Saturday, October 26, 2013

The MTBoS has Amazing Resources

This week's challenge for the MTBoS is related to numerous resources created by math teachers out there. I've spent some time reviewing the ones that either intrigued me greatly or seemed likely to be relevant to my first grade classroom. 
I started with Dan Meyer's 101 questions site. I've been there before and it's a fun place to while away some time. Teachers post images or brief videos and anyone can respond with the first question that comes to mind. It's a way to crowd source ideas for engaging, puzzling math lessons. (In many ways, Dan is the godfather of the MTBoS.)
The next site I checked out was Visual Patterns, started by Fawn Nguyen. I had the pleasure of meeting Fawn at a conference in D.C. back in the spring (I think that's when it was). I greatly enjoyed the little bit of time I got to spend with her. She (like Dan) is another one of those brilliant, fun educators who lives completely across the country from me. Visual Patterns is fascinating. Teacher submit the first three steps in a visual pattern (shockingly enough) and you try to figure out the 43rd step. Very challenging.
Another site worth seeing is Mathagogy ( mix of mathematics and pedagogy). Again, teachers submit (this is quite an amazing community collaborating in all these ways) something to share. This time it's a two minute video showing how they teach something. I may give this a try soon focused on introducing fractions to first graders. I think the process of creating the video would help me reflect and process my thinking in ways that would be immensely helpful.
For sheer wonderfulness, I think my favorite site is One Good Thing. Here teachers share something good that happened in their school day. The tag line is "Every day may not be good, but there is one good thing in every day." Looking at days in that light can drastically change one's attitude (as I noticed last year when I was posting positive school moments on Facebook regularly).
The place I spent the most time was another one new to me, Math Mistakes. Like the others, this is a collaborative project. Teachers post student work samples and folks share their thoughts on the errors. The conversations about student thinking are fascinating. Here is one example that I enjoyed.
On the whole, I am immensely impressed with math teachers. Does this sort of community and collaboration around student learning and teaching exist around science or social studies or reading and writing? Could it (if it doesn't)?

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