Let them CREATE…

I had the privilege of presenting at school with my teacher bestie this week.  We were tasked with presenting some of the knowledge we gained from NCTIES with the rest of our staff.

We had both gone to so many amazing sessions and learned so many things that it was hard to narrow it down to one thing.  So we didn’t…really.

We decided to use several of the tools we had learned about and center them around a theme of creation.  One of our major takeaways from NCTIES was the idea that students should be using technology tools to CREATE things that show their learning.  Technology is often used as a tool to be learned FROM…which can be awesome…but it isn’t enough.

We started with a question…

Digital Playground (1)

This brilliant answer came from my partner in crime.  She’s amazing.  She won’t always admit it, but she is.

And, of course, you simply can’t say it better than Sylvia Duckworth can.  (She even tied in a fabulous quote from Sir Ken Robinson.  It doesn’t get better than that, folks.)

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We gave a quick and dirty rundown of a few tools that we use often (or have just started using, but want to do more with).

Being Seesaw ambassadors and being thoroughly in love with everything that it is and can do…we started there.  Then, we shared PicCollage, ChatterKid, Thinglink, green screens, and makerspaces.  We gave a quick description of what it is, shared links for more information, and then showed some examples of how we used the tool.  This, admittedly, was the boring part.

Then, it was…

Digital Playground (3)

This was the most important part…and the part that we didn’t allow enough time for.

We had asked our participants to bring a standard, a unit, or a topic that they would be teaching in the next quarter.  We asked them to consider what a student could create using these tools that would show mastery.

And they played…

And it was glorious.

Digital Playground (2).jpg

I, of course, had to throw a little George at them.  Any opportunity, right?

It’s important that kids are LEARNING and making sense of their learning.  That is the most important thing.  How they show what they’ve learned should be (at least somewhat) up to them, because they are the ones doing it.  If you want to work on personalizing learning, this could be a good place to start.  By making how they demonstrate what they’ve learned personal, then we are getting there.

So… What are you afraid of?  What worries you about this?  If this is how you roll, what are your favorite success stories? What are the most creative ways you have used the tools above?  What tools do you love that I’m missing out on?

I’d love to hear your thoughts.

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Getting out of their way…

Here’s the post that I set out to write last week, but then had to get in their way and so wrote about that instead.

After attending George’s (I’m sticking with his first name from here on out because if you don’t know who I’m talking about, then you don’t know me) Creating Blended Learning Environments session at NCTIES (which was somewhat awkward because he started by letting us know that he doesn’t think blended learning exists…it’s just called learning) and listening to him talk about putting the cognitive load back on the students instead of carrying it ourselves, I decided to change a few things.

I’m fairly student-centered as it is, to be honest.

However, I still do teacher-y things like spending hours searching for and curating resources to use with my students.  I spend lots of time looking for the perfect video or clip for whatever lesson that I’m teaching.  George told us to spin it around.

For example, instead of spending hours looking at 50 videos for the perfect one to teach probability, we should give that job to the students and ask them to justify their choice.  That way, those who aren’t already in the know watch the 50 videos on probability and have to reflect upon and reason out which one does the best job.  Brilliant.

I decided to start this in a small way with spelling.  As I sat down to plan the weekly spelling lessons, I was groaning in my head.  I realized that if I was already over the whole thing, the students weren’t going to be any more excited than I was.  So…  I decided to flip it around.

I taught each of my three spelling groups a five-ish minute lesson on the spelling pattern.  Then, they broke into groups and used this to plan and organize a spelling lesson that THEY were going to teach to other students.  They even had to come up with the word lists by identifying important words to know with that pattern and how many were a fair number to learn.

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They used our literacy workshop time to search out resources and craft their lesson.  Many found videos from YouTube.  Most created a Google Slides presentation.  Some created games using Flippity.  One group created a Google Site.

On the appointed day, each group presented to two other groups of students.  After the presentations, each student filled out a Google form reflecting on the experience and sharing some knowledge about their spelling pattern.

How’d it go?  Pretty well, I’d say.

In my opinion, they learned the spelling pattern just as well or better than had I designed a bunch of activities for them to complete.  They spent a bit longer on the creation of the products than I would’ve liked, but that was completely on them.  They love them some Google Slides.  Their products were beautiful, so I can’t argue too much.

According to them, 64% loved it and 36% said that how we learned spelling didn’t matter to them.  No one said that they didn’t like it.

So…

Wins for my students:

  • They learned their spelling pattern.
  • They communicated their learning with others.
  • They taught someone else their spelling pattern.
  • They learned (or were at least exposed to) another spelling pattern.
  • They created something.

Wins for the teacher:

  • They learned their spelling pattern.
  • I spent minimal time planning.
  • I was available to help and coach when needed.

Will I do this again?  Yes.  And I will be moving in this direction with more instruction as well.

So often, handing the learning to the kids and getting out of their way is the best way for everyone to reach the goal.  I’m going to try and remember this the next time my teacher-y instincts try to take over.

Getting in their way…

I had intended this post to be about getting out of students’ way.

After a session with George Couros at NCTIES, I’ve rethought a few things about running my classroom.  In the last couple of years, I’ve reworked things to be more and more student-centered, but George pushed me to go even further.  This post was going to be all about what my students had done this week when I got out of their way.

And they did some amazing things!

However…

It became apparent as the week wore on that my kiddos did need me to get in their way for a few reasons.  We’ve gotten to that beautiful place in the year when we’re family.  Everyone knows each other so well…and knows just how to get under each other’s skin.  We love (and fight with) each other like family.  It’s lovely…and frustrating.  There were several instances where children who are bestest buddies actively worked to hurt each other.  There was bickering and fussing at every turn.  Little things were becoming big things simply by how they were being handled.

So we took a break from the student-directed learning for a day and had Friendly Friday.  I sent a Remind text to all the families on Thursday night that t-shirts with positive, friendly messages were encouraged as well as board games.

We spent the day reconnecting with each other and remembering all the things that make us awesome.  Each student spent time thinking of something that made every other student amazing.  We got some regular classroom business out of the way, and then they had time to play their games with each other.

It wasn’t a lot, but it was clear that they needed a little help to work through some bumpy patches.  I have a few things planned to keep the friendly momentum going.

Often, what students need is to be set free to do amazing things.  But sometimes, they need a little help.  By truly listening and paying attention, we can be who they need us to be.

Disrupting Myself – Week #3 #IMMOOC Reflection

This week’s #IMOOC conversation with Kaleb Rashad was amazing!

The part of the conversation that resonated with me most was Kaleb’s thoughts on disruption. Confession: I tend to focus on all that’s going on around me and the things I wish would be different. I do all this reading and learning and growing and then look for all the places where those things aren’t happening.

Not cool. I’m not in charge of anybody else. I’m in charge of me. I need to shift my focus onto myself (at all times) and be the best me that I can be. If I put my best out there, the best will find its way back. I want to do better. And so, I need to disrupt my own thinking to create some new patterns.

In in the spirit of innovation, I tried something new. I did a video reflection. It isn’t perfect. I wish I’d moved my little face box lower. I wish I’d thought a bit more about what I was going to say before I said it (this is an always goal…btw). But done is better than perfect. And so…

I’m hoping to disrupt myself into more focus on being my best and doing what’s best for kids.  It would be lovely if that impacts others, but if it doesn’t…  I won’t know.  I’ll be worrying about me, not them.

If you’re looking for a few ideas to disrupt your thinking, check these out…
Disrupt Yourself – 5 Ways to Become Your Own Agent of Disruption
12 Creative Triggers You Can Use to Disrupt Your Thinking

Lesson Learned: Push, but gently…

I learned a mom lesson today that I think I can apply to all children.

Well, that’s not exactly true. I proved correct an assumption that I’ve held for some time. It seemed to hold water, but today I put it to the test.

I spent this afternoon at the hospital attending a reception for NICU graduates. Backstory… My littlest (being true to her personality, we’ve now learned) decided that she didn’t believe in due dates and opted to come into the world six weeks early. She was fine, but teensy. So, we spent 16 days in the NICU learning about life on the outside and gaining a bit of weight. Hard, but good times…

Anywho… So here we were at this reception. There was face painting. And painting garden tiles for the courtyard in the NICU. And a steel drum band. And lots of food…including cake. And a photo booth where they matched your teensy-baby-in-the-NICU before photo with your current one. And LOTS of people.

Lesson #1 of the day: (And this is not the most important one…I’m getting there. Promise.) Apparently I’ve created myself in this little new person. I’ve suspected bits of this all along, but confirmed it today. My little one wanted NOTHING to do with this party. It was overwhelming for her. There were LOTS of new people and SO MANY things going on. New things. I am not a fan of new people and things and situations. I like my predictable little world and for things to be predictably boring. It seems my baby girl has the same inclinations.

We started by having some juice on the periphery and just watching. It was still a no go. She wanted to walk around. And by walk around, she meant around the hospital grounds decidedly away from the party. We spent quite a bit of time away from the reception. I prodded and encouraged and suggested. Nope. I thought about calling it a day. I mean, I get it. This sort of thing isn’t my bag either. Why should I force her to do something I wouldn’t force myself to? I didn’t give in yet, though. Something wouldn’t let me.

She finally agreed to go back to the party. We spent a bit more time on the periphery enjoying a snack (that we brought from home…not the adventurous party food). And then I made my move.

I took her over to the garden tile activity and asked which blue (her favorite color) she liked best. After she chose, I took matters into my own, put the paint on her hand and squished it onto the tile. She protested and fought me and wasn’t happy…until it was done. And then she was SO proud of herself. My little wallflower showed everyone within earshot what she’d done.

And then we went for the photo booth. Not so successful, but we did it. I’ll be interested to see the finished shots (they’ll be available next month), because I don’t think she pulled her face out of where it was buried in my shoulder.

And then we waited THIRTY MINUTES for face painting. First, that’s a long time to wait for a toddler. Second, she was so nervous and squeezed my hands the entire time. But she did it. AND WAS SO PROUD OF HERSELF.

The Lesson: Push. But gently.

I didn’t want my baby girl to give in to the shyness that I usually do. I usually wish I’d gone for it. While I don’t ever want to push a child too hard or in a direction that really isn’t helpful, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with expecting them to give it a try…once.

Our first instinct as parents (and teachers) is to protect. And that makes sense. They’re children. But that isn’t all they need from us. They need us to help them grow. Sometimes they need us to push them…gently. It’s hard to push our role of protector to the side. I struggled with it today. But they need us to. So that they can soar…or at least flap about a little bit to try out their wings.

Had she started screaming and been traumatized by the handprint, then we would’ve stopped. She’d tried (or I’d made her try…potato/potahto) and that would’ve been good enough. But as I suspected, she loved it. And so we went further.

One of the best things I brought back from Ron Clark Academy was a quote from their arts teacher, Susan Barnes. “They don’t know what their gifts are yet so we need to allow them the safe space to try them on for size.” So simple, yet magical.

We may need to push them gently to try something on for size. They may be afraid or a little shy. We need to be their confidence and ask them to try…just once.

You never know what can happen. But I bet it’ll probably be pretty great.

Week #1 & #2 #IMMOOC Reflection

It seems that I need to be part of a study group to actually post anything.  So…  I joined #IMMOOC!  And then it was the last week of the quarter before fall break and I didn’t post anything for Week #1.  And then this week I was home with a toddler and I’ve gotten behind in posting for Week #2.  I’m a mess.  I really want to be part of this, though.  It’s important.

I actually read The Innovator’s Mindset last winter.  It was phenomenal.  I felt like a bobble-head doll as I was reading it.  It spoke to my soul.  I think everyone single person who works with children should read it.  I really, really do.

This is my attempt to catch up a bit.  It’s lengthy and a bit boring for anyone other than me.  Apologies…

Week #1 – Introduction
This first week focused on the introduction of the book and the video/podcast discussion features Dave Burgess (in addition to the session leaders, George Couros and Katie Martin).  If you’re interested, check it out.

Week #1 Reflections
What do you see as the purpose of education?
Why might innovation be crucial in education?

I think the purpose of education is to unlock the potential of human beings and empower them to go out into the world and make it a better place.  Innovation in education is crucial because the world is always changing.  The world our students will live in will be different in ways we cannot even imagine today.  If I am not able to adapt and move forward in our world today, then I will not be able to help my students to do so.
“Change is an opportunity to do something amazing.”
How are you embracing change to spur  innovation in your own context?

I’m always looking for new ideas.  Being honest, I don’t know that all my ideas are always better.  Because I’m jumping on several bandwagons at once, I often don’t have a systematic and smooth process that works from start to finish.  My efforts can be disjointed, although well-intentioned.  I think that I’ve done well to encourage and engage my students by building relationships.  I need to do better with creating a seamless learning environment where students take charge of their own learning and seek challenge and growth.

Week #2 – Part 1
The second week focused on Part 1.  I listen to the podcasts while I’m running, and then I go back through the blog prompts and the millions of highlights in my book.

Week #2 Reflections
Review the “Critical Questions for Educators” in Chapter 2.  
My answers to the critical questions…
Would I want to be a learner in my own classroom?
Academically?  Sometimes.  There are times when there are exciting and engaging lessons going on, and others when what we are doing meets the standards, but is just ok.  Emotionally and socially?  Yes.  My strongest ability is nurturing relationships with my students.  I try to provide a place where they feel safe, loved, and appropriately challenged.  I think that I mostly accomplish this goal.

What is best for this student?
I tend to get caught up in a specific student or a few specific students and I don’t always scale this up for the whole classroom.  I’m getting better at allowing students to make their own choices, but need to get better at scaffolding them to that point.

What is this student’s passion?
I’m pretty good at this…  Through the relationship building I work so hard at, I typically understand my students pretty well.  I don’t always translate that to our academic content.  I focus more on how to engage students with our curriculum and make what we have to learn fun.  As I get stronger with our curriculum, I’d like to be able to bridge more of those connections.

What are some ways we can create a true learning community?
We work hard to establish growth mindset norms and build upon the notion that everyone has different needs and strengths.  We work hard to be sure that everyone has a voice and is valued.

How did this work for our students?
I seek my students’ feedback each quarter through surveys and often daily or weekly through class meetings.

Why are these important to understand those we serve in education?
It’s important to remember that as a teacher, my job is to serve others.  If I don’t understand my students’ needs, then I’m not able to help them move from where they are to where they want to go next.  If I don’t recognize the way the world is changing and that it will continue to change, then I’m not able to prepare my students to adapt and thrive.  It is my job to get my students ready to make a positive difference in the world.  If I am not aware of new and better ways to do things, then I am failing those I serve.

How do you embody the characteristics of an Innovator’s Mindset?
Empathetic – Yep.  I’m often seeking feedback from students as to how we can make our learning environment better.
Problem Finders/Solvers – I’m pretty good at encouraging them to be problem solvers, but not so much the problem finders.  I need to get better at that.
Risk Takers – I’m pretty much down for anything that I think will add to learning and engagement.  If it doesn’t work, I’m usually ok with it.
Networked – Twitter. Check.  Instagram.  Check.  I’m working on building my tribe in person too.  I’m still in the collecting and building phase.
Observant – Yes.  Too much…sometimes.  I’m so observant of what everyone else is doing, and then I try to jump into everything at the same time with both feet, and then fail.
Creators – This is a struggle.  I have lots of ideas, but they frequently take a back seat to the daily grind of classroom and family needs.  I feel like I need to streamline so many things so that I have the time to fit this in, but then that takes time too.  And the cycle continues…
Resilient – Yes.  I do let things tend to bother me for longer than I should, but I don’t let it get me down too much.  I need to do better at focusing on the positive.  I just finished reading Jake by Audrey Couloumbis.  My favorite thing about the story was the idea that you can always find one positive thing about someone and then you can reflect that positive thing back at them.  I need to do better at seeking the positive.
Reflective – So much yes.  I don’t always keep track of my reflections or act on them as I should, but I do take the time to think things through.

Wrapping It Up
This was all just a pretty straight-forward, trying to check the boxes, catch-up post.  I realize that it isn’t very inspirational at the moment.  I’ll do better next time.  I might also try and do a video reflection or something more creative.  (I’m currently working with a cut and black eye from a daddy-tickling-the-toddler-while-mommy-was-holding-said-toddler-too-close-to-her-face incident and would prefer for that to subside a bit before I stick my face all over Twitter.  Vanity…)

I’m off to check out some of the other blog posts and innovators out there.

Book Study – Mathematical Mindsets Chapter 9

This is it.  The final chapter.  {sigh}

Summary
This chapter ties together the entire book and gives strategies for implementing all of the big ideas within your math block/classroom.  I realize that this really isn’t a summary, but there’s just too much to talk about.  You have to go and read it.

My Big Takeaway
Although this is the final chapter of the book, this is only the beginning for me.  There is SO much that I want to learn more about and change about the way I teach math.  Instead of wrapping things up, this chapter has created so many more things I want to learn more about.

Three Important Quotes

This is so important.  Worksheets aren’t math.  Doing the same problem over and over isn’t math.  Math is a way of viewing the world.  Our math classrooms need to reflect that.

There was discussion of “Mathland”.  It’s the place students go when they enter their math classroom.  It’s a place where bizarre word problems involve a shocking amount of watermelons, apples, or some other kind of strange object.  It’s a place where the problems aren’t real life, but a very odd approximation of life that has been stretched into a neat and tidy formulaic word problem.  Our math work should absolutely include real-life problems and problem solving, but an overly contrived situation that meets our math standard criteria is not real-world.

Is there anything more powerful than this?  Our students MUST learn to struggle and learn to LOVE it.

Final Thoughts
I’m so glad that I’ve finished this book, but as I said before, I’ve only just begun.  I’d like to take the online class for educators that Jo Boaler offers.  I’d like to pick back through this book chapter by chapter.  I’d like to dig through the appendix page by page.  This will be a book that I return to again and again and again.  I know it.

Book Study – Mathematical Mindsets Chapter 8

We’re nearing the end of this life-changing book.  I’m excited and sad as I get closer and closer.  I’ve been waiting for this chapter since the beginning.

I’m all about all of the methods and thinking encouraged in the book, but how do you assess?  I’m not a fan of grades, but I have to give them.  How do I do so and stay true to what we know is best for kids?

Read on, friends…

Summary

Grades (letters and numbers) are bad for kids.  They encourage a fixed mindset as students see them as a definitive stance on who they are and what they know.  A grade is a final comment, not a formative one.

My Big Takeaway
I’ve struggled with giving grades over the past year or so.  I don’t think they measure what is important about a student, and I don’t think they reflect what a student truly knows and can do.
I usually give students second (or even third chances, if they need them) to correct and fix their work.  I began developing grading rubrics and checklists with students.  (They are so much harder on themselves and set much stricter expectations than teachers do!)   I ask students to reflect on their work and growth and take that into account.  I’ve started moving towards standards-based grading, especially in math.

I haven’t gone far enough, though.  I still write a number on student papers.  I’m going to stop doing that.  I’m going to write feedback on their papers, but keep the measurement portion to myself.  In the end, I do have to put a grade on the report card.  I don’t want it to be a surprise, though.  I’m going to ask them to reflect and communicate their own understanding of each standard and write my feedback alongside theirs.  That way they’ll know ahead of the report card if their grade reflects less than mastery.

Three Important Quotes

Right?  We all know this.  I think I might print this out poster-size and post it above my classroom door.  As I’ve said in previous posts, often what we do as teachers has to do with what is best for us.  It isn’t (and shouldn’t be) about us (or what’s easy)…it is (and should be) about what’s best for kids.  Every day.

In the end, though, they have to take that test, right?  I’m hoping that the items on the test will be a piece of cake after all of the well-crafted, open-ended tasks and meaningful feedback that they get.  But what if they’re not?  That’s hard.

Do I think real problem solving and mathematical understanding is more important than some multiple choice test?  Absolutely.  Do I think my students are more than a letter grade or a number?  Absolutely.  Am I judged by my test scores?  Absolutely.

I feel like it’s a total cop-out to say that test scores don’t matter and that I’m on the side of right.  What I’m hoping is that I get to teach math in this fabulous way AND my end-of-grade scores will be awesome.  Only time will tell.

So powerful.  That tiny (or big) number that we write on their paper can be so damaging.  Even if it’s a “good” one.  I don’t want to be the cause of any damage.  I’m going to work hard to change my practice.

Final Thoughts
Again, friends…  It’s all on us.  We have to do what’s best for kids.  It isn’t about what’s easy for us…it’s about what will help our students grow the most.  We have to find a way to do what’s best for kids within the confines of our school/district policies.  We have to.

What changes will you make?

Book Study – Mathematical Mindsets Chapter 7

Look at me!  Back on track!

I don’t have any more answers than I did in my last post, but my brain sure is churning.  I need to make some big changes to my math instruction, but I’m forcing myself to take baby steps.  I want to make real changes that will be sustainable.  This post is heavy on theory and light on practice because I’m still working through many of the ideas.

(Real talk… I had this entire section finished and then my toddler sat on my computer and it all went away.  I will admit that I didn’t put them same amount of thought and effort into this section the second time.  Apologies…  You’re welcome to take it up with my toddler.)

Summary
This chapter closely follows Chapter 6, by giving ideas for how to structure a heterogeneously grouped classroom.  By following the methods put forth by “complex instruction”, students are taught by incorporating multidimensionality, group roles, assigning competence, and shared student responsibility.

My Big Takeaway
My math class is mostly homogeneously grouped.  It isn’t my favorite, but it is what it is.  However, even within my group, there is a range of experience and achievement.

I’m digging further into complex instruction and looking for resources to help within the classroom.  I’ve found a couple, but most of what I’ve found is geared for older students.

So much of what I’m reading is being echoed in Malcolm Gladwell’s Outliers.  While we tend to think of success (or intelligence) as something that people are either born with or not, so much depends on environmental factors.  We tend to think of Steve Jobs and Bill Gates as remarkable talents that were simply born into their place as innovators.  They do have remarkable talent, but their family background and other life circumstances all worked together to put them on that path to success.

This book also pushes forward this theory.  I don’t want to leave one of my students behind.  They can all be successful with the right mix of experience and support.  I’m determined to make my classroom a place where everyone has the same opportunities for success.

Three Important Quotes

Oh my goodness.  Tracking and leveling are SO prevalent in my school system.  I have no idea how to take this on, but it is really important to me that we work towards moving away from this.

This is so powerful.  I know that I have frequently grouped my students and chosen their tasks for them.  I’m going to work to structure my math instruction so that all students can choose their level of challenge.  Why should I limit them?  It only makes sense that if we want to truly cultivate life-long learners who are motivate and driven, that we let them be responsible for their learning every day.

This runs so contrary to the strongest argument for continuing to level and track students.  Taking the shift off “fast math” and opening up the definition for math success will really help to shape classes into deep problem solving communities.

Final Thoughts
I think it’s important to realize that leveling and tracking students has everything to do with us, and not the students.  We group students to make our planning easier.  We couch it in reasoning that just isn’t true for students.  School (and more importantly, learning) need to be about what is best for kids.  Research CLEARLY shows that tracking students is NOT best for kids.  It’s time to think more creatively about what our students need.

I have SO MUCH more work to do.  I’m loving the way this book challenges me, but I’m still feeling a bit lost in how to implement these ideas practically in my classroom.  I understand them and I’m totally on board, it is just such a shift from how we’ve always done things.  I’ll keep looking for resources beyond this book to help.  When I find them, I’ll share them.

The next chapter is about assessment and grades…  I can’t wait!!

Book Study – Mathematical Mindsets Chapter 6

I’m super behind schedule on this one for a couple reasons…  I’ll explain in a moment.  But first, the fancy graphic…

aug-11-header_1_orig

First, the reasons for my tardiness…

#1 – Last week was brutal.  I had afterschool/evening commitments most days during the week.  It was just busy, busy, busy.

#2 – Many of the best practices listed in this chapter are not happening where I currently am…both in my school and in my classroom.  It’s hard to swallow that I’m not doing what’s best for kids sometimes, often because I just didn’t know any better until now or because I’m currently constrained to routines put into place before I got there.  It’s hard to confront and deal with the mindset and logistical changes that would have to happen to put the (inspiring, motivating, amazing) ideas in this book into practice.  At this moment, however, I’m only able to influence what happens within my little classroom.  I’m cooking up ideas to make a bigger impact though, just you wait.

So this was a tough chapter for me.  I had to deal with some stuff in my own mindset and face up to the fact that I’m not doing what’s best for kids.  I have to deal with what I’m going to do about it.  I don’t have answers at the moment and so it took me a while to figure out what I was going to write.

Since I still don’t have the answers, I’m going to leave you with a quick summary and then some pretty fantastic quotes to think about.  They’ve been rattling around in my head over the past week or so.  I’m just going to leave them here and you can let me know your thoughts.

Summary
This chapter states that the traditional ways of teaching math exclude SO MANY students because of the way it is taught…not because the content is too hard for them.  The chapter lays out ways to make math teaching and learning equitable for all students.  Spoiler alert: Grouping students by ability is NOT good for anyone…not even the high-achievers.  More on that in the next chapter as well…

And now…  Enjoy some powerful quotes…

ch6-1_orig

ch6-2-1_orig

Final Thoughts
Right?

It’s all about us, and what we do…or don’t.  The statements seem like such no-brainers, but then really look at your practice…  Are you segregating your math groups?  Do you provide different levels of activities for different groups?  Do you make choices about difficulty level for your students or do they choose for themselves?  Are you (unwittingly, unknowingly, unintentionally) giving negative messages to some of your students?  My answers were difficult to accept.  I’m still working on digging them out and accepting them.  I’m determined to do better, though.

Hard stuff…  I’d love to know your thoughts.