Week 13: Discussion Question (just one option)

14 Feb 2018 3:41 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

We will send you a more formal feedback form at the end of the month, so for now let's just consider this prompt:

This is a great spot to do some journaling, reflecting, and discussing. How has the experience been? What have been the overarching themes of your work throughout this journey? What ideas are you lingering over still? Going forward, what specific goals will you be working on?


  • 15 Feb 2018 10:41 AM | Anonymous member
    I am still thinking about the "staying neutral". I'm trying to find a balance of being excited about students thinking and celebrating their perseverance , and keeping the poker face. Ths is still really hard for me and I am not sure how I feel about it.
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  • 15 Feb 2018 2:44 PM | Anonymous member
    This has been a great experience for me. I have felt like reading this book has renewed my interest in refreshing my math class. I have gotten great ideas and resources from this book which I will use in my class. The specific goals I will be working on are the goals of making my math class more performance based. Having my class take part in more rich discussions and making sure my class is really understanding the algorithms I am teaching.This way my class will remember what they learn and not just memorize a process that they will quickly forget once they leave my classroom.
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  • 16 Feb 2018 2:16 PM | Anonymous member
    This has been one of my top professional development experiences. It made me think A LOT about my practice, what I do well, what I could do better and what I want to incorporate into my classroom on a regular basis - for example " I notice ... I wonder...".
    I worried about not keeping up with the Book Study, and I realized that I made it priority because I looked forward to reading more and reading the comments of others. It was exciting that the teacher of one of the "vibrant classrooms" is a colleague of mine. I want to thank ATOMIM, Tracy Johnston Zager, the teachers of the vibrant classrooms and the teachers who shared in our forum for an exceptional pd experience.
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    • 20 Feb 2018 9:34 AM | Deleted user
      I couldn't agree more because this was amazing pd and very helpful to teachers.
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    • 25 Feb 2018 12:52 PM | Anonymous member
      I agree! Well said!
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  • 17 Feb 2018 4:51 PM | Deleted user
    This has been a great experience for me. I have learned a lot about what I do right, but I have also learned about things I can do better. I am a teacher of young minds and if I can instill an attitude of "I can do it" instead of "I can't" then I have done my job. My experiene as a Kindergarten teacher is that students come to me wanting to please so they do what they think is "right". Because of this class, I have made a conscious effort with the questions I ask. I want my students to think and think again about what the answer is to a given mathematical problem. My students have made mathematical growth through my instruction and the changes I have made through this learning experience for me. I have to say Thank You for this book experience and all you provided me as and educator.
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    • 25 Feb 2018 12:53 PM | Anonymous member
      Dawn I admire your thoughtfulness and insight - you are the type of teacher I want my children to have!
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  • 18 Feb 2018 1:16 PM | Anonymous member
    This has been a worthwhile experience. I have thoroughly enjoyed the classroom examples and seeing the techniques in action. I am more thoughtful in my questions, in my activities, in my groupings, and in my planning. We are currently looking for a new math curriculum K-8, and I am hoping to find one that incorporates many of these strategies to teach students to think like mathematicians . If anyone has recommendations, I would love to hear about them!
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    • 04 Mar 2018 1:34 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)
      Hi Carrie,
      I noticed a couple of programs were mentioned in the book. Investigations in Number, Data, and Space is a K-5 program and Connected Math is a 6-8 program. Both are built around student investigation and both require a lot of PD support by the district and commitment from teachers to implement well - in the ways that we saw spotlighted in the book. I used Core-Plus Math at the high school level for 15 years and spent a week every summer for the first 4 years learning. It was some of the best PD I ever had and led to some deeper understanding of math and teaching.
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  • 19 Feb 2018 9:19 PM | Anonymous member
    Thank you so much for working with the pressures of being a teacher, exhaustion, and time. At points I didn't know if I could do it, but the relaxed format allowed me to succeed and persevere. The book and the many other opportunities that go along with it, have been invaluable. I hope this book will be used for new teachers taking classes. It is amazing and needs to be read and reread each year. I will enjoy and benefit from reviewing my highlights. We all need reminders.

    The book started out stating: "33% of elementary school teachers have math anxiety." NOT GOOD. This has been a problem for a long time. We have to be part of this needed, fun change!! It is exciting! :) After reading this book, I realize even more how much I need to be spending more time on math - reading books, playing games, asking questions, pondering student questions longer, convincing each other, learning from mistakes...
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  • 19 Feb 2018 10:09 PM | Anonymous member
    Reflecting back on the readings from this book, thoughts that I have had, common comments that I have given, often it comes back to ME! HOW I approach the students learning, HOW I accept their answers, HOW I help them to learn seems to be a common thread. It is what I say, how to say it that seems to be my goal. The book has really made me think more about this. I need to ask questions without expecting the right answers, but answers that the students used strategies, tried many ways to solve the problem, before working as a group to find which answer, and maybe show more than one way to get there, in a very accepting way.
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  • 20 Feb 2018 9:32 AM | Deleted user
    This has been a wonderful learning opportunity for me. I have been a Reading Specialist for many years and this is my first year in the classroom teaching math. This book has helped me so much in planning and reflecting on lessons taught as well as how to differentiate for all learners in my classroom. I am very thankful to have had this opportunity to learn. I am looking forward to the Spring Conference on March 17, 2018 in Portland.
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  • 20 Feb 2018 10:17 AM | Anonymous member
    This was my second ever on-line book group experience - it was wonderful! Thank you! One thing that helped was the relaxed format (being able to catch up)... I found some great resources (books and online links) from colleagues. Going forward, I plan to continue pressing answers from all students. It will be interesting to use these techniques next trimester. (I had on honors level algebra 2 class to work with this trimester; I'll have three regular classes next trimester.)
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  • 21 Feb 2018 8:42 AM | Anonymous member
    I have enjoyed this book study. As a result of this book study, I have really taken a hard look at my mathematics instruction and tried new ways to help my students move forward with their math learning. I am now giving my students more opportunities to explore math concepts before giving direct instructions which has helped my students to connect to what they are learning and make personal connections to math concepts. I also have begun using more open ended questioning and allow my students to talk about how they are solving math problems. Children can learn so much from eachother and take their understandings to deeper levels. Going foward I would like to continue finding ways for my students to experience math in a hands-on way and provide them more time to interact with others. I really enjoyed reading others responses during this book study and being able to reflect on my reading which has helped move my math instruction forward. I look forward to seeing the progress my students make the rest of this year.
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  • 21 Feb 2018 9:08 AM | Anonymous member
    Being part of this forum has been one of the most inspiring and energizing experiences I’ve had in some time. I’ve shared this book with my colleagues as they read another book on Mathematical Mindset. This book definitely upstages that one as it gives philosophy, actual strategies and many resources. I have used the suggestions and ideas in my classroom and the students and I have found we look forward to math now. I’ve appreciated given permission to stray from the given math program and return to more active engagement which ultimately ensures that children truly understand concepts and strategies. I will be attending the ATOMIN Spring conference with colleagues and look forward to meeting Ms. Zager and others who offer more ideas and strategies.
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  • 21 Feb 2018 12:35 PM | Anonymous member
    I liked having two response options each week to choose from. I usually chose the action step responses which made a difference for my students. I could apply and try things out as I learned about them. This is exactly how I learn best. This book really confirmed what am doing well and gave me ideas on what I could do better. Thank you for providing such a high quality pd opportunity.
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  • 22 Feb 2018 8:35 PM | Deleted user

    I have really enjoyed reading this book and participating in the Forum with everyone. Breaking up the book into week-long chapters (chunks) has given me a chance to contemplate each part separately and get a better understanding of how these (mathematician) building blocks fit together.

    My major take-away is what I perceive as (possible) missed opportunities for my students at the elementary and middle school levels. Not all were allowed to explore mathematical concepts in an open manner where their ideas were accepted and discussed with classmates. As they got older, manipulative and hands-on opportunities faded. Students were generally not asked to represent or write down their reasoning.

    I will be looking for more ways to promote exploration. Geometry, in particular, always presents challenges related to visually processing. Rotating and reflecting figures often changes a student’s ability to understand a problem (finding a hypotenuse, drawing an altitude, labeling the opposite side of the reference angle, setting up a proportion for similar triangles, to list a few). I am hoping that discussions with colleagues will open up more opportunities to do this.

    Additionally, I would like my students to feel more comfortable in constructive classroom discussions (or debates). If I can get students to express how they would solve problems, it should help me find misconceptions that are shared among some students. Addressing these misunderstandings will help adjust and refocus my lessons.

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  • 23 Feb 2018 12:06 PM | Anonymous member
    Now I know why this book is so long. She has so many ideas, many of which I have read before but forgotten all about. It is nice to have the all in one place. I need to take some time to go back through and review all the sections I marked so I don't forget again. Math had been taught with a procedural emphasis in the past which led to bored students. I really like having more conversations in class and more chances for students to explore problems. I had some students annoyed with me for not giving them answers this year but for the most part students prefer having more control in the classroom.
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  • 24 Feb 2018 11:10 AM | Anonymous member
    This has been a good experience. I enjoyed reading about what math should be like for my students. I found that there were some things I am already doing, but there were new things as well. I especially liked that this book made me feel better about teaching math in general. There has been more conversation and eagerness about math because of implementing things I have learned from this book. I have heard comments such as "I like math!" and "Hey, I know how to do this!" My kids are more willing to take risks and focus on the process and not just whether or not the answer is correct.

    I feel as though my own math anxiety is better, and that I have been able to help students in my class feel more comfortable with math as well. Exploration and discussion to deepen mathematical understanding are two things I will continue to build upon going forward.
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  • 25 Feb 2018 12:59 PM | Anonymous member
    As many before me have said, this has been a fabulous professional development experience. On a practical side, the luxury of working from my home (couch!) has allowed me to take all of the time I wanted to reflect and plan. I do miss face to face contact though. The themes of this book provide a way of thinking about math instruction that is incredibly valuable for students. This should be a required text for undergraduates! I have many goals and ways of thinking/acting I want to continue from this book - a specific focus will be to find a meaningful, and usable balance between using the district math book and outside resources such as Illustrative Math. Thank you for providing this experience!
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  • 25 Feb 2018 7:42 PM | Anonymous member
    All in all this has been a good experience. I have been reminded of best practices and have picked up some new strategies.
    The idea that is lingering for me is the individual approach I too to this book study. I have enjoyed reading other posts and utilizing the resources. However, I think joining this book talk with someone from my building would have been a little more meaningful for me. I would have been able to discuss on a more personal level, the strategies used, failures and successes.
    Moving forward I hope to continue engaging students in math and I hope to build math confidence in my students.
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  • 27 Feb 2018 4:51 AM | Deleted user
    The time that I have put into reading Tracy Johnston Zager's book and responding to prompts has been well worth it. I have always thought I was a pretty good math teacher, but the readings made me reflect seriously about some of my practices. I work with gifted students who want to get the 'right" answer quickly, without struggle. To give them opportunities to become more comfortable with struggle, I try to find complex, challenging problems that they can't solve quickly, problems where they need to struggle, where they need to collaborate with each other, and where intuition might be an important tool. But in their process of problem solving, I've also been working hard with myself to not steer them, but to ask good questions that help them to make sense by themselves. I find this difficult, and It will continue to be a goal as I move forward. I hope to incorporate several of the ideas from this book: exploring wrong answers, using vertical whiteboards, and most importantly, building the understanding that to be a mathematician, one needs to learn to be comfortable with exploring mathematical ideas and making conjectures, not necessarily getting right answers.
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  • 28 Feb 2018 4:58 AM | Anonymous member
    This was a great PD experience. I learned what I was doing well and learned what I could do differently or better. Hearing from others teaching math also provided for new learning or let me know I was not the only one feeling or seeing things happening in math class.
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  • 04 Mar 2018 12:33 PM | Anonymous member
    Wow. I really enjoyed reading the book, but found it hard to find the time. The book was jammed full of strategies to try and examples of how to use the strategies. Some I knew and had forgotten and some were new. I am working on having my kids to discretely show a thumbs up on their chest when they know an answer rather than raising their hand or blurting it out. It is still a work in progress. We are trying to be more aware of our words and not saying "this is easy". I am working on giving them problems that have more than one answer and more than one method to do them. I am also working on their math conversations and thinking process. I would like to give them a challenging problem that they have some individual time, think pair time, random group time with some good math discourse and conversation.
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  • 13 Mar 2018 12:58 PM | Anonymous member
    I agree with a lot of what others have said. Having the flexibility to "catch up" on my reading responses was helpful. The book reminded me to do what is right, give students the time they need to investigate and understand the concepts they are learning. Somehow, whether due to common core, MEA testing, or "the math police" and their pacing guides we have taken that away from students.
    Having taught elementary school, and now middle school math, there is one thing that I have learned - you need to go slow in order to go fast. A safe learning environment encourages risk taking, exploration, sharing, and learning for all students.
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  • 16 Mar 2018 9:49 PM | Anonymous member
    I love being a part of this process that has sparked my interest right from the beginning.
    I attended the Dine and Discuss in Waterboro and enjoyed participating with those attendees as we shared thoughts and formed groups to work on a number of activities. I was way late to the reading/blogging, but I managed to catch up!

    Just when I thought we were doing great things in our co-taught classrooms, I soon realized that there are so many more great ways to engage students and to improve their experiences with math classes. I have been sharing with my colleagues some of the things that I have so valued learning in this process. In the last few weeks we have incorporated frequent Wonder activities that are getting our kids to be so much more inquisitive and interested in sharing their thoughts. I have made notes in a GoogleDoc that I have shared with my fellow math teachers that is chock full of great resources and profound statements. I will be sharing this book with them as well.

    My major goal is to share some of these ideas with my colleagues so that we can work together to continue to evaluate whether or not we are creating favorable conditions for all of our math students.
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  • 27 Mar 2018 8:24 PM | Anonymous member
    I can't tell you how many times I have talked about this book to colleagues and to classmates and people in general! It is a resource that will require many more reviews and reads. It is so rich with resources and tips, you really can't take them all in with one read through. I plan to review each chapter and the online resources. Then I hope to categorize some favorites to share with colleagues. For myself, I need to work on the "poker face" and do more targeted questioning. I need to be less of the authority in the class, and allow students to assume more of that role. One thing I will do is use our teaching manual as a resource for where to expect misconceptions. I hadn't really paid a lot of attention to this aspect, and use that perspective to target the teaching. Now, I can plan for certain discussion points and help students meet those challenging moments with more clarity.
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