Friday, November 10, 2017

Baby Steps and Bread Crumbs for Shifting Math Instruction

I've been thinking about this for a while now. I want to innovate my math classroom...

First, here are my constraints:
  • My curriculum which is Pearson Digits
  • My insane pacing guide which has me and  the teachers at my school and in my district teaching the same thing the same day etc...  We have common summative assessments that everyone gives on the same day.
  • We have weekly intervention for students who are struggling that we use our PLT Monday to pick students to go into based on common formative assessments that we give each week.
  • And finally students who want to sit and get rather than do the difficult work and are resistant to problem solving and mathematical thinking. The students are compliant instead of curious.
  • Also I've been GLAD trained this year so my site Administration expects me to integrate glad strategies in my math class as well.

I look at my constraints and I want to try and flip them and change my perspective of them being something that works against me into something that can support the Innovative learning environment that I want to create.
  • The curriculum is the foundational piece that will allow me to try other things while I'm teaching to the standards.
  • We have common summative assessments, again it's a foundational piece so I don't have to recreate a assessments.
  • The pacing guide also gives me a guideline and a structure to follow.
  • Having the built-in interventions for struggling students is a good thing.

Ways I want to innovate:
  • Jo Boaler’s youcubed
  • Fawn Nguyen's visual patterns
  • Robert Kaplinsky open middle and other math materials
  • Dan Meyer’s 3 ACT Math
  • Lisa Nowakowski's Math Reps
  • Engage New York, Illustrative math, Khan Academy, Math 360, Hyperdocs, Classroom Cribs
  • I also have real-life math activities that I created for my kids a few years ago that I would like to start creating again and here's a link to check them out.
  • Design thinking and design challenges
  • Makerspace
  • AND other great stuff also!

I want to spend the time to have the kids become problem solvers and mathematical thinkers and so time is an issue also because I am on the insane pacing guide and assessment timeline.

Because I'm new to my district this year I can't go Rogue which I normally would do because I could justify that I'm teaching the standards. Interestingly, the teachers that I'm working with want me to find a way to do this stuff and then show them how to do it. They have all this faith in me to change the way math is taught in the district.

I'd love to have a conversations with other math(or any content) people to consider this scenario which I think is very common in a lot of schools and districts to come up with a way to baby step the Innovation into the routine so we don't overwhelm the teachers and make it easily replicable.

I have an interesting perspective going back in the classroom after being an  instructional coach for 4 years.  I really want to find a way to work with the constraints that we all have in the classroom and find ways to truly innovate learning and instruction beyond following a curriculum and using a Chromebook as a digital textbook.

We have to start small and I think that's what I'm asking now that I've shared all this: what are the baby steps and/or the bread crumbs to start this journey and who else would like to join this conversation?

Let me know if you want to join the conversation.