Friday, August 26, 2016

3 Impactful Blog Posts

Since I joined the #MTBoS about three years ago, I have grown more in my teaching than I had in the previous ten years.  Some of that growth came from attendance at conferences but most of the growth was the result of interacting with teachers from around the world on twitter and on blogs.  Here are three blog posts that have had a great impact.

Gems 54 - Algebra by Example

Jo Morgan posts regularly about great resources she find via twitter and elsewhere online.  I love error analysis and this particular posts introduced me to Algebra by Example.  Sometimes I use these problems as a warm-up, other times I use them at my collaborative station in my hybrid classroom.   I especially like the additional questions about the mistakes.  Sometimes kids need a place to get started and the questions do just that.  I hope that one day this resource will be expanded to include algebra 2 and geometry topics.

Graphing Stories

Dan Meyer wrote this post in 2007 and later collaborated with Buzz Math to create a dedicated website.  My students have historically struggled with distance vs time graphs and the like.  This resources is a great place to start.  Later, you can move onto verbal descriptions of events and working in reverse where you could give students a graph and have them create the story.  With current technology, you could even have kids create their own videos.

Nix the Tricks

I've always taken pride in focusing on understanding rather than tricks.  When I read this book, I realized that I still have some room for improvement.  Right now, I am working on eliminating "cross multiply"  and "cancel" from my vocabulary.  This is especially challenging because these are ideas that students learn before they reach me in algebra 2 or geometry.  For now, when I have a student say these words I ask "Do you mean multiply both sides by a common denominator to  eliminate the fractions?"  Then I demonstrate.  I'm playing dumb.  I know exactly what they mean, but I want to reinforce why it works.  Hopefully this will lessen the likelihood of students mixing up tricks and using them at the wrong time.

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