Final Week (March 29-April 4): Final Thoughts...

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  • 28 Mar 2013 9:40 PM
    Message # 1254172
    Anonymous member (Administrator)
    Reading: pp 100-102 Conclusion

    What are YOUR take-aways based on your own reading and learning over the course of this book study?
  • 30 Mar 2013 9:53 AM
    Reply # 1254965 on 1254172
    T. Hartnett
    Take aways?  Sensible Mathematics was both affirming and frustrating.  It is affirming to hear/read words uttered from a leader with a background such as Steve's (p.100) that are consistent with words I have uttered.  What Steve and the Common Core are advocating for is a mathematics experience for students that is vastly different from my experience as a learner. This (an experience that is different from mine) is what I have been advocating for since 1999 or so.  However, Sensible Mathematics takes the learning with understanding idea to a higher level with the promise that mathematics will be taught through meaningful and motivating, integrated tasks.  I have higher expectations/goals for myself as a result of this book study.  The frustrating part is that we are still having these conversations 13 years after Principles and Standards was published.  I feel powerless in my ability to impact many of the components that need to be in place.  I do hope that our administrators do indeed have a Sensible Mathematics book study next year.
  • 31 Mar 2013 6:14 PM
    Reply # 1255710 on 1254172
    Jenny Jorgensen
    I appreciated T. Hartnett's response and frustration that many schools and teachers are where we are, after years with the NCTM document, Principles and Standards.  My general feeling, during each time I read a section of Steve's book was, "I wish all the math teachers in my building were reading this book." We would make more progress toward growing as math teachers, if we were all engaging in discussions about the ideas Steve has presented in his book, Sensible Mathematics.

    In the conclusion of the book, Steve provides five final thoughts about math instruction. I am particularly interested to see the fourth thought: "toot our own horns." We don't do this enough and if we don't, who will? If we don't let our administrators know the "cool stuff" going on in our classrooms, they are likely to not know about it.  As the math lead teacher, I have the opportunity to be in all math classrooms every week and to know about what's planned for instruction for the upcoming days. I make sure to let the administrators know that they ought to drop into so and so's class because they are doing something great. It may be a differentiation lesson, something we've read about and discussed in book groups as a faculty, that a teacher is excited to try. It might be someone who is going to try implementing CCSS Literacy Reading Standards 1-3 in their math or social studies class. Our focus for faculty meetings this year has been to learn about the Literacy Standards, practice them in faculty groups, and then "go forth" and try them with our students. Tooting our own whistle is definitely the way to go! for the purpose of sharing our good work and getting better at what we do - educate our students.

    Thank you to Shawn's efforts with this electronic book group and others who may have helped him. Thank you to the other readers and their responses. I definitely gleaned more from the book through this forum and its contributors.
  • 31 Mar 2013 7:28 PM
    Reply # 1255750 on 1254172
    Peggy Brown
    I have enjoyed the book and the discussion very much. I found myself wishing, many times during the reading, that my math teaching colleagues throughout the district were reading it with me. That's the discussion I'm really looking forward to. And so my takeaway is a plan to get a book group started in my district.  

    Thanks for running this discussion and putting this book into my hands.  Well worth it!

  • 31 Mar 2013 8:23 PM
    Reply # 1255785 on 1254172
    Maureen Brown
    "When all is said and done, it is not the buses, the buildings or the budgets that determine how much and how well students learn, it's the daily interactions between students and teachers, and among students in every classrooms of every school that determines that determines how much and how will students will learn"  

    This statement on page 100 of Sensible Mathematics  sums up what I want to take from this book study. Reading other replies, as well as reading the text, one sees that what most people spoke of in nearly every response was the fact that the dedication of the teacher in creating well planned, interesting and engaging lesson plans was what folks feel is needed for student success. 

    The teacher's ability to create engaging plans, use assessments as a lever to change, and model methods, is the pivot around which change takes place. The teacher must have the training, feedback and support of peers and administration in order to provide optimal instruction. 

    The final paragraph on p. 102 provides each of us a challenge to be the one person that will make a difference. Perhaps that difference will not only be in the lives of a child but also in the lives of our colleagues as we introduce, model, discuss, and support the ideas that have been discussed. 
  • 01 Apr 2013 7:40 AM
    Reply # 1256067 on 1254172
    Mary Belisle
    "It's the classroom, stupid!"
    In the air force, every person employed there is to support the missions of those flying the airplane, from those moving supplies, doing the cooking, cleaning the airstrips, and ordering uniforms. It is not the flight manuals or the new radar, it is what happens as a result of those in the cockpit.
    In education, every person is employed to support the mission in the classroom. This is the lens. No matter how much we spend per pupil, if we do not work to improve what is taking place in the classroom, we have not moved forward. This is also the hardest thing to impact. But we must continue to try. Steve Leinwand helps to reset our understanding and brings us back to the classroom. There is the magic. There are the pockets of excellence. or it is all for naught.
  • 01 Apr 2013 1:51 PM
    Reply # 1256328 on 1254172
    Wayne Dorr
    Steve Leinwand says that "good mathematics instruction is hard, but it isn't quantum physics".  That is, in my mind, the power of his book.  Throughout this writing, he describes and illustrates what that statement means in practice; and one of the things I've enjoyed most in this dialogue with all of you, is that you have shared how your work reflects his ideas.  As I noted a couple of weeks ago, if systems were to conduct a deep, and committed study and discussion of his 15 quality components, and developed a long-range plan to implement them, we'd all create the kind of students the whole book espouses.  Yes, we have budget stresses and resource shortages and too little effective professional development, but if I've learned anything in my long career, it is that you can't stop great teachers from doing what is right for their kids; and with leadership that understands that truism, you can't stop a system from being great.
    Thanks to Shawn for his good work here; and maybe we could do this again - we're all strengthened by the collective genius.
  • 01 Apr 2013 7:01 PM
    Reply # 1256590 on 1254172
    Robyn Graziano
    I really enjoyed reading this book. It has motivated me to create a better curriculum and instruction for our high school math classes. I just finished a webinar with Bill McCallum speaking about the progression of Algebra and Functions in the Common Core and the understanding of mathematics is very exciting. I want to make math classes as exciting, challenging and engaging. But, like Steve H., I am feeling overwhelmed. The resources are all over the place (you should see my browser bookmarks). I have my classwork gathered over the years and I hope to get my co-workers together to merge their classwork. Creating common assessments and creating lessons and sitting in on each other's classes is a huge amount of work. I'm not really sure where to start. I would love to take a work shop or two to help with breaking down a standards into units, learning targets, etc.

    Thanks Shawn and Pamela for giving us the opportunity to read together.
  • 01 Apr 2013 9:33 PM
    Reply # 1256717 on 1254172
    Kate St.Denis
    I have been sharing the messages in this book with many colleagues on many levels - administration, peers, and team leaders in the hope of making a difference in instruction. So, I am further motivated and affirmed by the words on page 102, "...the extraordinary difference every educator can make in the lives of colleagues." 
    Thanks for the push Steve, Pam, and Shawn.
  • 02 Apr 2013 8:49 AM
    Reply # 1257091 on 1254172
    Deleted user
    A take away for me is: "New materials, professional development, and effective supervision are all important only to the degree they support high-quality instructional interactions....If one seeks to improve the quality of education and the quantity of student achievement, enhancing, empowering, energizing, and engaging teaching and teachers has always been and will continue to be the optimal choice." (pgs 100-101) As a teacher, I sometimes focus too much on administration and the school board's lack of support when they are not buying new resources or providing professional development. These things are how I feel supported and believe that if they respect what I do then they would see the need for these supports as I do. When I am not feeling supported through these avenues, I need to remind myself that I can provide high-quality instruction from working with my colleagues. It is up to me to enhance the learning of students and to feel empowered. I can't wait for someone else all the time to step up and make me feel good about what I'm doing....I need to self reflect and find opportunities to improve in ways that don't rely on "the system". I need to remember "how much difference one person can make." (p 102)
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