes as a way of teaching math through art and vice versa. Overall, I'm excited to use this group as a way to connect about math.

• I just posted on "Let's Play Math"       www.facebook.com/letsplaymath

The activity is actually an idea I had posted previously on here, but with a new twist:

Since the weather here in the northeastern U.S. will soon be getting warmer, I'd like to suggest taking a walk with the kids, and putting our measuring and estimation skills to work. This activity is great for teachers, moms, dads, grandparents etc...I would suggest using cloth measuring tapes, (no yardsticks). Before you go out you could pass a work sheet naming (picturing) various objects. Have the kids estimate the lengths of these objects before you even go outside. Objects could include: a brick, a manhole cover, a mailbox, a park bench. Ask them how many inches they think each of these would be. While you're outside record your measurements. When you return back indoors, you could discuss your findings, and compare the lengths of the actual measurements to the estimated measurements. Is the length of the actual mail box longer than the length you estimated? If so, how much longer? This activity is engaging and kinesthetic, so the kids will be sure to love it.

• Sounds like fun, Kathy! I think I will measure some of my rapidly growing beans, peas and dill.

For the course's archives (when the timeline on FB moves), here is the direct link to Kathy's post: http://www.facebook.com/letsplaymath/posts/352107741495232

You can obtain direct links to posts from the timeline in a way that seems weird to me. You need to click on the date or time of the link:

• Thanks for showing us how to do this.  I had no idea!

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I wrote a few comments on the Facebook page math circles. It was really interesting and something I hadn’t really heard of before. From reading and commenting on this site I am thinking of finding or creating my own math circle. I am going to do more research on it because I am still not sure exactly how it works but the concept seems basic enough!

###### 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 investigation - 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.

Like ·  · March 11 at 3:33pm ·
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Math Circles I think MAKING "Spot it" would be a good activity. I know making "Set" cards from scratch is an excellent math circle task. Thanks for sharing the joy, Sue! Sounds like meaningful fun for kids and grown-ups!
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Sue VanHattum We just used numbers on the cards we were creating, to help us see pattern. But it might be fun to make a deck with pictures too.
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Caryn Brooks Coleman Sounds like fun!
• Carolyn Lesser I think this sounds like a blast! I agree making "Spot it" would be an even more fun and interactive activity. Did you guys ever figure out how they can make sure there is always a match? It is a very interesting question that I would not have thought of!
2 minutes ago · Like

###### Rodi wrote an amazing blog post about children as co-creators of math circles. I love the list her kids made. WOW!
talkingsticklearningcenter.org
• the honesty to say “I want to whisper the function in your ear because I need help with the math,” and quite plainly, “I have no idea.”
Like ·  ·  · March 11 at 11:47am ·
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• 2 people like this.
• Carolyn Lesser This was really cool! I don't really know much about math circles but this helped me to understand it a little better. I think this is something I would really like to be involved with. Are circles very common or for me to be part of one would I most likely have to create one myself?
3 minutes ago · Like
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• This evening I attended the #mathchat on Twitter.  The topic was “Where does numeracy end and mathematics begin?"  The discussion began with defining the difference between numeracy and mathematics.  Evan Weinberg‏ defined numeracy by saying that it “concerns the mechanics of performing mathematical operations. It's what most people say when asked to define "doing math”.  Others said that mathematics is the language; numeracy is the ability to read and write in that language (math literacy).

I have to admit that I didn’t have anything to add to this conversation and lurked the whole time.  It seemed that it was almost a battle of semantics.  Apparently this is a topic that is of some debate in the math world.  Our classmate Bon Cowder asked to change the topic to “Where does doing math work stop and studying and understanding math start?".  This topic I completely understand.  As a non-math person, I am able to do math, but understanding it is not always the case.  It is this very reason that I have always said that I’m not good at math though I was able to pass all the tests and classes.  To me, being “good” at math means understanding how or why I completed the problem the way I did.  There was a lot of talk comparing math/numeracy to literature /literacy.  I understand that comparison.  Simply because a person can articulate the proper phonetics, it does not make them literate.  However, the inevitable question arose:  Do students have to understand math or is it enough for them to just “get” it.

Personally, I think it’s both.  I don’t think students need to be able to verbally explain how or why they completed a math problem the way they did, but I do think it’s important that they have some sense of why they did it.  Sometimes it’s hard to verbalize things that we intuitively know.  What I think is important is for students to make connections between different types of problems and to be able to say “this is like that other problem so I can attack it in a similar way”.  I’m not sure if this is math or numeracy, but it’s what I would hope for if I were a math teacher.  It’s very similar to teaching spelling in that you hope to teach students word groups so they can make connections.  Not many people recite rules like I before E except after C and in special words like weigh and neigh, but if they can make connections and recognize patterns and similarities, they can usually get it right. Bon Cowder said, “But they (students) don't need the meaning of the math concepts to go on. They need the logic abilities they learn.”  I agree!