Saturday, September 12, 2015

MTBoS, How Do I Love Thee? Let Me Count the Ways.

I really don't know many of them personally. I mean, I feel like I know them, but they don't really know me. I read their very relatable posts and sometimes even read through their twitter banter at night before going to bed. I may make a small comment here or there, but mostly I just favorite their tweets and save their blogs and post them on my High School Math Lesson Plans Pinterest board for later use or to share.

Who am I speaking of? Those in the MTBoS = Math Twitter Blogosphere. You can google anything you're looking for in the MTBoS here, or you can subscribe to and get them delivered right to your proverbial door, or in my case, iPhone (you can save them here in categories as well.)

You know that song, It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year? I am such a dork. I actually hum that to myself in the morning, replacing the word year with "day," as I sip my coffee and read through blogs before work. And yesterday I threw my lesson out the window in my Honors Problem Solving Seminar when I read the blog posted on BetterQs, written by Dan Anderson. He wrote about this Ted Talk below. WATCH IT!! It's fantastic, and not only did my kids love it (it's counterintuitive--the best kind of learning occurs, in my opinion, when it is--be sure to stop the video when it says so you don't get the answer), but so did the students and colleagues that came in during a routine tour of the school. In fact, my colleagues were still working on it at lunch and did get it (with much joy) when I gave them Dan's hint: What have you tried that hasn't worked? Great question. I will be using that question and the bridge puzzle, I am sure, for years to come in my teaching career. I will give it to my other classes when they need a brain break (though truly, it is no break for the brain!!)

I took what I saw on the MTBoS and added some personal flair, I guess you could say, because for homework, I gave them the assignment below: 

And then they have to fill out this form for their e-journal:

I am looking forward to their responses (and perhaps hearing from their parents or teachers.)

The week before, the same thing happened. I was looking through tweets this time. My former colleague and newly discovered twitter buddy and problem solver extraordinaire, mrdardy, suggested that perhaps I should tweet up with Wendy Menard, who also has a problem solving class. (Love that he felt like a matchmaker! It's the beauty of the MTBoS.) We shared ideas, and I saw a retweet:
And of course I had to watch this awesome video about a math major who explains why math is scary, but why you shouldn't be scared of is fantastic and I showed it to one class so far, and my students agreed with all of it...especially the students who love math that get the crazy looks from people when they tell them math is their favorite subject! (PS: to Wendy...I think I suggested for you to watch this with your class, when now I realize I got this from you!)

And then there's Sarah at You can get a new idea or 12 every time you read her blog. But I saw her tweet the other day, and I can't wait to do it in my class!
I could go on and on. That's why the article that Glenn Waddell entitled NYT, YOU BLEW IT really resonated with me. Why pay teachers for their ideas when you can give and get for free through the MTBoS? My teaching has completely changed in the last year that I have discovered the rich, limitless resources out there, and I know it's helped a few of my colleagues, too. I signed up for Teachers Paying Teachers initially a few years ago, and followed some blogs from there, too. But I felt like I was reading a sales pitch every time, and I quickly removed them from my list of blogs. It's not that I don't like what they are doing, it's just not for me. Good for them for making money. But I'm just fine sharing and gaining these incredible ideas for free.

Each and every day in the MTBoS, I get a new idea. Which means each and every day, my students get to try out something new that hooks them in that I never would have done to begin with. And no, I'm not losing class time. I'm gaining student interest in math. And that is something that can never be lost.


1 comment:

Darko Mittmeric said...

Just googled "mtbos counting problems" and I got to this blog entry, which doesn't pertain exactly to what I was looking for but is cool enough to give me something to do tomorrow--thanks! :-P