The 55th Northwest Mathematics Conference in Yakima October 21-23 was AMAZING! My mind is still whirling with all the pedagogy and math that I learned from four amazing women of math.
Ruth Parker, the inventor of Number Talks, took a room full of math teachers through a Number Talk. Without using rules or algorithms, we had to come up with the answer for
81 – 26
AND we had to explain our strategy AND come up with more than one strategy. No “BORROWING.” I came to appreciate the value of the number line in solving addition and subtraction problems.
We came up with over 10 different ways to calculate the difference.
Ruth explained the teacher moves she was using as she led us through the Number Talk. Here’s a link to a Teaching Channel video of a 6th grade example of a Number Talk. https://www.teachingchannel.org/videos/number-talks-for-assessments
Two big ideas that Ruth stressed: Math has to
- make sense.
- be safe for kids.
Melinda Knapp of Oregon State University Bend shared ways to support productive struggle (PS) in the classroom. My takeaways from her session were:
- STOP rescuing kids when they struggle!
- Teach the value of productive struggle.
- Plan rich and challenging tasks for students.
- Plan purposeful questions.
Shannon McCaw taught us three strategies that can turn routine assignments into engaging activities where students have time to think, time to work with a partner, and a chance to check their work. Check out the website: ccssmathactivities.com
- Always, Sometimes, Never. Smarter Balanced assessments include “always true, sometimes true, or never true” prompts.
- Partner Math. My students really enjoyed this strategy. They didn’t realize how much math they were doing.
- Ticket Time. A super quick way to get formative data on student learning.
Leslie Nielson of Puget Sound ESD and Corelaborate took us through an amazingly deep and rich task involving quadratic equations. She modeled using roles—facilitator, resource manager, product manager and equity monitor. She also modeled effective talk moves. I am going to use her activity and adapt it to linear functions and trig functions.
In another session Leslie took us through a “10 Minute Talk.” The difference between a 10-Minute Talk and a Number Talk is that learners can write down their thoughts. The prompt was: Use as many representations as you can to illustrate that there are three times as many cats as there are dogs at the pet store. As we shared our thoughts, Leslie pushed us to add on to the thinking of others—a great talk move.
Four amazing women. Each providing leadership and promoting productive struggle, engaging activities and rich tasks.
Married to Larry, an old Coast Guard salt and amazing man.I get to share Larry with our yellow lab, Sherman.