Mission #3: Collaboration Nation

Tina here, excited to share this week’s new mission with you.

The awesome part about this community is all the sharing we do. Last week you experienced Twitter – that’s all about conversation. Twitter works for the short things we want to share – ideas, links, questions. The character limit is a bonus, it means no one is carrying on a monologue; Twitter is meant for dialogue.

Many times, those conversations leave you wanting more. You wish someone would elaborate on the thought they started in a tweet or share the entire lesson rather than a snippet. That’s where a blog comes in handy.

Sometimes, though, ideas are even bigger than a single person’s blog and turn into a theme that we compile or a new blog entirely (kind of like this one). This week is all about the things the MTBoS has accomplished when we join forces. These projects only work because people contribute to them, people like you! Some are places where people submit blog posts, so to participate this week you’ll write something to submit. Others are places to interact in other ways. So go ahead and explore, then post about the experience on your blog. I’ve offered suggested ways to interact and post, but feel free to complete the mission however you would like!

To be clear, your mission this week is to pick one (1, ein) of these sites to blog about. Maybe you’ll click through three of them before you settle on the one (I, unus) you want to use for your post. Maybe you’ve been meaning to try something and you’ll jump directly to that option without browsing the rest. However you decide to explore, the links you don’t click through to this week will be here for you to refer back to, as well as on the Resources Page. The goal of this entire Explore MTBoS experience is to introduce you to the wonders that the MathTwitterBlogoSphere has to offer, not to require mastery of all areas by the end of 8 weeks. You can continue exploring as time goes by and since you know yourself best, pick the one (-, ichi) you might continue to use.


  • Daily Desmos, @DailyDesmos: Have you tried the Desmos graphing calculator yet? Whether you have or not, the daily challenges that are posted at Daily Desmos are a great way to stretch your brain.
    To complete this mission: try to solve some of the challenges, share one with your students (the recent focus on linear graphs is particularly well suited for this) or submit a graph for guest post Fridays.
    For your blog post: share what graphs you interacted with and something cool you learned about Desmos in the process


  • 101questions, @ddmeyer: Have you seen something in the world lately that has you thinking “I know there’s a great math lesson in here somewhere?” That’s what all the people who have submitted to 101questions thought, and now they’re testing the theory on visitors to this site before presenting it to students.
    To complete this mission: Respond to the first few that randomly appear, search the database by grade level or submit your own photo or video.
    For your blog post: share what you found the most perplexing and why. Would you try a lesson based on one of these in your classes?


  • Estimation180, @mr_stadel: Looking for a warm-up to get your students’ brains in math mode? Estimation is a skill that frequently gets left out of upper level curriculum, but is key to critical thinking. This site is filled entirely with intriguing estimation puzzles.
    To complete this mission: Scan the archives and make some estimates of your own, then share with a group of students to see how strong their estimation muscles are or submit your own problem.
    For your blog post: share some ideas on how to incorporate estimation into your classroom.


  • VisualPatterns, @fawnpnguyen: This site is also great for warm-ups, or full-length lessons! This database of visual patterns is ideal for building reasoning skills, introducing variables and asking students to generalize.
    To complete this mission: Browse the available puzzles or submit your own. Solve some with a class or a student or a friend.
    For your blog post: share how you could use visual patterns in your curriculum and some characteristics of an appropriate pattern for that lesson.


  • Math Mistakes, @mpershan: All of our students make mistakes, sometimes it’s immediately obvious what they were thinking, but other times we have no idea what was going on in their brains or how to correct the misconception they have. This database offers us a place to practice finding misconceptions and discuss what the next step to take with a student might be.
    To complete this mission: Respond to the first few that randomly appear, search the database or submit your own photo of a student mistake.
    For your blog post: share how you help students identify their mistakes and learn from them.


  • One Good Thing, @rdpickle: This blog is a place for a few teachers to share our favorite moments from each day, the reasons we teach and the small celebrations of our and our students accomplishments. Teaching is exhausting and burnout happens all too often, One Good Thing reminds us why it’s worth the effort.
    To complete this mission: Read some posts
    For your blog post: Write a one good thing post on your own blog and if you want to regularly contribute, you can request to be added to the blog (tweet @rdpickle, @samjshah or @crstn85).

productive struggle

  • Productive Struggle, @crstn85: We ask students to engage in productive struggle, but often forget to engage in the same process as teachers. We have lessons that flop despite careful planning, and that’s normal! Productive Struggle is a place to get advice and put all of our expertise together to turn failures into successes.
    To complete this mission: Read some posts and leave comments (on the original poster’s blog if possible)
    For your blog post: Write about your own lesson that went poorly, ask for advice and then submit it!


  • Made4Math, @druinok: Love the dollar section at Target, fabric on your bulletin board or your label maker? You’ll be in good company at this blog!
    To complete this mission: Read some posts and leave comments (on the original poster’s blog)
    For your blog post: Write about a crafty-project you created for your classroom and submit it!


  • MS Sunday Funday, @jreulbach: Middle school teachers are taking over the blogging world, one theme at a time. They pick a theme to write about each week and then share all the posts on this page. They are playing along with Explore MTBoS instead of asking people to double post now, but don’t let that stop you from submitting!
    To complete this mission: Read some posts and leave comments (on the original poster’s blog)
    For your blog post: Write about a recent theme and submit it! (scroll down for the form)


  • #Matheme, @crstn85: Not a middle school teacher but still want to write about a theme? Check out the Math Themed Meme page. This page archives some topics that many people wrote about, either because it’s such an interesting topic or because someone organized a theme.
    To complete this mission: Read some posts and leave comments (on the original poster’s blog)
    For your blog post: Write about any of the themes and submit it! Note: we are going to have a Day in the Life week as part of Explore MTBoS, so don’t use that theme unless you want to do it twice!


  • Mathagogy, @pepsmccrea: Is the written word just not enough for you? Itching to get inside of all these classrooms to see how it really works? Mathagogy lets you do just that, in two minute videos of classroom activities.
    To complete this mission: Watch a video or three and leave a comment or three.
    For your blog post: Write about a lesson you watched and how it will change your approach to that topic, or take some video of your own, write about the lesson and submit it!


  • Collaborative Mathematics, @CollaboMath: Here’s another site with video. This one poses a problem via a short clip, then people respond via video as well. The challenges are intended to cultivate creativity, resourcefulness, self-confidence, and perseverance.
    To complete this mission: Pick a challenge, ponder it, watch the video responses, leave a comment.
    For your blog post: Write about your solution or your analysis of other solutions or post a video and submit it!

I know these aren’t all the collaborative sites out there because while brainstorming this list with the Explore MTBoS team I was introduced to two new ones! So, feel free to share other sites we should add to this list and please don’t feel left out if I skipped your pet project!

When you’ve completed this week’s mission:

  1. Leave a comment on this post – include a url that leads directly to your blog post and a snippet that might convince me to follow the url.
  2. Comment on the blogs of the three commenters above you because they’re awesome and deserve to hear it!
  3. Just because last week was Twitter week doesn’t mean we’re done with Twitter! Tweet your blog post. Use a hashtag and include some extra words (beyond the title which is all wordpress autotweets) so people are more likely to find the post and want to click on it. Go ahead and mention the Twitter account associated with the site, they’ll be excited to see you wrote about it (even if they’re too busy to say thank you, I promise they’re excited).

72 thoughts on “Mission #3: Collaboration Nation

  1. Thank you for posting the third mission so early! I discussed one good thing from this week to get me back on track with enjoying teaching. Lately I felt like I’ve been battling teacher burn-out. http://busybeebe.blogspot.com/2013/10/exploring-mtbos-post-3.html

  2. Just posted my challenge response at http://mrdardy.wordpress.com/2013/10/20/mtbos-mission-3-daily-desmos/ I took on a Desmos challenge and shared a Desmos project that my kiddos worked on a few weeks back and I shared a link to my swing at a Daily Desmos challenge. We have a small portion of classes at our school with mounted projectors and I am lucky enough to teach in one of those rooms one period a day. That’s where my precalc class is.

  3. Glad to see Mission 3 and I am excited that I have already visited all but the last 2. Can’t wait to do this week’s mission. Thanks!

  4. Another great challenge this week! I love “One Good Thing” and I definitely needed to focus on the positive after a rough week, so I wrote about a positive moment from Friday.

  5. Haven’t done this challenge yet … but just want to say, it’s an excellent one! I love this master list (and yes, there may be more to add) of collaborative sites! I’ll be sharing this list with colleagues for sure. It may well be a way to demonstrate the “why” online participation is so valuable!

  6. Just posted my challenge response at http://cheesemonkeysf.blogspot.com/2013/10/using-exeter-problems-as-intro-to.html . I took on the challenge of blending old and new by talking about how I used a subset of Exeter Math 1 problems with the National Library of Virtual Manipulatives (NLVM) to introduce my Algebra 1 students to algebra tiles.

    – Elizabeth (@cheesemonkeysf)

  7. Here is my challenge response – I really enjoyed doing it, although the technology side of it meant it took me a long time:( http://missquinnmaths.wordpress.com/2013/10/20/subtraction-strategies-the-problem-of-mixing-practice-and-challenge/
    Have you considered including Nrich as a resource, or perhaps ‘Median’ (Don Steward’s blog) – I find both to be great goldmines, although they may seem a bit odd to an American audience.

  8. My latest blog post: http://computergeekmathnerd.wordpress.com/2013/10/20/mtbos-mission-3/
    Nothing too exciting or new, just my opinions on the sites proposed. Enjoy!

  9. Reblogged this on I Speak Math and commented:

    Misson #3 is now live! Don’t worry if you did not do the first two missions, you can jump in at any time! It will be beneficial for you to blog about the missions, but we understand if you get crazy busy with school and run out of time. If this happens, please don’t quit all together! Just jump in when you can and participate as much as your schedule allows. The payoff will equal (if not be greater than) the time you spend. I promise! 🙂

  10. I decided to use the visual math website with my students last week. I blogged about our experience here: http://educationalaspirations.com/2013/10/20/visualpatterns/

  11. My post about Daily Desmos in response to this week’s challenge.

    • I first learned about Desmos from a student and find it hard to believe that such a quality tool is free. Th Daily Desmos is new to me and I will try it out this week with kids. I have used 101 questions but was not familiar with the other two sites. Impressed you have used them all.

    • Mike, great blog post. I’d like to leave a comment on the post itself but it looks as though comments are disabled. I’m intrigued by the ‘daily’ aspect of the Desmos community. What did you find helpful in becoming a contributer? Also, I’ve tried Desmos a couple of times on my own. It has some great sliders and such, but is there any way for me to import information to it? If so, I haven’t found it.

  12. I discovered Estimation 180 through my middle school math blogs on Feedly over the past year. A few weeks ago, I wrote about how I am incorporating daily Estimation 180 in my classroom as part of my daily do now’s: http://mrsaitoromath.blogspot.com/2013/07/accessible-mathematics-introduction.html

    My kids are 100% engaged in these Estimation 180 challenges, for which they write a LOW, HIGH, and REAL estimate on the blackboard as they arrive in class. They also record their estimations on the worksheet that is available on the website.

    • Jes8284, I wanted to leave this post on your blog, but I couldn’t find a place to add a comment.
      I appreciate how you took concepts from a conference and decided to implement them with grit. You did it all year! I’m impressed. Did you notice a difference in how well your students were able to estimate or use number sense? I’ve toyed with warm-ups but I never find them useful enough (student learning) for the amount of time they take in class. Maybe I just didn’t stick with it long enough.

  13. My goal: be less of a leech on VisualPatterns.org. I’ve submitted a pattern to a site I think I’ll use for years to come. But I couldn’t think of the ‘best’ question to ask about the pattern. Any suggestions?

  14. Teachers are always learning! MTBoS makes it fun:)

  15. Just posted a blog post (my second ever!) of all the math ed resources I know, more for myself than anything, but I thought it felt useful to make a record of them somewhere. Maybe you’ll see something you didn’t know about! http://onebattle.wordpress.com/2013/10/21/useful-resources/

  16. Mission #3 complete! I posted my blog, “Got Estimation?”, on my website: http://www.thatmathlady.com/blog1. @thatmathlady

    • Keep fighting the good fight. Change is never easy but your kids will see the difference!

    • We are all experiencing these kinds of changes together. It’s AWESOME that we can support each other as we do that.

      • Hi Valarion, I’ll reply here since your blog will only allow people on Google circles to post replies and I don’t really use that (yet). Really enjoyed your post about Estimation 180, I chose that for my MTBoS mission #3 too. I loved how you had the students line up from shortest to tallest estimate and watched them figure it out for themselves!

  17. I enjoyed playing with these resources and am looking forward to looking thru more of them.
    1. I wrote about how I would like to use Daily Desmos and how to restrict the domain. I also wrote about what I would like to do with Estimation 180 for the teachers in my district at berry.ggmatter.com

  18. What Would Neil deGrasse Tyson Do?

    “After poking through, and responding to, the first few tens of pictures (they’re kinda addicting), I thought that I might be messing with the math-y-ness of the project: I mostly asked how things worked rather than math questions. Then I realized, hey, that’s just fine.”

  19. My blog post for Mission #3 can be found here: http://allthegoryalgebra.blogspot.com.au/2013/10/mtbos-mission-3-collaboration.html I chose to blog about Estimation 180 from an Australian perspective with an example of a change I would have to make for my students.

  20. I looked at Estimation 180 and my blog about it is here:
    I like the idea of using the site regularly to build up estimation skills and number sense more generally.

  21. I love Desmos and I want my students to love it, too.
    Post: Using Desmos Art to help students understand functions:

  22. Here is my blog: http://mathnerdjet.wordpress.com/2013/10/23/fun-with-daily-desmos/
    “So I did a couple of the basic challenges on Daily Desmos and I was pleased with my trigonometric transformational approach.” My post also includes a link to a really insightful piece from the Math Mistakes site.

  23. Here’s my post:
    I love One Good Thing because I like to hear about the good things in other people’s days; it reminds me to always look for the good in my day. Today’s good thing came from a completely unexpected source, and it was so good, in part, because I had to wait a year for it. Tell me what you think.

  24. I geeked out on Visual Patterns today! Here are my thoughts, and a sketch of a plan for how I will implement this in my Algebra-level Math 1 Class. Thanks for a great new tool MTBoS folks! http://mathishappeningnow.blogspot.com/2013/10/mission-3-what-else-is-happening-out.html

  25. What great sites … had to go with One Good Thing.
    Here is my one good (great) thing. Giving that struggling student some 1-on-1 time and seeing their confidence grow, is why I love going to work!

  26. I have written a short post for Mission #3. I have to say that Visual Patterns is a site that is awesome to use in the Algebra classroom http://croitz.blogspot.com/2013/10/mission-3-mtbos-collaboration-nation.html

  27. Written about my reconnection with 101qs and wondering whether 3Act lessons are as rich mathematically as they could be. http://joiningupthemaths.wordpress.com/2013/10/25/mbtos-challenge-3-collaboration-nation/

  28. Good gracious, these resources are astounding! As one who teaches many subjects to first graders, I had no idea there was this kind of collaboration happening among math teachers. I wrote about my favorite sites: http://jenorr.com/?p=888

  29. Here’s my mission 3 post on how to use Math Mistakes in my classroom: http://www.coetail.com/wjmarkert/2013/10/26/math-mistakes/

  30. Loved the mission this week! Can’t wait to share some of these sites with my colleagues! Love resources made by teachers for teachers! They are always so user-friendly. I can open some of these sites up on my computer and project them to the students, and they’re on their way!
    My post this week can be found at http://lsquared76.wordpress.com/2013/10/26/mtbos-mission-3/ It is on Fawn’s Visual Patterns blog and using it with my Honors Precalculus students.

  31. “After a couple of days the kids came to class excitedly asking, ‘Are we gonna do another video today?'”

  32. There is no “upper grades” or” lower grade” maths! Math is math and that’s why functions work in 1st grade for strategy development! Visual Patterns and Functions: How Input/Output Tables Belong in 1st Grade.

  33. I know I am a bit late with this…busy week…but here is my take on Estimation 180

  34. Gregory Taylor (@mathtans)
    “Why has this entire post turned into what I’d deem an Unproductive Struggle?? Ugh. Let me know if you see something.”

  35. This was a great mission, because I now have a bookmark folder full of collaborative sites to use later. I visited every single site just to see what was there; a couple of them weren’t responding (too much traffic?) so I’ll try again tomorrow. I spent the most time on the Desmos Daily Challenge and did a short blog post at http://allrealnumbers.edublogs.org/. On to Mission #4!

  36. @unmuddlemath here, just catching up with my #3 mission after a busy week. Please check out my post at http://unmuddlemath.blogspot.com/2013/10/mtbos-mission-3-collaboration-nation.html, where I quickly review how each of the sites listed might work for my teaching situation and share a link to my first contribution to the MTBoS world at Made4Math.

  37. Well I enjoyed this week checking over the different sites. I chose to comment on Estimation 180 as I started using it this year. http://faithhopeandmath.blogspot.com/ Preview: But honestly some days I just wonder what were you thinking???
    Find out why by reading my blog.

  38. Content is not necessarily skill. I’m excited to utilize estimation skills in Algebra I. Ever heard of a number free coordinate plane? Me neither, but I’m making one!

  39. Post: http://mathinate.wordpress.com/2013/10/27/mtbos-mission-3/
    “The math teachers of the MTBoS have done an outstanding job of making interesting resources available. Just reading through the mission, I saw so many sites that I’ve heard of and used, and then there are even more to look through! I couldn’t pick just one to blog about.”

  40. Continuing my ode to Visual Patterns:
    I’ve found how to incorporate these into all levels of my classes, from remedial math to college algebra. Wonderful stuff they have made at visualpatterns.org

  41. Jonathan Newman (@newmjh3)
    Mission #3: SBG Makes Grading Fun & Math Mistakes
    Post Link: http://wp.me/p2Eyr8-if

    Here I talk about how I actually enjoy grading more now because I’m using SBG. I also talk about why Michael Pershan’s Math Mistakes website is essential for anyone who grades based on understanding.

  42. I took some latitude with this mission. I tried a lesson inspired by Christopher Danielson’s great oreo lessons. http://mathhombre.blogspot.com/2013/10/my-oreo-lesson.html

    • Hi, I read your blog and tried to reply but my lacking technical skills and old laptop are preventing me so here is what I tried to post:
      Thanks for sharing your experience and thoughts on this lesson. Your initial questioning about what do the pupils wonder about the packs of cookies was great and they gave very interesting questions.

      The pupils not being ‘into the maths’ has happened to me a couple of times now and as you say it’s probably me being too excited and having too high expectations for what I believe is an interesting and engaging lesson/topic. Thanks again for sharing.

  43. My experience with Collaborative Mathematics’ Pieces of Eight Challenge:

    • Hi Carrie, I read your blog about this mission and found it very interesting, for some reason (my lack of computer skills most likely!) I cannot comment on your blog so here is what I wanted to say:

      Thanks for sharing, I really like this idea and hopefully my students will too! I hope to read more about your school’s assessment practices without numerical grades to see what differences there may be.

      The lack of love for learning is a bug bear of mine! I just don’t get why they don’t wanna know ‘stuff’ cause I wanna know everything! Alas, we can’t all be the same I guess.

      Thanks again for sharing 🙂

  44. This mission provided a wealth of resources which I cannot believe that i’ve not come across before – it brought home to me how big The Web is and why these missions are so important and helpful.
    Here is my blog post about the mission…

  45. Phenomenal list of sites! I’ve spent so long exploring and commenting this week that I’ve not gotten round to the blogging section of the challenge! It’s tricky to know what to do!

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