Saturday, October 27, 2018

Great Learning at ATMIM Conference

Today I attended and presented at the ATMIM Math Conference. It was very inspiring to be in the midst of math enthusiasts and educators.

I began the day with informal conversation with a couple of math educators about their current challenges, goals, and accomplishments. I was excited to learn about a practice used at some schools which is Teacher on Special Assignment (TOSA). The teacher I spoke to, Timothy Marum, has had a year to visit multiple schools, read, and research about how to elevate blended learning in math classes in the system. He was clearly excited about this opportunity, and later presented the tremendous learning he has done.

During the first session, I attended Jenifer Carline's presentation about blended learning at elementary school. With Jenifer's permission, I linked her presentation with my presentation so I could incorporate her many terrific ideas to my teaching program. Jenifer regularly uses IXL in her classroom, and I learned that's a platform our system is exploring as well.

I presented during the second session. My presentation which is linked above described many of the tech tools and efforts I use to teach math. At the start of the presentation, I asked the participants to share a few sentences about where they teach and what pedagogy they use that they are most excited about. I included their wonderful ideas and share in the at the end of my presentation so that I can dig deeper into that information later.

At the break out session during lunch, Jennifer Fairbanks discussed how to elevate relationships with students. She discussed saying hello, acknowledging birthdays by playing students' favorite songs during the walk-in time, making good luck rocks for students to put on their desks during tests and quizzes, and prior to tests she give students time without pencils to strategize, share, and think about the test or quiz ahead--this slowed students down and helped them to do a better job on tests. She made time for students to get to know one another too using Google slides. Students make their own slides as does the teacher to create a scrapbook about the class that helps students to get to know one another and create community.

ST Math was presented as well during the break out session. ST stands for spacial-temporal. It is a personalized learning platform that is looking for 75 new schools to add to their schools and are willing to provide the platform via grants for the next three years. Beverly just received this grant, and the well researched and regarded site is eager to attract schools and provide these grants.  This platform is particularly good for EL students since there it is primarily visual and there are few to no words. The program invites productive struggle which builds deep conceptual understanding of math as well as growth mindset and perseverance in math. Student data is also provided via this program.

Karen Campe discussed her use of "My Favorite Puzzles on Twitter" and invited us to follow her @karencampe and take a look at the many puzzles offered via the following Twitter addresses:
  • @YohakuPuzzle or
  • @Cshearer41 for geometry puzzles
  • @solvemymaths by Ed Southall
#MTBOS and #edchatri (8pm on Sundays) Twitter connections were recommended as well.

Many math teachers are using Google classroom and all the Google apps as well to streamline and improve instruction. We learned about a new math platform named Graspable Math and there is currently a research study related to this tool that involves a math game. I can't wait to look this over since I've been hungry to find good math resources for students in my class that love gaming. A strength in this program is to help students look at equations forward and backward rather than the typical left to right direction. Christine Heffernan from WPI, the individual who introduced my school system to Assistments introduced this too.

Timothy Marum @tmarum23, a tech integration specialist from Rhode Island, presented a thought provoking blended learning presentation that began with a great video about the future of work:

Tim is the individual I met earlier in the day who is a TOSA teacher so I was excited to hear about his research. Tim shared the popular quote, "If you always do what you've always done, you'll always get what you've always got." He noted that to change by 10% is a reasonable regular goal. He noted that the choices can be overwhelming, but begin with one, celebrate what you do, and then try more.

He spoke about the beliefs related to teaching mathematics beginning with how we use Google forms in math class. One teacher uses it once a week with the question, "I wish my teacher knew" and students complete that sentence which provides that teacher with great ways to respond to student needs in a quiet, personalized way. He also collected information about the room with Google forms and shared that data with us with Google Form metrics. Tim introduced the book Fish as well as productive and unproductive beliefs about teaching and learning mathematics:

He also reintroduced me to Dan Meyers' Table Talk work, work I would like to replicate more in my class. It was exciting to hear participants describe how they use this approach to engage students and deepen student learning. It was noted that it takes time to build that kind of culture with students. How we update tasks is important. We need to make the tasks more student-friendly while not reducing the rigor or deep learning available.

A big emphasis of the day was how we lead good learning with Mathematics Teaching Practices, which emphasized that we should let the students do the hard work. Let the students utilize the Standards of Mathematical Practice. Use student evidence, provoke their thinking, and make their work, ideas, strategies, and processes transparent and visible in the classroom.

Teachers should do this:
Students should do this:

So many great resources were shared such as The Right Question Institute, Kaplinski's work including the open middle, clothesline math,  My Favorite NO,  Go Formative, and,  Accountable Talk posters to help students with their math talk, Quizlet Live and shutter folds for math notebooks.

In the end, the entire day was a productive day which made me realize once again how important it is to attend professional learning efforts regularly to update your practice, find out what's going on in the greater teaching/learning community, share with colleagues, and challenge yourself to try something new and/or better. ATMNE's next conference is in December and then there will be another ATMIM conference in April. I recommend that Math teachers in New England join ATMIM/ATMNE to connect with a preK-higher ed community of math teachers and learners as one way to develop your practice into the future.