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Thursday, October 27, 2016

Math Forward

The math program parameters have been set:
  • Follow the established scope and sequence
  • Use the paper/pencil assessments (no computer assessments yet)
  • Complete the assessment chart
  • Share data with the team
  • Send all ideas for change through the math coach
  • Do not make any changes to assessments without approval by the coach
  • Make sure students are using the prioritized math tech several times a week
It's my job to work within those parameters. How will I best do that?

As I conclude Unit One, I plan to do the following:
  • Review the unit in light of the standards and make notes about where the unit does not match current standards.
  • Give the assessment, chart all the results as directed.
Then I'll read through unit two and look over the standards. Again, I will send the math coach notes about where the unit does not match the standards and wait for the coach's response before making any changes.

I wish that we could move the math in the following direction, a direction, in part, celebrated in a recent school committee meeting related to middle school math work:
  • More dynamic project/research based math learning opportunities, the kind of growth mindset and  "floor to ceiling" student-centered learning that Boaler discusses in her research.
  • Use of a more broad and playful menu of math apps and programs--the kind that students want to use beyond the school day, and the kind that foster a love and appreciation for mathematics.
  • Inclusion of a computer programming thread where students are creating with computer programming.
  • Greater tech integration into the math program where students are constructing animated models, math presentations, and more.
  • Greater use of multi-modal math learning lessons and activities, not as much paper/pencil practice (yet I know we need some).
  • Vigorous, open share threads for math teachers to share ideas and help one another learn. 
  • Openness to teachers' experience and expertise and less of a need for a "one size fits all" teacher approach for math instruction. For example, I'd like to be able to teach the standards in ways that I've found successful and motivating over the years rather than one way constructed by others and used by all with no regard to years of experience, study, or credential.
  • Good, positive, respectful, and inspiring strategic process for collective math program growth and development.
  • The ability to collectively re-look at all parts of the math program with an honest, comprehensive, inclusive look at the data. 
  • Opportunities to take risks, try out new ideas, and embed new research and learning into the math teaching program.
This latest challenge will prompt me to look deeper at what I wish for and what is, and think about how the two may possibly come together. When challenge strikes, it's an opportunity to look for more and better ideas. 

In the meantime, I'll do as directed to the best of my ability. Onward.