I pulled my first all-nighter my freshman year of college. My roommate and I had both been assigned to Mr. Seager’s 8 a.m. chemistry class. Mr. Seager was a science whiz who was passionate and knowledgeable about his topic, but he was a lousy teacher. After dozing through many of his uninspired early-morning lectures, Kaye and I had fallen way behind in our understanding of the content. We knew we had to stay up all night and cram.
Up until this point in my life, I had never had a cup of coffee. Both of my parents were British immigrant tea drinkers who believed in serving whole milk to their growing teenagers. But then came college—no rules, no parents, no sleep. And Mr. Seager.
To be fair, Mr. Seager was not atypical of the teachers at many universities. Their practice was to stand at the front of the room, back to the class, as they wrote notes on the board and lectured simultaneously. This type of teaching was fertile soil for dozing students.
I had the opportunity to attend some training last month with a colleague I don’t know very well. I’ve worked in the same building with this teacher for three years now, but I’ve rarely been down to her room. I suppose I had my own assumptions of how good a teacher she was from snippets I’d heard in the hallways from students, but I really had no clear idea who she was as a person. That was my loss.
According to the Megan Meier Foundation, 13 million children will be bullied or cyberbullied in the U.S. this year.
Megan Meier was from O’Fallon, Missouri. When Megan opened an account on MySpace, she received a message from a supposedly 16-year-old boy, “Josh.” They became “friends,” even though they never met or spoke on the phone. “Josh” claimed that he lived nearby and was homeschooled. He did not exist. Lori Drew, the mother of Megan’s former friend Sarah Drew, created him.
Lori was aided by several others and intended to use Megan’s messages to “Josh” to get information about her and later humiliate her, in retribution for her allegedly spreading gossip about Sarah.
Part 5 of 8, Strategies for Integrating the Mathematical Practices into Instruction
Looking for and Making Sense of Structure means using deductive reasoning. In other words, I recognize the pattern and can apply it to solve a specific problem. This is the one practice that I am most often asked about by teachers in primary grades. They want to know what happened to all the standards about patterns. My response is always the same: Math is all about patterns, so it isn’t something that should be taught as a single standard, but rather as a practice that we use when thinking mathematically.
This practice is about how we work with students so that they are always looking for and making sense of repeated structures. For example, a sequence of numbers begins with 5. The next term is found by adding 4, and the next term is found by multiplying by -1. If this pattern continues, what is the 25th term in this sequence? Do you have to write the first 24 terms in order to figure this out? Seeing and using patterns moves beyond the primary standards of the past of recognizing AB or ABBA patterns.
October is Bullying Prevention Awareness Month (www.stopbullying.gov). PBS offers varied useful resources at The Bully Project. This is certainly a fine start, but bully-proofing is no simple task. Collapsing a bullying culture cannot be accomplished in a month or with a single campaign. Constant vigilance is required.
But sometimes teachers don’t see the bullying. Children report it, but when teachers then try to observe it, they see nothing. Shall we stop there? No. That will convey entirely the wrong message.
The mere mention of technology in the classroom gets me so excited. I love talking classroom tech with teachers, no matter how novice or advanced their skills are. I love the advances being made in technology, and the opportunities that are opening up for our students across the nation and the world. Technology is merely a tool, but it is a powerful tool that can open a whole new set of doors that previously remained closed for some learners.
Part 4 of 8, Strategies for Integrating the Mathematical Practices into Instruction
By Dr. Michele Douglass
There are few times that students in math classes or on assessments are asked which tool they should use to complete a problem. Think about the test questions that ask students to measure something. If it’s a length, the ruler is aligned to the object within the test question. If it’s a temperature, a thermometer appears in the question. We even provide the manipulative that students should use to solve a given problem.
Although the mathematical practice of Using Appropriate Tools Strategically is one that should be easy for most of us to implement, our testing world has never required us to use this practice as it is intended.
Fast-forward to classrooms teaching this practice or, better yet, classrooms where students are using this practice independently. They know how to use the tools and when to use them appropriately. Tools can be anything from mental math; pencil and paper; physical tools such as rulers, protractors, compasses, etc.; to calculators and computers. Mathematical tools also include graphic organizers, charts, tables, and manipulatives. What is critical in the development of this practice is that students are given opportunities to use each tool and to learn when its use is appropriate.
Lately the news is filled with stories of discrimination, hate, and violence. One example is an interview I watched last week with a young man from Ferguson, Missouri. He was standing on the sidewalk dressed in a tank top and low-slung jeans. I don’t remember his exact words, but he said something like, “A cop comes up and he says, ‘Pull up those jeans; you look like a criminal.’ What am I supposed to do with that?”
Now I have no doubt that the officers in Ferguson, and everywhere in the world, have dealt with enough problem characters to be tempted to categorize people on sight. I also know without a doubt that every kid in baggy pants is not out to rob, pillage, and plunder. Police men and women have tough, dangerous jobs and often have to make quick judgments. As educators, we are often tempted to make judgments just as quickly when we meet new students.
Our series on the mathematical practices continues by looking at a practice that is often grouped with the one we will discuss in our next blog. Both require an understanding of the content in a way that allows you to represent it. If you are like me, when you read this blog post’s title, “Models with Mathematics,” you think manipulatives. However, the practice we will discuss here is not about manipulatives; it is about using mathematical symbols to represent a situation.
The contest is simple: if you are in the education field, you are eligible. Simply write a blog post about one of the four topics provided and submit it by October 17, 2014. We will choose the top 3 entries and invite the public to vote on which they like best. The entry that earns the most votes wins! The blog contest winner can then start writing one blog per month, valued at $100.
For more details, please visit www.voyagersopriscontest.com.
Happy blogging and good luck!