Round Up of Week Two of the Math Blogging Initiation

Hello all! Welcome to the round up of the second week of the math blogging initiation. Today I will be featuring 14 posts by math teacher bloggers — out of over 120 that participated this time ’round. Again, zowee!!!

As soon as the other bloggers have finished putting up their posts featuring the participants of the blogger initiation, I will include the links in this post. Apologies for the terse reactions. I am exhausted, and literally fell asleep while trying to read the posts and write my thoughts. Sorry!

Jasmine | Jazmath

Jasmine has a blog named Jazmath. The second post for the Blogging Initiation is titled “First Day” and the author sums it up as follows: “The first days of school are full of excitement and newness. Sometimes we forget about those terrible days when we just don’t want to go to school tomorrow. I am hoping to record what is going well now so that I can draw on that when things are tough later in the year.” A memorable quotation from the post is: “Yesterday was not one of those days where I question my qualifications to teach, but calculus class reminded me of those times. “

My Response: Without going into a disquisition as to why, there is a lot I have in common with the author of this post. Both teach at small independent schools with great faculties, we both teach calculus, and we both have high expectations for our kiddos. 

Evan Weinberg | gealgerobophysiculus

Evan Weinberg @emwdx has a blog named gealgerobophysiculus. The second post for the Blogging Initiation is titled “Flipping, Week 1: Stop the Blabbing” and the author sums it up as follows: “In addition to doing standards based grading, I’ve been trying to move all my direct instruction to two minute chunks of video that students watch in class. This is after I saw how effective this was in some courses I took from Udacity (http://www.udacity.com). Students aren’t sitting and listening for long, and I can quickly move to help students that understand the concepts quickly to move on to higher level tasks around the material. Those that need more time can get it, as well as ask questions and get help from me or other students.” A memorable quotation from the post is: “Moving to a more student-centered learning model though has made the students in charge of making sure they understand what they are learning.”

My Response: Regardless of your opinion on the flipped classroom, this is absolutely in my opinion required reading for all math teacher bloggers out there. High praise for a fantastic post. I wanted to underline every other line of it. Probably because the realizations in here are things that I’ve been slowly making in the five years I’ve been teaching… most are there!

Craig Ortner | Mr. Ortner

Craig Ortner cortner has a blog named Mr. Ortner. The second post for the Blogging Initiation is titled “… – the math part was less memorable.” and the author sums it up as follows: “A meta-rumination on one of the prompts.” A memorable quotation from the post is: “… – the math part was less memorable.”

My Response: I would be so happy if my kids remembered any math at their ten year reunion. Anything! 

Sarah Miller | Proof in the City

Sarah Miller has a blog named Proof in the City. The second post for the Blogging Initiation is titled “Upcoming Project I am Super Excited About” and the author sums it up as follows: “A brief summary of a project my kids will do soon, where they will perform an experiment to determine if two values have a linear relationship.” A memorable quotation from the post is: “I love that it will (hopefully) clarify and deeply define what “linear” is, in a way other than “it makes a line.””

My Response: Hello math-science collaborations! I love it! It’s so important and I wish we did more of it at my school. As for the question for things that are possibly linear, I seem to remember Kate Nowak had a post where she asked people for help coming up with things that form linear relationships, and got a zillion (or fifty) comments. I’m too exhausted to look it up, but I think with some searching good things will come up!

Mrs Crackers Math | Check Your Work

Mrs Crackers Math has a blog named Check Your Work. The second post for the Blogging Initiation is titled “On posting learning objectives…” and the author sums it up as follows: “In my new district (my first at a public school) my administrators and colleagues are very gung ho about posting learning objectives. I just can’t get excited about it and my blog post explains why.” A memorable quotation from the post is: “…that there objective is just plain icky.”

My Response: Here is an interesting question… is posting daily objectives too restrictive and “give away” the conclusions that the class is suppose to discover together? This is a great question that I’ve never thought of, but yes, maybe posting objectives is kinda icky. I don’t usually post them (I teach in many different rooms), but I always felt guilty. Now I feel like I’ve accidentally made a good decision all along.

Pippi | Pippi’s Adventures in Teaching

Pippi has a blog named Pippi’s Adventures in Teaching. The second post for the Blogging Initiation is titled “Learning” and the author sums it up as follows: “I have no illusions that my students need to know the details of physics in their everyday lives. Sure, physics can be applied to sports and driving and cell phones, but they’re right when they say that they can get through life perfectly well without knowing how. But I hope there are skills and, strangely enough, feelings from my class that they carry along with them for a long time.” A memorable quotation from the post is: “I hope she remembers what it feels like to look at a page that looks like gibberish one week, and the feeling of each word and symbol slowly coming into focus and making sense.”

My Response: Here are some nice bigger goals for a physics classroom, instead of content-only goals. 

haversine | Bowditch’s Apprentice

haversine has a blog named Bowditch’s Apprentice. The second post for the Blogging Initiation is titled “Playing Games in calculus” and the author sums it up as follows: “I found a paper-based game about identifying the rules needed to take derivatives of various expressions, and turned it into an interactive smartboard game. My students loved it!” A memorable quotation from the post is: “I quickly found that my students loved anything I could turn into a game.”

My Response: I pretty much use all of Maria Andersen’s calculus games. This is one I had somehow missed. But it’s great, for calculus!

Tofer Carlson | teachertofer

Tofer Carlson has a blog named teachertofer. The second post for the Blogging Initiation is titled “Hope for My Children*” and the author sums it up as follows: “This post is a response to an xkcd comic about our society’s habit of using one woman to stand in for her gender when completing tasks have been more commonly completed by men in the past.” A memorable quotation from the post is: “When I have children (*sometime in the not-so-near future), I hope identity comes easy, and gender-roles are anything but traditional–little girls catching snakes, before going to tap class and playing ice-hockey; or boys who learn to sew while building lego forts for their pirates to take back from Raggedy Ann.”

My Reaction: Gender and math classes is something I only started thinking about after my first year of teaching. But it was clear to me that, in my school at least, girls were more often playing “learned helplessness” while guys wouldn’t ask for extra help. I think one must be conscious of these things though it can be tough.

Tangent Vector | Tangent Vectors

Tangent Vector @TangentVectors has a blog named Tangent Vectors. The second post for the Blogging Initiation is titled “In 10 years…” and the author sums it up as follows: “In this post I pretend that I’m not egotistical and don’t care whether or not I’m remembered in 10 years. Fine, maybe I do care just a little–but in all honesty, the rational side of me believes every word I wrote.” A memorable quotation from the post is: “Frankly, if in 10 years my former students are well-functioning members of society–good citizens who exercise critical thought and aren’t hoodwinked by the many propaganda machines that seemingly grow in number, ferocity, and audacity each year–that would give me plenty of satisfaction.”

My Reaction: Okra as unpleasant? Come on now!

Kelly Berg | The M Stands for Math

Kelly Berg @kmbergie has a blog named The M Stands for Math. The second post for the Blogging Initiation is titled “Pick up the milk carton please” and the author sums it up as follows: “Quit complaining. Just do it.” A memorable quotation from the post is: “Complaining about the issues and doing nothing is like eating slimy okra.”

My Reaction: Kelly is going through a lot of changes right now. But one thing she knows is to not surround herself with negativity.

Ann Gorsuch | angorsuch

Ann Gorsuch @AnnGorsuch has a blog named anngorsuch. The second post for the Blogging Initiation is titled “Random Tidbits” and the author sums it up as follows: “Does anyone have recommendations for good blogs, RSS feeds, or websites that I can add to my Zite magazine and google reader? Also, anyone with me on feeling under-prepared to differentiate and accommodate students with special needs? What should I do? Lastly, if you like racing, check out my Triathlon problem that has students solving systems of equations.” A memorable quotation from the post is: “Nothing re-inspires me more than reading a few good articles on my Zite or google reader.”

My Response: I don’t know about this Zite magazine thing (haven’t used it before), but I should definitely check it out someday soon.

loveteachingmaths | love teaching maths

loveteachingmaths has a blog named love teaching maths. The second post for the Blogging Initiation is titled “Grade C Card Sort” and the author sums it up as follows: “It is a review of a resource I have used with a borderline C/D class.” A memorable quotation from the post is: “I teach a few GCSE resit groups and I found this resource on the TES website and thought it was fantastic.”

My Response: A simple idea for groupwork. Often times, the simplest ideas are the best ideas.

Nancy | Infinitely many solutions

Nancy has a blog named Infinitely many solutions. The second post for the Blogging Initiation is titled “Venn diagrams” and the author sums it up as follows: “This post is about using Venn diagrams to compare and contrast math concepts and procedures.” A memorable quotation from the post is: “So one way I like to help them make connections is to use Venn Diagrams in class to compare concepts or procedures to see what they have in common as well as how they differ.”

My Response: Nancy’s post on Venn Diagrams reminds me of foldables, and how useful they are for cataloguing, but also comparing and constrasting. This idea of using Venn diagrams for organizing information is pretty fantastic. Simple, but as I stated above, simple ideas are often the best ideas.

mathaholic | Confessions of a Mathaholic

mathaholic has a blog named Confessions of a Mathaholic. The second post for the Blogging Initiation is titled “BFT” and the author sums it up as follows: “It’s a chart form of the special trig values, to emphasize patterns and relationships between the columns and rows.” A memorable quotation from the post is: “So all we need are 5 little values to get the entire table.”

My Response: This seems like an interesting idea for how to organize basic trig values/relationships. I especially like that students are on the lookout for observations and patterns when analyzing a table of trig graphs.

Update: Posts featuring all the others bloggers participating in the second week of the Math Blogging Initiation:

Julie, Fawn, Anne, Megan, Bowman, Sam, Lisa, John, Shelli, Tina, Kate, Sue

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