Alert!

Hello, reader! If you intend to post a link to this blog on Twitter, be aware that for utterly mysterious reasons, Twitter thinks this blog is spam, and will prevent you from linking to it. Here's a workaround: change the .com in the address to .ca. I call it the "Maple Leaf Loophole." And thanks for sharing!

Friday, June 19, 2015

Friday Favorites 2

Hey there! Two Fridays in a row! Whaddup! Here are some things that got my attention in a good way this week:

Geoff Krall's Minimal Conditions

Geoff Krall (of PBL Curriculum Map fame) gives an excellent wide-angle view of practices school staff should engage in when they get serious about improving instruction. My favorite thing about this is it seems so do-able. There are things small groups of teachers can start doing with the PD time that's in their control, or if that time isn't yet in their control, suggests some concrete practices to start advocating for.

Allison Krasnow's Virtual Patty Paper


Allison rediscovered a great patty paper book by Michael Serra, and noticed that all of the activities could be recreated on Geogebra. I love this! It demonstrates that ways for students to tinker with ideas -- the important part -- is somewhat independent of choice of technology. Use the patty paper, create a Geogebra version, use both, or give students a choice.

What Collaborating Looks Like

Many of us know that we should be collaborating with building colleagues on the nuts and bolts of planning and instruction, but if you've never done this before, it can be hard to imagine what it looks like. This video series (a collaboration between Teaching Channel, Illustrative Mathematics, and Smarter Balanced) is a really excellent resource including teachers working in elementary, middle, and high school math before, during, and after instruction.

Jackie Ballarini's School's Starting Page

Hey, if you haven't put all the stuff your new teachers need to know in one place, like this, you should! This page was shared during a conversation initiated by Rachel about supporting new teachers, and everybody drooled over it.

Jonathan Claydon is Not Leaving

I really enjoyed reading Jonathan's piece about why he intends to remain a classroom teacher. In this environment it's contrary to so many other articles coming out about folks throwing in the towel, and I think Jonathan shares important sentiments that usually go unarticulated, or at least don't go viral. But should.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Surprises in Scatter Plots

On Derby Day, in my living room:

"Do you think horse races have gotten faster over time, like people races?"

"We can find out!"

Heads to wikipedia. Does some fancy footwork in drive to convert units of time from M:SS.SS to seconds. Heads to plot.ly.


"Whoa, something weird happened in 1896."

"Is that when they figured out jockeys should be tiny?"

"Oh, look, they made the track shorter."

"Oohhhhhh."

"Let's only look at times since 1896."


"So, yes, but it's leveling off?"

"Looks that way."

"Huh."

This data could be fun to build out for an activity to get kids using whatever scatterplot-creating tools you want them to use. It's also nice for interpreting plots -- it smacks you in the face that something changed in 1896, and there's a quick and satisfying explanation. Enjoy!

Friday, June 12, 2015

Favorites Fridays 1

Hi! Welcome to Favorites Fridays. Instead of just sharing or retweeting on Twitter, which is ephemeral and misses lots of people, I'm going to start collecting my favorite stuff from the mathematical educational Internet from the week here. I've never been one for regular publishing or weekly series-es, but we're going to give this a try. (This may be a dumb time to start this because I'm heading off on vacation next week and I promised my boi-freeeen I'd give Twitter a rest, so I'll skip a week soon but anyway.) I hope you find it useful, but this is also for my personal archival use too. Here goes!

Dandersod's Calculus Projects

Dan Anderson (@dandersod) (does anyone else just think of him in their head as "dandersod?") set a project for his calculus kids, live-tweeted it, and published their reports. You might have mixed emotions about the phrase "calculus projects," but I found these to be super fun, interesting, entertaining reading.

Lani's Memo

This memo focuses on research-based ideas on how to support common planning time so that it has the greatest potential for teacher learning about ambitious mathematics teaching. To that end, we provide a framework for effective conversations about mathematics teaching and learning. We develop the framework by using vignettes that show examples of stronger and weaker teacher collaboration.
"Sometimes, you ask and the internet answers." Lani Horn came through with what Julie, and many teachers are looking for: nuts and bolts direction for teachers hungry for useful professional conversations. We're tired of wasting collaboration time and "PLC time" (a now-meaningless name if there ever was one) on aimless, unhelpful activities that don't have an impact on our practice, and we know there's a better way. This post is going to be a huge help. Bonus: a summary on research about using student performance data.

Tracy Zager's ShadowCon Talk


It will blow your doors off. Tracy is dazzling. Just go watch it. Best use of word clouds in history.

Mike's How to Build a PBL Culture

Mike's PBL is Project Based, but I think this fab collection of activities and recommendations for kicking off a school year would work just as nicely if your PBL is Problem Based.

And that's a wrap! Somebody hold me accountable for doing this next Friday!