I know I’ve been complaining about technology, but I love it, too. As we head toward finals, I wanted to reflect on the teaching web sites that I found helpful and/or thought provoking this year. To be honest, I also wanted to make a list of the good ones so I wouldn’t forget once my bookmarks are wiped from my school computer this summer!
Math = Love has guided my journey in the amazing world of interactive student notebooks. I was resistant to the idea at first, thinking it would be too much work, but I have really enjoyed using ISNs, particularly in Geometry. ISNs force me to distill what I want my students to really know about each topic. It reinforces the connections between topics. It has modeled effective note-taking for my students, and has taught them how to study from their notes.
Mathy McMatherson inspired the standards-based grading that I use for my remedial Algebra class. It also has great entries on getting to the heart of student resistance to math, how to craft effective assessments, and student intervention strategies. His student population is very similar to mine, and I value his insights and dedication.
I have used writing sporadically in my class, and in my warm-ups, but this is a comprehensive guide to introducing and developing a writing curriculum in the Math classroom. This supports the common core practice standards, particularly “Construct viable arguments and critique the reasoning of others.” (MP3) Now that I have embraced ISNs, Math Journals may be my next undertaking.
This site is actually a paid site, if you want access to the 450+ open-ended question bank. (An aside: I tried to pay – it’s only $14 – but I could not get the site to accept my payment! Oh, well.) But it is also a great overview on what makes a good open-ended question and how to create them. Our math department decided that our bell work should all be open-ended questions going forward and this site has helped me create them, as well as providing examples that I use on the days I can’t come up with any myself.
The Mathematics Vision Project comes out of Utah where they’ve been teaching Integrated Math for three years. In our district we aren’t moving to Integrated Math until next year, but I’ve already tried some of the lessons in the MVP curriculum to investigate concepts in my Geometry class.
Dan Meyer – of course! He’s a TED talk legend and his blog is full of food for thought. I especially needed to hear this (from his post “Speaking To New Teachers At Their Graduation” ): “It’s tempting to compare the job of teaching to other jobs you could have taken, jobs your college classmates took, jobs taken by the people you grew up with. I struggled with this for a long time. Friends of mine made more money working fewer hours and their profession wasn’t ever ripped a new one on national television. … You don’t have to worry, as many of my friends still do, that their jobs don’t really matter to anybody except the family they feed. You don’t have to worry that you’re insignificant to other people. You’re in the profession of developing humanity, one class at a time. That’s no small credit you get to claim. I can’t imagine how hard it would be to doubt your job’s value to humanity for thirty or forty years.”
Another Dan Meyer site, this one provides more open-ended investigations. I’ve used some of these for my open-ended warm ups and the students always have a strong response. Again, it’s the idea of taking a given problem and stripping away the given information to reveal a situation to ponder. Speaking of which…
Dan Meyer’s stripping away technique in action.