Week 19 – Bring On The Primes

Week 19 – Bring On The Primes

I made a short film this week on my lesson on primes and prime factorization in my 6th grade math class.  It's one of the first lessons I've use manipulatives in that class.  I share my struggle with using manipulatives in the video, as well as what worked with the lesson, what didn't, and what I would change for next time. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=282M_kTxtTM It was really fun to make the video, but it's hard to be teacher and filmmaker at the same time.  I was wanting to really hear what they were saying but also wanted to make sure I was…
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Week 18 – Fractions, Why Are You So Difficult!?

Week 18 – Fractions, Why Are You So Difficult!?

It's the end of the first week back.  I got my new group of Robotics students, we began with some divisibility and exponents in 6th Grade Math, and we're exploring multiplying rational numbers in Pre-Algebra. Robotics Robotics is just a semester course so I have a new group this semester.  Last semester was nine 7th-8th grade boys.  This semester is eleven 6th grade boys, a 7th grade girl, and and a 7th grade boy.  Really different dynamic, but almost all of them I've had in math class before.  The semester feels like it's running a bit on autopilot since not…
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Week 15 – Hooked Them On A Tuesday, Lost Them On A Thursday

Week 15 – Hooked Them On A Tuesday, Lost Them On A Thursday

It was our first week back from Thanksgiving break.  After this week, we have one more week of class left and a week of mid-terms.  Had some pretty significant high points this week as well as some points of pretty stark disengagement on the students parts, which was partially my fault.   (more…)
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Inquiry-Based Lesson on Arithmetic Property

Inquiry-Based Lesson on Arithmetic Property

Below is a slide show I plan on using for my lesson on properties (commutative, associative, identity, and inverse) for my 7th grade Pre-Algebra class.  They will answer a couple questions, I'll have them share their thought process and drawings, asking them probing questions and having them convince the rest of us of their thinking.  The questions will be as follows: Does the order of you multiply numbers matter? Why or why not? Explain and draw a picture. Does the order you add numbers matter? Why or why not? Explain and draw a picture. [HERE I SHARE THAT THIS IS THE…
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Project Week – A Short Documentary

Project Week – A Short Documentary

I just finished my first year here at The Khabele School in Austin, TX.  The vision of the school is to be a place where students fall in love with learning, realize their profound beauty, and live with courage and authenticity.  One of the ways that plays out is with Project Week. "If you could do whatever you wanted for a week, what would you do?" That's the question students are trying to answer and explore with Project Week. Below is a short documentary I filmed about the whole process.
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Challenges Of An Inquiry Based Math Classroom- Part 2

Challenges Of An Inquiry Based Math Classroom- Part 2

Check out 'Challenges Of An Inquiry Based Math Classroom Part 1' to see how I develop inquiry through dialogue & discussions in my classroom. Another way I've tried to develop a little bit more inquiry and curiosity in mathematics is through Dan Meyer's 3-Act-Problems (check out Meyer's TED talk on math education in the US if you're interested).  I had heard of these 3-Act-Problems for a long while but didn't actually try one out until later in the year.  The 3-Act comes from the idea of how a story unfolds; Act 1 is where you grab your audiences attention, Act…
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Challenges Of An Inquiry-Based Math Classroom- PART 1

Challenges Of An Inquiry-Based Math Classroom- PART 1

I'm about to finish my 4th year of teaching.  This was my first year as a middle school math teacher and my first year really trying to create an inquiry-based math classroom.  It's hard. What is an inquiry based math classroom? I generally see it as getting students curious about mathematics and driven to understand and explore and willing to fail. How do you generate curiosity and inquiry about mathematics? I did several things this year.  At the root of a lot of it, I made space for discussion and dialogue in small and large groups.  When presented with most problems in class,…
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