Teaching Patterns in Math
Firstly, I had no idea there was such a controversy about this! I never realized that teachers would be against teaching patterns in math. Granted, patterns and math are very closely intertwined, and I can see why some teachers believe that it doesn't translate to real life. But, math is everywhere, and patterns are a core aspect of math. In my own classroom, I want my students to naturally recognize the patterns of the world around them. I want them to embrace the Fibonnacci sequence with every pine cone they pick up! I want patterns to matter in their worlds, because I know that the simply discovery and critical thinking helps their math skills and their observation skills.
Using Online Resources
I never would have imagined how many teacher resources are available online! I always assumed there would be lesson plans and maybe articles, but there are multiple live, thinking communities of math teachers out there! This group on P2PU is one such example. When math teachers and experts get together, the results are fantastic. Interacting with some of the math professionals over this semester has made me think critically about various topics, and gave me a taste of online networking. Now, if I'm struggling with teaching a concept in math, I know there are supportive communities online! These same communities will let me know when new, important things are happening in the math world.
Open Education Week really changed my opinion on OERs. Attending webinars was quite beneficial, as I was able to hear a real perspective on the topic of available resources. As a student, I was appalled that the textbook companies made so much money selling material that deserves to be free. As a teacher, I was intrigued by the idea of opening these resources, allowing both students and teachers the opportunity to learn without having monetary limits. It's a shame that the textbook companies have such control over these areas, and that resources are difficult to obtain because of the troublesome middleman.
Connecting Math and Art
I am also very interested in the connections between math and art. I knew that there were similarities, but I learned how to make the best of both together. In math, art provides a visual representation of topics, and really reinforces learning. It supplements mathematical concepts and brings information into a more digestible format. In art, math can be used for control and standards. There are many programs that allow students to play around with math concepts online, and test how changing limits and numbers affects what is created. There are so many areas of math and art that intertwine perfectly, and I can definitely use this knowledge to create some engaging lesson plans!
Math is FUN
Okay, so growing up I was never the biggest fan of math. I always considered it to be my most challenging subject, and doing it seemed like a daunting task. Through this course, I've learned some secrets to making math even more enjoyable! It all comes down to providing choices for learning a concept (board game? visual representation? neumonic device?), making the lesson engaging, and displaying the connections to real life. If children have a stake in their learning, they will be inspired to achieve. Children can't think of math as a hard subject or a boring subject, or learning will become a chore. Maybe I can even get my kids to learn math without realizing it!