Day -2: Collaborate, Context, Crankypants

Our district does a fair amount of collaborative work with mathematics, which is really cool. I still find that I’m meeting teachers I didn’t know and teachers who are new to the district. And much as I’m frequently a crankypants about “this wouldn’t work in my context”,  it’s really neat to see teachers in different contexts thinking their way through and around the same issues.

Anyway, we always start off district sessions by doing mathematics together. What do you notice? What do you wonder?2016-08-11 09.54.58

Also, professional development was held at a friend’s school, which I had never been to before. Here is a photo from the school:

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I asked if he went to Target every day. He said he did not. I am flabbergasted.

Day -8: The One With Squarelandia

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The District says they’ll have a training on CPM, a mathematics curriculum. Our district curriculum pulls from it and we talked about it in grad skool, so I’ve seen it. But I jump at the chance to hear from people who use it frequently and know it better than I do.

We basically spend the whole day doing mathematics. At one point, another participant remarks that our work (which I am explaining on the document camera because: mathematics teaching) looks like a flag, to which I can only respond: “Yes, for the country of Squarelandia.” To which my teammate, who drew the diagram says, “I’d totally live there.”

What do you notice? What do you wonder?The flag of Squarelandia

Day 149: The One With the Survey (and other stuff)

Curriculum partner was out Friday and we needed our kiddos to fill out a district survey on positive school culture. So, we spent the first part of class signing onto computers and filling out a computerized survey in English, Spanish or Chinese and the rest of class (25 minutes for students, 0 minutes for others) catching up on homework or doing other stuff.

Photo: The Other Stuff Day 149: SurveyIn retrospect, one thought we’ve had this year regarding homework is that it’s good to have it, but it’s also good to build time into the school day to do it. We have an afterschool tutoring program that quite a few kiddos take advantage of, but many of them have to work after school.

This is my long, roundabout way of saying that some kiddos (with a lot of prodding) caught up on homework that needed to be done. Others…doodled a lot.

Other things I observed:

  • lots of kiddos got caught up on questions, even in their home language. I wonder about some of the phrases they used (I had trouble understanding it, so it must not have been an Ecuadorian translator). I think some of the questions were unfamiliar to kiddos and helped push their thinking (I hope).
  • Kiddos did a strong job of not giving up, even though there were lots of questions with academic language.
  • It was also nice to be able to check in with students. I don’t know if it was because they needed less support with the surveys (or if I checked less frequently as I didn’t want to influence their answers), but it felt like I had more time to check in and have needed conversations with students – lots of kiddos needed time to talk to our Wellness center or just talk about their lives or needed more support and I felt like I was somehow able to give this in a way that I’m usually not able to (do to time and such)

New mini-unit starts Monday. Cross your fingers.