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Sunday, January 03, 2016

Mathematical Mindsets: Blended Professional Book Group

A few years ago, +Shira Leibowitz and +Kathy Perret , leaders of #edcoach, led a chat about John Hattie's book, Visible Learning for Teachers, Maximizing Impact on Learning  on Wednesday nights from 10pm to 11pm EST. This was a terrific opportunity for me to read a terrific book about what matters with regard to teaching well and to share that information with dedicated educators all over the world. I wrote many posts about this experience and what I learned still impacts my practice with strength today. I find myself going back to the posts often to revisit teaching goals and points regularly.

Now a few colleagues have expressed interest in joining me to read and discuss Jo Boaler's book, Mathematical Mindsets, a book which is well regarded by many who are interested in deepening and strengthening math education in schools. The educators interested so far have a variety of personal commitments so I think the best way to move forward with this book study is in a blended way with some online share and some real time share. This will be a good chance for all of us to experience blended learning too.

There are a number of steps needed to get the professional book group up and running. First, I contacted the administrator in charge of professional learning to see if the teachers involved could earn professional development points and possibly a salary increment credit for their time and effort. I'll see what he has to say. I'm also wondering if the system or perhaps our PTO who is very generous would support purchase of the book for the teachers interested.

I also want to find out specifically what we need to do to make this learning experience count for the new special education professional learning requirement for Massachusetts licensure. I believe we can make this work since part of our struggle with math education is the goal of making math learning meaningful and successful for our students with special education plans. They are often the students who have a difficult time learning along the expected lines of state standards and standardized tests. How might we make this better? Fortunately a couple of special educators are interested in this book study so they may be able to bring that lens and expertise to us.

The next step will be to use a Google form to survey educators about the format and timeline with regard to the book study. Then we'll move forward with the professional book study likely starting at the beginning of February.

I must say I'm delighted that the study has garnered support already and I hope a few more educators will join us. It will be great to learn with others in my building in this way. We've done it before and it was truly beneficial.

If you've led a professional book study in your education organization, please share any tips for success with us. Also, if you're possible interested in joining our study, it could be that we open up the online sessions for a broader group which would likely push our thinking and strengthen our learning in this regard. Perhaps even the author, Jo Boaler, would join us on Twitter for a share during the event. That would be terrific.

Note: Unfortunately there wasn't the interest in my work place for this blended book group, but as explained on this post, there will be a one-afternoon share in real time at my school and an evening #edchatma on 3/22 from 8pm-9pm related to the book.