Shifting Math Culture
Admittedly, I only attended this session because I was fangirling over @edcampOSjr stickers. Tech + hip-hop, what’s not to love?
After the session, I’m realizing that the entire school culture is developed for learners to dislike math and critical thinking. There aren’t many opportunities for students to get up, walk around, take a risk, and converse about math. The presenters went through the necessary introductory slides for a bit and when it came time to get up, take a risk, and discuss math—most of the attendees left! When I walked in, there was basically no room and I forced myself into an empty seat. After the exercise, there were seats available EVERYWHERE. I think that right there is why we allow learners to say that they’re not “math people.”
I went into the exercise with a specific math-phobic student in mind. I have never seen such a drastic shut down in a learner when it came time to talk about numbers. I stood up and went to the group that was closest to me. But then, they were really intimidating. Someone immediately said that they know the answer and then threw some equations up on the board. I left and went to find a less crowded area. At this board, there were 2 other people looking at the board and we were all pretty timid about getting started. Our timidness to start wasn’t because we didn’t want to–I was just reluctant to take a risk with strangers (I can’t speak for the other two).
It totally hit me–I’m a math/science teacher who was too shy to discuss math with other math/science professionals. I was able to get a glimpse of what my math-phobic student must feel like. I wonder to what magnitude the students in my classroom feel physically and emotionally when forced to discuss a math/physics problem.
It’s really important for teachers to do the math homework themselves.
What a concept! Why do teachers assign math homework without completing it themselves? I try to make sure that I complete the physics homework (so that the students can have an answer key and I can see any potential holes in the teaching).
Some awesome takeaways are:
- Have students do Number Talks (10 minutes)- It’s really tempting to take these conversations for more than 10 minutes, especially if it’s rich. However, it turns into a lesson. Keep it short.
- Sentence Frames for math- I recognized the importance of having sentence frames available, especially for those who are getting comfortable with the English language. However, it seems that I need to remember that math is a language that not all the students speak fluently.
Bringing Coding to Life With Raspberry Pi
This was mostly a repeat of what I did at East Bay Cue with @MsHaughs last month. It was fun to discuss with two other educators how we can use it in the classroom. One of my learning partners asked how to set it up in series, and then we took it further and tried to figure out some codes students can use to make the LEDs blink simultaneously or by itself. I really enjoyed that session mainly because of the rich conversation around planning that I was able to have.
I was interested in how another school was able to set up their school to be a STEM school. I figured I could transform that into the classroom as a makerspace. Then I realized it was their story of how they ended up using a product. It’s the end of the day, so I ended up leaving a bit early.