Week 1: Call to Action (Option 2)

01 Nov 2017 7:28 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

Identify one word in the mathematcians' word cloud on page 5 that isn't currently part of your math classroom and explain how you can incorporate it this year.


  • 02 Nov 2017 6:59 AM | Deleted user
    Joy is the word that stands out for me that is lacking throughout my whole class during math class. I have a group of students that disengage the minute the word math is mentioned. Using hands on activities, games, small group instruction, I have been trying to grab their interest and to at least open their minds to the fact that math can be fun. Hoping as I read through this book I will find a way to reach these students.

    I was wondering if it would be possible to have all the prompts posted with each chapter assignment on the home page. I prefer to know what I am going to be asked to respond to as I read each chapter and find it hard to read just one chapter at a time. If we had the questions posted for each assignment we could move at our own pace and not have to wait, then reread, to respond as prompts become available.
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    • 02 Nov 2017 7:53 AM | Anonymous member
      Last year, I read the text Learn Like a Pirate, and it was amazing to see how creating a more student led classroom helped students take on excitement, specifically joy, in learning. I began an intervention time that I called, Just Right Math, and by providing the students with choice and an opportunity to relearn or challenge themselves, I saw not only better assessment results, but also students looking forward to the math we did together after lunch.
      I'm excited to dive into this text a bit more, because it seemed like this will be FULL of ways to create learning environments that elicit positive reactions from students, specially around mathematics. I can't wait to get started!
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    • 02 Nov 2017 3:49 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)
      Great idea about posting the prompts, Marilyn. I've included a link on the Book Study main page, just before the weekly schedule. You'll notice that we haven't quite figured out the prompts for the final 3 chapters, but they're coming!

      Thanks for the suggestion!
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      • 03 Nov 2017 1:00 PM | Deleted user
        Thank you very much!
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  • 02 Nov 2017 6:53 PM | Anonymous member
    I'm going to focus on "magnificent".

    I'm going to find/develop a unit on fractals. There are great pictures out there, and they can make and build Sierpinski's triangle. We can then link it to Pascal's triangle and look for patterns. Pascal's triangle is also magnificent. Similarity just so happens to be a graduation standard for us, so I'll be expanding that unit as well. I just did a quick google search and there is a lot of stuff out there that I can incorporate. There are also some great applications of fractals, and I'm going to have to think about how I can get my students to research what they are.I hope to get them to start using the word "magnificent" by modeling it as well. This should be fun.

    I'm also going to start looking for resources to show why the Pythagorean theorem is also magnificent.
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    • 11 Nov 2017 8:13 AM | Anonymous member

      Nova has a great DVD on fractals. I have used it in the past with my 7th-graders to show them possible career options that involve math. It spans careers from graphic artists to fashion design to electronics to cardiology, as well as mathematics. It is worth watching.

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  • 02 Nov 2017 11:51 PM | Anonymous member
    I would choose "discovery". For myself and my colleagues, I hope to view math class as a place for discovery. For teachers, this means that we may discover better ways to convey math ideas to students. This also means providing experiences for the students which allow for play and discovery.
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  • 03 Nov 2017 7:55 AM | Anonymous member
    Explore: I would like to allow more time for exploring. Exploring is almost a scary word for me in regards to math because it is so open ended. I have never been the most comfortable with math and am the teacher that is happy to stay teaching in the lower end because "at least I can do the math!" Letting the kids explore means that I need to be on point and ready to explore with them without fear of not having an exact answer. Although I have become more comfortable with teaching math over the years, there is still a level of anxiety that can surface at times. I think some of this has to do with the demands placed on teachers and students to perform on tests. Also, I see that my students need time to explore and become comfortable with "not knowing" right away.
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  • 03 Nov 2017 10:58 AM | Anonymous member
    I would like to allow students more time to EXPLORE. It seems the we are so rushed trying to cover all the material we need to throughout the year, that there is little time left over to let students really explore math. For students to truly understand and dive deep into what math means, we must let them explore.
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  • 03 Nov 2017 1:03 PM | Anonymous member
    I realize that I am supposed to choose one word to implement in the math classroom, but I cannot separate my two choices: curiosity and persistence. The reason I can’t separate them is that they hinge on each other. If I can foster a student’s curiosity, they will persist in the problem solving end of the task. By using real world situations and promoting a student led discussions, a student’s natural curiosity will lead them down the messy road of problem solving and the mathematics that occurs within problem solving.
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  • 03 Nov 2017 3:42 PM | Anonymous member
    So difficult to choose just one word! Like many others, I see how so many of the words are connected. I think today I would choose explore (Discovery is my runner-up word... and it is so closely connected to 'explore'). I want my students to be given ample time to explore mathematical concepts because I believe this is the most natural way for them to learn. Unfortunately, this is sometimes challenging because of the way our school days (and years) are structured. But I will work hard to find ways to allow my students extended time to explore in deep and meaningful ways.
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  • 03 Nov 2017 5:29 PM | Anonymous member
    There's a tiny word almost lost above the "h" in math: "innovation." I am not at all convinced that we are innovative in my classes – and I am absolutely convinced that sometimes we are downright NOT innovative!

    I want to think about what this means, what it looks like, and what it COULD look like in my classes. What problems can we explore? Should the problems themselves be innovative, because I haven’t taught with them before and students haven’t seen them before? Or should our approaches be innovative? Dictionary.com says "innovative" just means "something new or different," and I want to focus my efforts of finding new problems or tasks, different from what we’ve done before, and tackling them in new and different ways as well.

    This year I am teaching a class that is essentially a survey course. We started with Polya’s problem solving methods, then went to set theory, then formal logic, and now we’re exploring graph theory and maps. I drew a giant, walkable, map of Konigsberg on my classroom floor and opened the unit asking students to see if they could walk across each bridge only once and get back to their original position. We played with this for quite a while – first in painful silence, as if waiting for me to just give the answer, then one at a time with walks and circles back and more walks… I let this take nearly half of our class period!

    Is writing on my floor particularly “innovative?” I don’t think so. But getting out of our seats and walking the problem before ever saying a word about the unit on graphs and networks was definitely something new and different, and I’m hoping I can continue to find things like this to keep the class feeling that surprise of “wait, THIS is math?! How on earth is this math?!”
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  • 04 Nov 2017 8:33 AM | Anonymous member
    Beauty is one word that lingered in my mind. How does beauty relate to math, and what does it look like. I wonder what it looks like or how it could be described in a math classroom. This is a challenging word,and I want to bring this element into my math culture, but how. I am not sure of the how. Is it in representations of problems, is it in the models, is in in the solutions(I think this is what my students would say). I suspect students could easily describe how math can be "ugly" or "messy". I hope to learn how to make math more beautiful.
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    • 11 Nov 2017 7:13 PM | Anonymous member
      I think messy is beautiful, sometimes. In math. In learning. Not in my living room or kitchen, though. Unless it's because we are learning something.
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    • 12 Nov 2017 10:32 PM | Anonymous member
      Thanks for the reminder. I will try to use the word, "Beautiful!" more often. Math in nature is beautiful example. :)
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  • 04 Nov 2017 9:27 AM | Anonymous member
    Imagination!!! This is the word that I want to incorporate into my math groups. To me math is very concrete. It’s numbers, patterns, shapes, rules, and steps to follow. I never thought of math as a subject that allows for imagination. What can you imagine? That is the question I am asking myself….We all know that a 3 is a three no matter how you write it, show it, or solve it. I can’t look at a number or a problem and imagine that it is something other than that. Therefore, how do I introduce imagination into my math groups? I need to start looking at math outside of the box of numbers, and memorization of steps, rules, and patterns. I need to explore the Imagination world of Math! Like the example in the book of the front of the restaurant is neat and orderly but the back is chaos. My math is like the front of the restaurant but I want to bring some Chaos to my room and allow students and myself to look at math with imagination.
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  • 04 Nov 2017 3:49 PM | Deleted user
    I am choosing the word game. We do play some games, but I feel it is not enough. There needs to be more hands on exploration in the classroom.
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  • 05 Nov 2017 8:07 AM | Anonymous member
    Hello! The word that popped out at me first from the mathematician wordle was "adventure!" I never thought of math - or learning as an adventure. I've gone on plenty of adventures but never thought of the classroom as a place to have one. Kind of like Zager's mother thinking she was not a mathematician! All in how you look at it! Go figure! When I think of how to incorporate this word into the classroom - it's to use it! Use it when we have our 'solve and discuss' and throughout the examples. It's all in how you present - I'll let you know how it goes - will my students think they are on adventure?
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  • 05 Nov 2017 1:31 PM | Anonymous member
    I hope to bring the word "absorbing" into my classroom this year. My students filled out a survey where one of the questions was if they ever had to take more than twenty minutes to solve a problem. They all answered no, and were horrified that a problem could take that long. Their response really made me think about the problems they see in math class. They are basic, procedural, have one single right answer.... I did my best to give them a different type of "problem" a few classes later. It took more than twenty minutes. I asked about the time it took, and the response from kids was that it felt like no time. They were amazed that it had been more than twenty minutes. They were absorbed in the solving of the problem. They were engaged in a different way. I want to do more of that this year.
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  • 05 Nov 2017 4:02 PM | Anonymous member
    There are so many wonderful words and so many wonderful ideas to think about in the mathematicians word cloud that all child should experience everyday in mathematics and school in general. It's hard to choose, but.....I think I'll go with the word "play". Play seems to incorporate many of the other words like, discover, joy, delight, invent, game and creative all rolled up into one. It's what young children need to do to gain a sense of their world, and sadly there seems to be less and less time for them to do so in school, even in the younger grades.
    Early on in the school year, my class participated in the Week of Inspirational Math. We did the paper folding activity, and after the initial "What do we do?" "How does this work?", they dived right in and made all kinds of discoveries. They worked together without assigned roles, they smiled, and shared their ideas and mistakes with me. It was a flurry of paper and excitement that was organic and playful. They all wanted to take home the shapes to share and challenge their parents. That doesn't typically happen with math practice worksheets.
    I think I'll try to add more "play" in it's purest sense, into my math instruction this year. Not exactly sure how......I'm curious and hoping to read what other teachers are up to.
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  • 05 Nov 2017 4:17 PM | Anonymous member
    One word that really resonates with me is passion. I have a passion for mathematics, but how do I develop passion of math in my middle school classroom? Often the emotional response I observe is boredom or frustration.

    I do have some students who are developing a passion of mathematics. They are risk-takers and problem solvers. They will argue with each other over the correctness of an answer, or about the correct method to solve a problem. What is different about these students? I wish I could bottle their enthusiasm and dispense it to others.

    How do I challenge these students, and instill creativity and risk taking with all students? One strategy that I have been trying is fostering a Growth Mindset. I have used Jo Boaler’s Week of Inspirational Math and have been exploring her articles and books. I have a lot of work to do to reach many of my students.

    My plan is to include more math labs that encourage multiple pathways to solve math problems. More work with growth mindset should encourage students to do their best thinking to become more successful and perhaps more passionate about mathematics.
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  • 05 Nov 2017 5:26 PM | Deleted user
    I have to pick two words for my classroom. They would be curiosity and persist. I have been working with the Jo Boaler week of Inspirational math for the last 3 years and students really enjoy the problems when we work on them. I use these problems at the beginning of the year and then as most of us start to work through curriculum and with that work I lose student curiosity and therefore their persistence to stick with challenging work. My goal this year is to keep them curious about math using activities that come from Jo Boaler and Dan Meyer throughout the year so they can keep their curiosity from fading!
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    • 08 Nov 2017 7:03 PM | Anonymous member

      Oh my gosh, you took the words right out of my mouth. This is my third year with WIM and I too began each of the past three years with Jo Boaler's work. I too agree that curiosity is lost as we delve into our school curriculum and I have been trying to incorporate more of the same as you. It's a work in progress. I teach 7th grade. What grade(s) do you teach?
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      • 10 Nov 2017 8:51 PM | Deleted user

        I teach 6th grade and it seems that they lose their curiosity here when the math gets hard. I want to work harder to ensure their curiosity stays even when the math is harder
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  • 05 Nov 2017 6:46 PM | Deleted user
    One word that stands out that does not appear often enough in my classes is passion. While I do get some students who are passionate about math, and indeed I have had students drop in after class to further discuss topics, most students see math as a means to an end (either as a required class for a high school diploma else a course that is a stepping-stone to a career in engineering, for example). I would like to find more of my students discovering their passion for mathematics. One way I could do this is by helping my students develop curiosity (another math word) and discover new and different ways of completing tasks, by tackling real-world problems, and by connecting the math students learn in the classroom to their own world outside the walls of the school.
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  • 05 Nov 2017 7:31 PM | Anonymous member
    Creative! I really like this word. I am not sure yet what creativity would look like in my math class. At times I feel very overwhelmed with how much there is to teach/learn/discover in order to get a large percentage of students to meet the standards, that I don't think I have ever given this word much thought. I would like to first, figure out what makes a math class creative and secondly, "create" while keeping our goals in mind and without taking away the rigor which is a big part of my classroom.

    Would creativity be building models, creating mosaics, or writing mathematical stories? I guess the possibilities could be endless. Maybe, creativity comes from each student and incorporating it depends on the teacher's ability to notice and acknowledge its presence. This is certainly a word that has peaked my interest, not just today, but over the past few months as well.
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  • 05 Nov 2017 7:43 PM | Anonymous member
    Discovery is missing in my math class. Too often kids just want to "get on with it" and can't be bothered with discovering a new idea. There is a resistance to completing a game or looking at patterns to find out something new that is connected to what is already known.

    I think one way I can incorporate more discovery is to stick with games and activities for kids to engage with. I think maybe I need to evaluate any activities I use and ask myself a few questions: Is the goal is clear? Is this engaging for the group of kids I have? Is there an additional activity that may be more relevant at this time for this group of kids? What is the follow-up if this activity does not work?
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  • 06 Nov 2017 10:52 AM | Anonymous member
    Explore: I don't give students enough time to just explore. With all that needs to be covered, exploring typically gets skipped even though I know it is important and would really allow students to think deeper about the concept. I am hoping to find ways to create more time for students to explore throughout the year!
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  • 06 Nov 2017 2:56 PM | Anonymous member
    My word is "explore." I have recently started Word Problem Wednesday. We need a lot more time to practice these. The students need to be taught the skills to break the problems down. They need to do one piece at a time, but need more time to explore to figure out the answer, and make sure in the end that it makes sense.
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  • 06 Nov 2017 4:13 PM | Anonymous member
    Passion would be the word that I do not feel that my students currently exhibit towards math. In the past when students heard that we were working on math they would say things like "Do we have to?" or "I don't like math." I have been trying to help my students to develop a passion for working with math concepts through implementing the use of math games, activities where they explore math concepts but not presented in worksheet form, and students are working cooperatively with their classmates. I have also been trying to create targeted activities within my classroom that work from where each child is in math to help differentiate my instruction and close the achievement gap. By moving away from the old way of teaching math I hope to shift my students feelings towards math to a passion for learning math concepts and taking risks as mathematicians.
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  • 06 Nov 2017 4:17 PM | Anonymous member
    The word I choose is persist. I am choosing this word because my students often give up before they even really try to solve the math problem. We are exploring different ways to solve a problem. We are using games to practice concepts they are having difficulty with. We always show all the ways that students have solved the problem especially if they say I didn't do it that way. We discuss if it their way worked to solve the problem, so all students are seeing multiple ways to solve the same problem.
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    • 07 Nov 2017 5:46 PM | Anonymous member

      I think it is so important that you are honoring different ways to solve problems-- that is crucial to making students more excited about math, I think! It will also make your students more flexible in solving problems as they progress through school. Thank you for sharing!
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  • 06 Nov 2017 4:17 PM | Anonymous member
    The word I choose that isn't part of my math class yet is explore. I want the students to take the time to explore different methods of solving problems and explore patterns, etc. However, I am constantly feeling rushed due to the pacing guide. This year, I am trying to give the students more time to explore during lessons and not worry about getting behind. It's not easy, as I am feeling the pressure to hurry up and get through the lessons. Knowing I am doing what is best for my students is what is keeping me going.
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  • 06 Nov 2017 5:02 PM | Anonymous member
    I am choosing the word “absorbing”. My classroom has a great deal of play, exploration, etc. but do I really let them absorb math concepts? Much of what we teach in Pre-K is exposure to math vocabulary and ideas. We move through our math curriculum at a good pace and are mindful of those students who need more support but is this enough? Do they need to spend more time marinating a math idea before moving on? I think I will be leaving math activities our for longer periods of time so that those students who want to spend more time with math games, puzzles and other activities can.
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  • 06 Nov 2017 6:17 PM | Deleted user
    The word I would choose is curiosity. Even though we have a math workshop in our program I don't feel my students have a real curiosity for math. They just go along with the lesson. I would love to foster curiosity and grow more meaningful math talks that the students drive not the curriculum and me.
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    • 08 Nov 2017 7:44 AM | Anonymous member
      I love how you described incorporating curiosity into your classroom where math talks are student driven instead of curriculum. Math becomes more meaningful for students when they learn from each other instead of just listening to us teach and going through the motions.
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    • 08 Nov 2017 6:40 PM | Anonymous member
      This brought a smile to my face. I wrote my response to the prompt before reading others. When I came upon yours I said yes, someone who thought like me. I too feel if students become curious then they will drive the discussion and be more engaged.
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  • 06 Nov 2017 7:10 PM | Anonymous member
    I need to choose two words: to persist and to explore. I don't give students enough time to just explore with numbers, manipulatives, games, patterns etc. I feel rushed to get through grade level material that I don't slow down. Students need time to explore using materials, concepts, processes, discoveries so they can feel comfortable working through problems when they struggle or face difficulties. My students say "I don't want to try anymore, I don't know, I can't do this, I am done, this is boring etc... They lack the persistence to keep going because it is easier to give up than to fail.
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    • 08 Nov 2017 7:55 AM | Deleted user
      I agree with you Sue. I feel we are quick to teach lessons in order to get through the curriculum and students often do not get the time they need to explore the possibilities when learning their math strategies. I am trying to make a conscious effort to give that exploration time in hopes that students are given the learning time they need to be successful.
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  • 07 Nov 2017 7:26 AM | Anonymous member
    Leaps is the word that stuck out at me. i feel that this year with some of my classes with more applied activities to enhance their math concepts and skills, they will grow leaps and bounds.
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  • 07 Nov 2017 8:06 AM | Anonymous member
    I would have to choose the word absorbing. I wish my students would really absorb math concepts and use it during math activities, math games, or any other activities.
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  • 07 Nov 2017 11:25 AM | Anonymous member
    I will pick ELEGANT...initially it felt a bit odd to me to see that word as part of the mathematicians' word cloud, but then after I thought about it a bit and took a look at how Webster defined it, it actually made me smile. Mathematics was never a strength for me when I was in school, I often had to work very hard to make sense of the concepts, formulas, and expressions. It certainly never felt very elegant to me, but that was then and this is now, and things have certainly improved for the better.

    My goal as a teacher is to help my students truly understand concepts, not just memorize steps, formulas or procedures as I often tried to do. I want my students to "get it" and understand the concepts being taught and why a procedure works they way it does. I want my students to be confident with math topics and what procedures or steps they use to solve problems so they will feel like math is an elegant subject and that the elegance of mathematics will continue with them for a lifetime.
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  • 07 Nov 2017 3:19 PM | Deleted user
    Innovation is the word that sticks out to me. As a Kindergarten teacher, I am consistantly presenting new ideas for my students to think about and use the information in ways that I hope make sense and are clear as water. That is what an ideal math lesson would look like but is often not how it goes. Math was never easy for me as a student and thanks to an awesome math teacher I had in High School, I was able to find enjoyment learning and now teaching math. I do my best to make new math concepts and ideas exciting and inviting but I feel I would could learn more to help my students become more independent with on taking the new math concepts and moving it forward in ways that they best can understand. Seeing my students use these new concepts in the real world in innovative ways would be the goal I am striving to attain. Helping them to enjoy math and the importance of it go hand in hand .
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  • 07 Nov 2017 5:44 PM | Anonymous member
    Although there were several words that popped out to me when I was reading the chapter, I think I am going to focus on the word "game". I am relatively new to teaching math with any regularity, as I have focused most of my efforts on teaching reading during the last 10 years. But, as many interventionists can attest, we are most often working with children who a) struggle with math, and/or b) do not like math much. My students are coming to me with a limited understanding of below-grade math concepts, and I sometimes feel that I am just working them through the paces of trying to comprehend these concepts so I can get them closer to being able to understand on-grade-level concepts! I forget that one of the (admittedly, few) things I liked about math was that there were many fun games that could be incorporated into lessons... and my students are not going to like math any more if I simply focus on pencil-and-paper drills! So... I am going to try to be on the lookout for more innovative and fun ways to present material, even if it takes us a bit longer to master finding the area of a circle, for example... my students deserve to have a teacher who is working to find more interesting ways to teach a concept.
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    • 08 Nov 2017 7:58 AM | Deleted user
      Teaching kindergarten I use many games during math Workshop. I find if you take the extra time to find the just right activities/games through trial and error, the students are more engaged and willing to learn those tasks that are new and possibly challenging on an independent/ small group basis.
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    • 08 Nov 2017 1:28 PM | Anonymous member
      I use math games as part of the weekly homework each week. It's always nice when learning and practicing can be fun and educational.
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  • 07 Nov 2017 8:58 PM | Anonymous member
    Explore? Discovery? Tough choice... For too many of my students (juniors and seniors taking algebra 2 as their last required math class with no plans to go further), success has been mixed at best. They come with low expectations of themselves and gaps that have gotten wider as the years have gone by. Having time for exploration seems to go by the wayside in an effort to "cover the topics". I need to find and plan for activities that have students exploring.
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    • 08 Nov 2017 8:57 PM | Deleted user
      Hi Beth,

      The daily challenge, motivating students to embrace, explore, and discover math, is something to consider moving forward. As often as students say they are bored, they are really creatures of habit. They just want to know what they need to do to pass the class more than they seem to want to try learning in different ways. Maybe we changing that mentality for a few can help it grow.

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  • 07 Nov 2017 9:36 PM | Anonymous member
    Imagination is the word that stands out for me. Even teaching a math model that focuses on many approaches to get to the "right" answer, I do not see students connecting math to imagination. Math is seen as specific, concrete and functional. Imagination is none of those things. Most of my intervention students love Minecraft and I now see it as the perfect vehicle to connect math and imagination. Airplanes and rockets have the same appeal to the math/imagination connection.
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  • 08 Nov 2017 10:00 AM | Anonymous member
    DISCOVER-I just love that look on a face when a person has discovered something new on their own, without any (or much) help. I want to intentionally build in more opportunities for learners to discover on their own without me. The enthusiasm is one piece, but the other part is I want them to gain experience, independence and confidence discovering on their own in general. I will need to take time to plan opportunities and give students time to discover on their own.
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  • 08 Nov 2017 1:26 PM | Anonymous member
    Persist: I am encouraging students to persist on a daily basis. I feel that this is something that the students don't naturally do. It is something students need to be pushed to do. I also think it's important to model the thought process during persistence with a tough problem. We are focusing heavily on word problems this year and persist goes hand in hand.
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    • 08 Nov 2017 6:36 PM | Anonymous member
      I teach 7th grade. I just started focusing mainly on word problems with my students so it was nice to hear others are doing the same. Word problems are what I base my assessments around and I feel that word problems allow students to have a more direct line of questioning. This allows their peers to become more involved in discussions. What grade do you teach?
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  • 08 Nov 2017 6:32 PM | Anonymous member
    My word would be curiosity, though there are many that I would like to "feel" in my classroom. If I can get my students to become curious about they are learning, I feel they would forget that they are actually "learning" and it would just happen. If a student is curious about a topic they become engaged. At that point they become engaged. If students are curious they begin asking why and have a purpose for that why.

    I want to pose problems that spark an interest with students. I begin my class each day with a "Focus Jumper". These focus jumpers are meant to get students thinking, thinking mathematically. Sometimes they are captioning a picture, working on a math puzzle, working on activities such as "which one doesn't belong", describing a picture with "I think ..., I notice ..., I wonder ..." statements, etc. What I need to do is to give them a question that they cannot answer right away. Pose questions that make them want to find an answer. I have some searching to do. I also hope this can lead to changing the type of homework that I give.
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    • 08 Nov 2017 9:17 PM | Deleted user
      Hi Luanne,

      I like the idea of having a "Focus Jumper", but it reminds me of students whose focus jumps every minute or so (ha-ha). I might call mine a "Focus Grabber", so I can grab their attention at the beginning of class. Getting them to be curious is a great way to start the day.

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    • 11 Nov 2017 8:06 AM | Anonymous member
      I love the idea of a "focus jumper" or "focus grabber", seems like a great way to get the curious juices flowing.
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  • 08 Nov 2017 7:30 PM | Anonymous member
    The word passion stood out to me. I believe when people are passionate about something they will pursue it and learn all they can. I was passionate about math and really looked forward to learning it, until 8th grade. My teacher was not good at managing a class and tried to split us into two groups. I was a straight A math student until he stuck a group of us in the back of the room to "independently learn" from a new curriculum. Despite my attempts to get help during study hall or after school, it was not the same and I lost a lot of ground. My passion turned to dread. I am getting excited about math again and I hope to instill that in my students!
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  • 08 Nov 2017 10:05 PM | Anonymous member
    "Persist" is the word I am choosing to focus on in my classroom. I've had a couple of particularly frustrating days with kids giving up on themselves before they even try to solve a mathematical problem. I feel like it's a natural tendency of some students to fall back into the "I can't" helplessness, and they get stuck there. When I am faced with the negativity from students, it is super frustrating, and I don't always handle it that well..... so my goal is to help students recognize that they CAN persist in solving problems and that it is satisfying to accomplish something that they thought they could not.
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  • 11 Nov 2017 8:02 AM | Anonymous member
    The word in the mathematicians word cloud that I would like to incorporate into my class this year is curiosity. I have been hearing lately at math workshops and conferences this idea of noticing and wondering. This idea of wondering relates to the cloud word curiosity. I wonder why... I wonder how many... I wonder if... These have been sentence starters I have begun incorporating into math discussions and it has been delightful to see how many more students are willing to participate.
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  • 11 Nov 2017 9:39 AM | Anonymous member
    The word I chose is persist. Getting students to persist in math seems to be a real challenge. My colleagues and I are striving to offer "just right" math challenges for varying levels of students in hopes of getting them to stretch a little and foster some persistence (and independence). Persistence needs to be met with success and I believe that happens when solutions are not too far out of their reach. This makes me think that the word explore should accompany persist since sometimes students just need to be granted the time to explore in order to persist.
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  • 11 Nov 2017 10:29 AM | Anonymous member
    Wonder is a word that we are using more and more. Students aren't totally buying in; they assume that there is always something wrong with what we are wondering about. In general, they don't seem to wonder anything. Is mine right or wrong? Don't care why, just tell me. We are moving in that direction, and I do believe that, with time, students will begin to wonder more.

    We are using blogs to communicate about mathematical understandings, thinking, and questions. Perhaps, I should give them a "wonder" prompt occasionally, at the beginning of new learning, then give them a few minutes (at first? Then build up stamina?) to write about what they wonder. Then after a lesson, they can return to the blog post and reflect on what they have learned. I WONDER, however, how many will try to remove their 'wonders' and write the "right answer." (Like they try to do when we estimate; they want to be RIGHT.)
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  • 11 Nov 2017 2:05 PM | Anonymous member
    Joy is the one word that I would like to add to my classroom this year. I am not really sure how to do that. I am hoping to get some strategies to help add joy to math. I would really like for my students to see the beauty in math and enjoy it.

    One thing that I have done to add joy to the classroom is that I post a new math joke or pun on the board for the students every day. They do enjoy that and look forward to it.

    I have given a couple of challenging problems that are open enough that all students could "play" with them and get a solution. They seem do seem to enjoy them. However, I am certain that they don't go home and tell their parents what a joy math class is.
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  • 12 Nov 2017 1:11 PM | Anonymous member
    Although most of these words are unfortunately not prevalent in my current math classes, I think that "persist" is probably the word that resonates the most with me. I have taught many low-achieving math classes in my few years as a math teacher, and I have found that the majority of these students have simply accepted that they are "bad at math." I have found that these are the students I am currently teaching in my eighth grade Pre-Algebra classes this year. These students have always struggled and are lacking many of the foundational skills that are required to learn the concepts taught in Pre-Algebra. After this first quarter, my math classes have already been a struggle and a source of stress and frustration for me. And the thing that I find these students lack the most is motivation and confidence. I think that they have no sense of persistence when it comes to math problems, and that seems to create the lack of all of those other wonderful words found in the mathematicians' word cloud. I think that students need to learn to persist through their struggles in math, in order to find the joy and beauty that can be found in math.

    My goal is to focus on teaching persistence in order to help my students build the confidence and motivation to find success in mathematics. My favorite thing to do as a math teacher is to show them that I make mistakes. Whether it's during a whole class lesson, or during my own attempt at their math problems, I think it's important to show students that math can be a challenging thing and the correct answer doesn't always come easily. I think that modeling the process of working through difficulties is an extremely important part of education, but especially math education. Students need to see that it's a natural and common thing to struggle in math, but that it's the way that you handle the struggle and persevere through it that matters.
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  • 12 Nov 2017 1:49 PM | Anonymous member
    I choose persist & joy! We have all worked through some process or other and only through persistence did we find joy at the end. Math is like that. I hope as I help to build my student's confidence and add to their toolbox of strategies that'll they'll find persistence & joy. Their confidence can be fragile and we can see that when they erase the correct process and instead ask for help. Sometimes through explaining 'out loud' they realize they were right and their joy in realizing that is evident. I also teach persistence and help students to know that things can feel hard but sometimes we have to just give one more push to get through. Don't give up!
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  • 12 Nov 2017 5:59 PM | Anonymous member
    Similar to most others in the group, I too have found it difficult to only pick one word in the mathematician cloud that stands out. The few that seem to be very closely related are Explore, Play, and Discovery. When I was first hired as a kindergarten teacher, I remember doing math in that way and it was fun! We had more time built in for play and discovery. Now, 7 years later, I feel like that time has diminished and I would love to go back to it. It is too easy––for me anyway––to get so caught up in the curriculum, especially with the short amount of time we have in our schedule and high volume we have to teach.

    Learning a new math program while teaching it is a challenge, but rewarding when I can get the whole lesson done in time. While my students do all of the journal pages that parallel the daily lesson, I realize that the love of learning with and from each other, discovering, exploring and having meaningful discussions with each other seem to be easily lost. I often stop and remind myself that my first graders are still young children and developmentally need that time to explore and play to discover new concepts in a hands-on, engaging, fun way. That is OK. In fact, one of my goals this year and forever after with this book study is to find new ways I can incorporate more student-driven math discovery and exploration in my classroom. To create mathematicians who love math and learning instead of students who only feel successful if they can memorize computation or are able to complete their "workbooks."
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  • 12 Nov 2017 6:59 PM | Anonymous member
    The word that I'm going to choose is "persist." This year, sadly, the desire to persist is absent. I encourage my students to keep going, to push through, and tell them that the sense of accomplishment is a wonderful thing!
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  • 12 Nov 2017 10:38 PM | Anonymous member
    Free. I don't remember using the word, "FREE". I will try to interchange, "your choice" and "free to choose" for their method of solving. Once we solve the problem, we are free to explore other avenues.
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  • 17 Nov 2017 3:23 PM | Deleted user
    I am a math coach in in math classrooms. One word that I would like to see more of in classrooms is discovery. Many teachers still think that it is there job to deliver the information on how to solve a problem or how to perform an operation and do not give time for student to discover the reason why algorithms work. In my coaching cycles I plan to push encourage teachers to let students do more of the discovery. One teacher is very open to the discovery and explore aspect of math, I plan to keep trying with the others by showing them how engaging the students can be.
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  • 24 Nov 2017 4:57 PM | Deleted user
    Explore is the word I feel is important for my classroom. With the Common Core I have lost the explore in my classroom. I feel the need to provide more opportunities to explore with hands on activities in math.
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  • 25 Nov 2017 11:59 AM | Anonymous member
    Well, I was right about not being able to keep up with the reading. But, here I am.

    Choosing one word was challenging, so I choose a word that encompassed several of the ideas that I wanted to try and incorporate into my class. The word I chose was "adventure". To me the connotation for adventure is a fun, new, exciting experience. It can be scary, and uncomfortable, but in the end it is a memorable experience.

    I assigned my students the challenge of creating a presentation to celebrate what they had learned about Rational Numbers. I asked them to take their classmates on an adventure. I gave them a plethora of product ideas, and they were not allowed to create a keynote or a poster as their product.

    One student created a museum where we walked through exhibits about rational numbers, another was a sheriff with one large wanted poster and she gave select members of her audience cards to read about encounters and sightings of this outlaw - 53, two students had an act where they were stand up comedians telling "punny" jokes, there were sports shows, variety shows with guests, a jeopardy game, a wheel of fortune game, a collage, journal entries, etc.

    It was a celebration of what they had learned. I used the grade level rubric for Rational Numbers to assess the math content, and the class came up with a presentation rubric. It was an adventure, and initially very challenging for some students to get out of their paper and pencil habit for a math assessment.

    The students took it very seriously, and it was a great use of the day and a half before Thanksgiving Break.
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  • 03 Dec 2017 8:54 PM | Anonymous member
    Better late than never...? Hoping to have established myself into a routine now so that I can keep up with things!

    One word I would choose would be "play". I remember as a kid, and I still do now from time to time, just playing around with numbers to see what I could come up with. "Playing" would be things like applying or extending a pattern to a number to see where it takes me. Or, something recent, timing and calculating my car's mph to double check the accuracy of the speedometer. So many times, in order to better understand something, you just need the opportunity to play around with it to see what it is all about. That way you can test things out, without the worry of consequence. I would love to be able to give my students time to just play with math and see what they can come up with.
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