I hope you’ve enjoyed your summer as much as I have! WOW, it was an eventful summer for me. I was in Europe for most of July….which was absolutely amazing. I only math geeked out a bit- see some math I found on a wall in Paris in the photo below.
I also did a TEDx talk “Busting Math Myths” at Royal Roads University! I will post to let you know when it has gone through the final editing process and is posted on YouTube and TED.com! It was such an incredible process. I was so fortunate to have a tremendous speech coach, Marc Stoiber, and met some really interesting people. I also received some really powerful feedback from the audience members who are now rethinking their entire self-perceptions of not being a ‘math person’. Check out Sheena below, who at the age of 48 finally believes she can do math! That made my day!
‘I encourage teachers to teach Math like they would Language Arts’
Now, back to business! At this time of the year, as many of you are already back at school beginning your preparations for September (I’m forever in awe of the dedication of you, my colleagues!) it is likely you are thinking about scope and sequence of your math curriculum. Some people just use a textbook and follow along but these don’t actually always follow the curriculum and sometimes include a lot of extraneous topics that leave us feeling like we’re teaching ‘an inch deep and a mile wide’. I find that when I start with the curriculum, I see natural combinations, such as teaching probability in my fractions unit since probability is an application of fractions. Another example for Grade 6 would be teaching factors at the same time as area and perimeter of rectangles using square tiles (see our video for this on www.educatingnow.com).
I encourage teachers to teach Math like they would Language Arts, covering many competencies and even content at once. This helps save time so that you can go deeper and spend more time on those really tricky topics that require it. If you are using a textbook, feel free to use it out of order as long as the order you choose is logical. Taking the time at the beginning of the year to really set out your sequence is key to a successful year. There are many right ways to do this. I hear debates about teaching decimals before fractions or vice versa. As long as your sequence is well thought out and you’re aware of the connections between concepts you will be ready to rock.
I have been a part of several math forums that are all excellent and I love the sharing of ideas and encouragements. One thing I have noticed though that I want to caution yo
u about is that many teachers are looking for lessons and activities for certain concepts but they are not necessarily looking at the bigger picture. Imagine if a movie director is only given one scene at a time to direct. This is likely not going to make a very connected nor good film as the director really needs to know the whole story including character motivations, plot etc. at the onset. This analogy is the same for teachers. If you are teaching grade 6 math for example and you don’t really know what they’ve done before or what comes next, or even why you’re supposed to be teaching a certain way, it will likely be disconnected.
It is really hard to provide teachers with Pro D to really understand why we are teaching math conceptually and how to do so in a way that is authentic, connected and engaging for students. To try to address this, I’ve created Educating Now and this is where our site differs from others. It isn’t just a collection of lessons and resources but also includes really valuable, bite-sized, professional development that is vital for giving you, the teacher, the overall big picture. If you want to learn more, I am doing some FREE webinars in the next few weeks – join me and you will receive special discounts for LIFETIME access to Educating Now.
Enjoy these last few days of summer!