San Antonio, CA , April 2017
I have summarized each session with some simple (•) bulleted notes, red underline to encapsulate my major take-aways, and occasionally a brief italicized commentary.
Math Task Makeover with Desmos Activity Builder — Michael Fenton (Desmos), Jed Butler (Heritage HS), Bob Lochel (Hatboro-Horsham High School)
- The Big Take-Away = “Use Desmos activities to generate intellectual need to learn the lesson objective.”
- Generate need for Graph of a Linear Inequalities ….
- Generate need for Definition of Ellipses …
- Start with informal investigation, then move to formal language.
- Teacher facilitation is key.
- Where to Learn more: learn.desmos.com
I’ve got to starting using the overlay function!
Numberless Word Problems in the Elementary Grades — Brian Bushart & Regina Payne (Round Rock ISD)
- The Big Take-Away = “Have students make sense of word problems prior to computation by removing the numbers.”
- The origin: Press kids to stop just circling numbers in word problems and applying random operation.
- Not all day every day. It is a tool for sense making.
- Focus on the relationship and the operation, formal language, and what the question would be, not the answer.
This makes sense for secondary grades as well.
Rich Tasks as Landmarks for Students to Use in Navigating Their Mathematical Learning Journey — Peg Cagle (LAUSD)
- The Big Take-Away = “Students’ work on Landmark Tasks throughout the year that should be visible in the classroom so that students can map their learning.”
- We don’t take advantage enough of narrative in math class.
- “Imagine shrinking down an entire map to the size of an index card. All the details get lost and the map becomes unreadable. What are the landmarks that will help students navigate the mathematical landscape”.
- Peg presented the criteria for a Landmark Task …
- … and presented us with a LandmarkTask …
Tied Up in Knots: In your groups, measure the length, in centimeters, of the piece of rope that you have. Then tie a single overhand knot and remeasure the length. Repeat the process several times. Create a data table, graph and equation relating the number of knots to the the length of the rope.
- … then she analyzed the task according to the criteria …
- … and showed how this landmark was made visible in her classroom.
- The Speech Bubbles were created by the students to make comments on other groups’ work.
- This is the second year in a row at this conference that I have seen Peg give a year-long, big picture vision of using tasks in the classroom.
- This is also the third presenter who has mentioned some variation of the Speech Bubbles. Time to use them in my classroom.
- Peg made a statement that has me thinking deeply and that I have quoted several times already: “Students have ample amounts of robust evidence that they are not good in math.” We need to help them overcome that.
Changing Teacher Practices: Transforming Teaching 101 to PD 101 — Audrey Mendivil (San Diego County)
- The Big Take-Away = “Shift from Professional Development to Professional Learning.”
- 5 Principles of Effective PD
2. Support during implementation
3. Model new practices
4. Variety of approaches and active engagement
5. Specific to discipline/grade level
- Shift from Professional Development to Professional Learning
- How to Change:
1. Small Steps. Stick to only 2-3 short term goals.
2. Rethink Our Norms:
- Why PD often Fails: How can we set-up for success?
1) Top-Down Decisions: How can you include teachers in the decision making process?
2) Little or no support in transferring ideas to the classroom: What support is available?
3) Idea that teachers need to be fixed: How are you communicating your why?
4) Lack of variety in delivery modes: How can you differentiate for teachers?
- Essential Elements. Audrey took us through a terrific activity for those who create Professional Learning experiences. She gave a sets of cards that were color coded, and asked us to work together to sort them into 4-6 groups, and then name the groups.
She then shared how she grouped them (which is what the color scheme was for). The idea was to take ALL the things that we want teachers to know and do and rather than create a checklist for them, cluster these concepts into Themes or Essential Elements and have teachers learn that.
- This was yet another session at NCTM that focused on Vision and the need to put the WHY in front of teachers.
- The re-structuring of the norms resonated with me. I’m still thinking deeply on this one. The norms drive the culture of the meetings, so they offer great leverage.
- In her call to keep the list of goals short, Audrey discussed the need to set short-term, intermediate and long-term goals. This falls in line with the concept of “leading and lagging indicators.” Student data may take awhile to improve (lagging) so what are the improvements in teacher moves that we can credit to our PD (leading)?
- The objective of the card sort activity gets at the heart of what I see killing most PD in districts … too many short-lived initiatives. Keep the broader concepts in mind. Bigger, slower moving targets are easier to hit.
The Struggle is Real: Tasks, Academic Status, and Productive Problem Solving — Geoff Krall (New Tech Network)
- The Big Take-Away = “Developing a culture of productive struggle requires holistic vigilance on the relationships between Quality Tasks, Effective Facilitation & Academic Safety.“
- Protocols for Problem Solving
1) Make it visual
2) Estimate Before Solving
- Record what students know…
vs what they are assessed on.
- Promoting Access:
Example: Make the smallest (or largest) difference by filling in numbers 1-9 no more than one time each.
I am challenged by Geoff’s two graphs of the linear regression of student growth. My Claims-Based Grading needs a little more work in the area of reflecting cumulative knowledge rather than recent learning.
Logarithmic Earthquake Project: An Algebra 2 Project with Real Applications — Tanisha Fitzgerald-Williams & Beverly Heigre (Notre Dame High School)
- The Big Take-Away = “Have students view videos of earthquake damage and do their own research on Richter Scale, before formal presentation of calculating Magnitude difference with Logarithms.”
- Step 1: Research
- Step 2: Calculations
- Step 3: Student Groups make Presentations
- Note: Tanisha & Beverly also have students offer possible humane response to victims of earthquake presented.
- There is a google drive folder available that contains materials for this projects: goo.gl/Y197YR
Clothesline: The Master Number Sense Maker — Chris Shore (Me)
- The Big Take-Away = “Number sense and conceptual understanding of current content can be taught simultaneously with Clothesline Math.”
- I presented the power of the Clothesline to teach Algebra, Geometry and Statistics.
There were at least 5 sessions at NCTM Annual in which the Clothesline was a part or the focus of the presentation.
Fun Sidenote: The ceiling rafters and the carpet print of the convention center had the same Geometric Pattern. I am sure there is lesson to be created out of this.
There are videos of keynotes, ShadowCon and Ignite
at NCTM’s Conference 2017 web page.
The city of San Antonio enhanced an already fantastic trip!