Thursday night, I printed off a packet of handouts from a session I’d led at KCM conference in 2012, simply because there was a data collection activity “Look Out Below!” I wanted to use in class on Friday. As I flipped through the pages, I was taken back by what I used to do. And it made me sad. I walked in Friday morning, straight over to a colleague’s room and asked for accountability these last few weeks of school.
Multiple times the past several months I have been directed back to 5 Practices for Orchestrating Productive Mathematics Discussions, Smith and Stein 2011. I read the in book even participated in a chat. The following school year, I implemented a few lessons purposefully using this structure. I found that the FALs from Mathshell often followed the same format. It led to great discussions, thinking and sharing in my classroom. So, what happened? A rut. I still used the structure, but not intentionally planning NEW lessons, just recycling the ones I’d become comfortable with.
Last November, I attended an ACT Boot Camp sponsored by@UKPIMSER, one of the strategies shared was the 5 practices! This winter, we had 8 Non-Traditional Instructional Days in our district- where students / teachers participated in learning tasks during Snow Days. Our department used NCTMs Principles to Actions book, focusing on the 8 Mathematics Teaching Practices, one of which was promoting whole class discourse, and using Smith & Stein’s outline. This spring, I have come across several chats mentioning the 5Practices for discourse.
Just today, I read @marybourassa’s post Day 80 Ropes and Systems, that described how she used a chart to track observations and conversations inspired by this book. I also read @bridgetdunbar’s Teach Math as a Story post as well as watched @gfletchy’s Ignite Talk on becoming an 83%er – one who is asking questions to effectively engage students… We must focus on task planning – better questions (Frank’s hot sauce!) in order to listen to our students rather than for their responses. (S/O @maxmathforum 2>4 Ignite!).
As soon as I arrived home, I grabbed a box from the shelf to get out my #5pracs for a revisit. And all these treasures were there with it!
As I flipped through my book, I found these notes…penned on the last day of summer break, on a final trip to the water park, I’m assuming 2012…reading while my daughter and her friend splashed in the wave pool.
I was preparing for the first few days / unit of Algebra 2…
So, here’s my goal for the #MTBoS30 challenge: to revisit #5pracs and plan a couple of intentional lessons, ask better questions, monitor observations and conversations – maybe even record with my phone in pocket and see if can accomplish some of the “Try This” Smith & Stein have outlined in their book.
I’m asking for accountability, MTBoS. Mayday! Mayday!
The title, I thought was fitting, rather than sink these last few weeks – which normally kick my butt, I am determined to finish strong in an effort to leave a great impression with my budding, almost 10th graders – allowing them to see that math is more than just math.
mayday (interj.) distress call, 1923, apparently an Englished spelling of French m’aider, shortening of venez m’aider “come help me!” But possibly a random coinage with coincidental resemblance:
“May Day” Is Airplane SOS
ENGLISH aviators who use radio telephone transmitting sets on their planes, instead of telegraph sets, have been puzzling over the problem of choosing a distress call for transmission by voice. The letters SOS wouldn’t do, and just plain “help!” was not liked, and so “May Day” was chosen. This was thought particularly fitting since it sounds very much like the French m’aidez, which means “help me.” [“The Wireless Age,” June 1923]