Week 4 of the 2016 Blogging Initiative!

This is the final week of the blogging initiative! Congratulations on whatever you’ve accomplished. Maybe you’ve written one post, maybe you have an about page and three new posts, or maybe you’ve gone above and beyond the initiative to write still more posts this year. As we’ve mentioned a few times, this week you’ll be sharing about a lesson. Perhaps you’ve already chosen it and compiled all your resources to share. If not, think to the week ahead and consider what you’re teaching (or observing) so that you can be sure to take a photo, gather samples of student work or record part of the conversation (#phonespockets anyone?) to be able to include direct quotes. None of these are required but all require planning ahead so think now about what you might want in your post!

You might think, “But Tina! I’m not teaching an exciting lesson this week!” In which case I will reply, “But Blogger! That’s exactly what we want to read about!” And if you don’t believe me, check this out:

You can choose a lesson that went great and share what exactly made it work for your population. It can be an original, a lesson you found or a medley. You can choose a lesson that went terribly and hypothesize what went wrong. You could ask for help or share your recovery plan like others have on Productive Struggle. You can choose any lesson in between – it went okay, part went well but those ten minutes in the middle were rough, it was your regular routine, you tried changing your routine and it was just fine – whatever you want to write about, we want to read.

Because here’s the thing. No matter what lesson you write about, you’re going to do more than post a lesson plan and move on. You’re going to tell us a story. This community is better than a random site that posts worksheets and lesson plans because you get the story behind it. You learn about the context of the classroom, the personality of the teacher, the mid-class tweaks and the reflection on what they would do differently next time. Context matters, that’s why we had you start with your about page. So tell us a story about a lesson you taught, and give us a glimpse into your inner monologue.

Deadline: Press submit by the end of the day Saturday, February 6, 2016.

If you’d like a little graphic to include in your post, here is a little whatchamacallit we made:

MyLesson

When you’ve written and published your blogpost:

  1. Tweet out the link to your blogpost with a short description, and include the #MTBoS hashtag.
  2. If you’re a mentee, email your mentor the link! And if you’re a mentor, read and comment on your mentee’s post!
  3. In the comments to this blogpost here, throw down the link to your blogpost and a short teaser.
  4. Look at the three comments that are listed above your comment. Click on those three links, read the three blogposts, and talk to the authors by leaving a comment on their blogposts (not here).

And that’s all!

P.S. If you enjoyed thinking about and responding to different prompts each week, sign up for the Global Math Department newsletter. They highlight a few posts each week that are particularly worthy of your attention. One of them is bound to inspire you to write about something – how you approach the same problem, a question you’re exploring based on the post or a tangentially related idea that you now realize other people might want to read about! Plus, there’s a possibility of ongoing blogging prompts in the works – watch the newsletter for updates soon!

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Week 3 of the 2016 Blogging Initiative!

We’re halfway through the blogging initiative! Huzzah!

This week, the blogging prompt is going to be around questioning.

Ages ago (in internet time, that would be 2010), Dan Meyer showed us an infamous example of a bad textbook question.

dog

Around that time, I was figuring out how to switch from saying “soooo… any questions?” to “what questions do you have?”

How we question — on assessments, verbally — and how students learn to question is an important part what we do on a daily basis. Good questioning can provoke class discussion, debate, uncover misconceptions, and invoke curiosity and wonder.

This blogging prompt is designed to help all of us think a bit more about our own questioning. Pick one of the following and blog about it!

  • You’re planning a lesson and you try to come up with super good question to ask to get kids to think about something. What is that question? Why did you phrase it the way you did? Why do you think it will prompt discussion/thinking?
  • You taught a lesson. You asked a question. How did it go? Flop? Success? Muse on why it turned out the way it did. Is there a way to improve the question?
  • You come up with a question. You realize there is a better way to ask it. You rewrite it. Talk about this.
  • A student asked a question that got you twitterpated. What was the question?
  • A student asked a question that really got other students thinking. What was the question?
  • A student asked a question and you didn’t know how to answer it well. Now class is over. Think about how you could have responded better.
  • A student asked a question. What did that question tell you about their thinking?
  • You write an awesome test question. Discuss why you think it’s awesome. If you gave it, how did your kids do. Did it elicit what you hoped? Is there a way to improve it?
  • You wrote a test question that sucked. Kids didn’t interpret it correctly, or there was something about it that didn’t quite work. Rewrite it.
  • You come up with a question. What is the purpose of the question? Who benefits from the question — you or the student(s)?
  • You have a great memory and remember a conversation you had with kids, an interesting back and forth. Type out that conversation!
  • Anything else that you can think of that will help you think about questioning. 

Deadline: Press submit by the end of the day Saturday, January 30, 2016.

If you’d like a little graphic to include in your post, here is a little whatchamacallit we made:

betterquestions.PNG

When you’ve written and published your blogpost:

  1. Tweet out the link to your blogpost with a short description, and include the #MTBoS hashtag.
  2. If you’re a mentee, email your mentor the link! And if you’re a mentor, read and comment on your mentee’s post!
  3. In the comments to this blogpost here, throw down the link to your blogpost and a short teaser.
  4. Look at the three comments that are listed above your comment. Click on those three links, read the three blogposts, and talk to the authors by leaving a comment on their blogposts (not here).

And that’s all!

PS. If you enjoyed thinking about questioning, there is a collective #MTBoS blog you can check out! It is called BetterQs, and you can read posts on it, and if you want to become an occasional or regular author, just click on “Want to Join?” at the top of the blog and fill out the form!

 

Week 2 of the 2016 Blogging Initative!

“My Favorite”

Welcome to week 2 of the blogging initiative!  Hopefully you were able to post last week and enjoyed the challenge!  But even if life caught up with you last week and you did not have the opportunity to blog, you can still blog this week!  Every week is a new opportunity.

Be sure to read the comments on each of the previous challenges so you can discover other new bloggers.  Also, visit the One Good Thing blog and the DITL (Day In The Life) Tumblr site when you get a chance as new contributors are always welcome.

Our week two blogging challenge is to simply blog about one of your favorite things.  Called a “My Favorite,” it can be something that makes teaching a specific math topic work really well.  It does not have to be a lesson, but can be anything in teaching that you love!  It can also be something that you have blogged or tweeted about before.  Some ideas of favorites that have been shared are:

  • A lesson (or part of one) that went great
  • A game your students love to play
  • A fun and/or effective way to practice facts
  • A website or app you love to use in class
  • An organizational trick or tip that has been life changing
  • A product that you use in your classroom that you can’t live without!

Also, in two weeks, you will blog about a lesson that you have taught so it would be great to start thinking about a lesson you would like to share.  It does not have to be an original lesson (as we do so much sharing here in the #MTBoS).  It can even be a lesson that you found on a blog and decided to try out for yourself!

Deadline: Press submit by the end of the day Saturday, January 23, 2016.

If you’d like a little graphic to include in your post, here is a little whatchamacallit we made:

MyFav

When you’ve written and published your blogpost:

  1. Tweet out the link to your blogpost with a short description, and include the #MTBoS hashtag.
  2. If you’re a mentee, email your mentor the link! And if you’re a mentor, read and comment on your mentee’s post!
  3. In the comments to this blogpost here, throw down the link to your blogpost and a short teaser.
  4. Look at the three comments that are listed above your comment. Click on those three links, read the three blogposts, and talk to the authors by leaving a comment on their blogposts (not here).

Lastly, the #MTBoS can be a lot of information. So many blogs to read, not enough time! So we highly recommend signing up for the Global Math Department newsletter (click here to do so! see a sample herehere’s the GMD webpage!). Once a week, someone in the #MTBoS looks through what the community has produced, and shares some of their favorite things.

 

Week 1 of the 2016 Blogging Initiative!

Welcome to the new year! I’m guessing that winter break feels like a distant memory… and we’re back in the swing of things. Refreshed! (Maybe.) And if you’re anything like me, you’re already waiting for Spring Break! Wooo hooo!

Right now we’re going to start the blogging part of the #MTBoS blogging initiative! For those who are new-ish to blogging, don’t worry… We have a gentle introduction which only asks you to write four easy blogposts, one a week. What’s great about this is that we’ll be doing this together! For those who are more experience with blogging, this is going to be an opportunity for you to blog in a community effort! And if you are a #MTBoS mentor for someone with a new blog, you can help ’em dip their toes in and see hey, it’s not scary! It can actually be fun!

With that, our week one blogging challenge:

We often get caught up in our day teaching, and often don’t take the time to be in the present. So we have two options that with that goal in mind. Choose whichever floats your boat and blog about it!

Option 1: We rarely take the time to stop and smell the roses. Even on the most disastrous of days, good things happen. And these good things, when you’re on the lookout for them, pop up. All. The. Time. So for one day (heck, do it for many days), keep a lookout for the small good moments during your day and blog about them. We bet that by keeping an eye out for the good, your whole day will be even better!

Option 2: A few years ago, some people in the #MTBoS wanted to share what their teaching lives were like. Partly because we all work in different schools, and so we wanted to get a glimpse of our friends-in-action. At the same time, we also wanted to battle against the idea that teaching is easy. We wanted to share what it is like to be a teacher with non-teachers! So we all blogged about a single day of teaching — from start to finish. So for the first week of the blogging initiative, we thought you blogging about a day in your lives would be a great way to start getting to know each other!

There you go! You have two options. Your blogpost can be as long or short as you want. However we’d love it if in your blogpost you could include at least one image/picture to make it more fun to read! It can be of you, of your good things, you documenting your day, whatever!

Deadline: Press submit by the end of the day Saturday, January 16, 2016.

If you’d like a little graphic to include in your post, here are some little whatchamacallits we made:

When you’ve written and published your blogpost:

  1. Tweet out the link to your blogpost with a short description, and include the #MTBoS hashtag.
  2. If you’re a mentee, email your mentor the link! And if you’re a mentor, read and comment on your mentee’s post!
  3. In the comments to this blogpost here, throw down the link to your blogpost and a short teaser.
  4. Look at the three comments that are listed above your comment. Click on those three links, read the three blogposts, and talk to the authors by leaving a comment on their blogposts (not here).

Lastly, the #MTBoS can be a lot of information. So many blogs to read, not enough time! So we highly recommend signing up for the Global Math Department newsletter (click here to do so! see a sample here! here’s the GMD webpage!). Once a week, someone in the #MTBoS looks through what the community has produced, and shares some of their favorite things.

And that’s all!

Our second week’s blogging prompt will go up next week!

PS. If you enjoyed doing option 1, the #MTBoS has a place where you can share your one good thing. Check out the blog; we’d love for you to consider becoming a regular or semi-regular contributor (there is a link at the top of the blog with information on how to add yourself to the blog). If you enjoyed doing option 2, and want to include your blogpost in an archive of many other “day in the life” posts by math educators, please consider submitting your blogpost to the DITL tumblr (site here; submission form here).

 

Kicking off the 2016 Blogging Initiative

Happy new year! What were your resolutions? Mine are to exercise more and learn to play the ukulele. Oh, and to blog more! Did you resolve to blog more too? Yes? You’re in the right place! No? Where are your priorities?! Make a resolution right now to blog.

We are here to help you accomplish the first month of regular blogging in 2016. Whether you are brand new to blogging, write regularly or have a blog that’s feeling neglected, we will have some prompts for you. This week your task is to prep your blog. Dust it off or set it up, and give it some TLC.

 

New Bloggers

  1. Get a blog (we use wordpress). The title you choose will identify your blog but it won’t define you so set yourself a brainstorming deadline and then commit.
  2. Set up your blog.
    • Create an ABOUT page. Include your school profile so people can understand your context. It will help your readers foster ecological thinking (from Lani’s TMC presentation).
    • Post a picture.
  3. Comment below with the link to your blog and a tweet sized description! Also tweet out your blog link and description.
  4. Visit some other blogs in the comments and leave a comment on their blog. Welcome everyone to 2016 and cheer them on for joining this initiative!

Don’t have a twitter account? Check out these instructions to get started.

Need a bit more help? There’s a spreadsheet for that! If you missed out on the first round of mentoring we created a more self directed option. Check out the spreadsheet to find someone to guide you through this process.

 

Comfortable Bloggers

  1. Update your ABOUT page. Polish or add your school profile to that page so people can understand your context. It will help your readers foster ecological thinking (from Lani’s TMC presentation).
  2. Advertise the new blogging initiative and comfortable blogging initiative by publishing a post (feel free to copy this one or write your own).
  3. Comment below with the link to your blog and a tweet sized description! Also tweet out your blog link and description.
  4. Visit some other blogs in the comments and leave a comment on their blog. Welcome everyone to 2016 and cheer them on for joining this initiative!

Want to cheer someone on who really would appreciate it? There’s a spreadsheet for that! If you missed out on the first round of mentoring we created a more self directed option. Check out the spreadsheet to find someone to guide through this process.

 

Everyone

Week 4 (posted on Jan 31) you will be blogging about a lesson you’ve taught. It would be a good idea to start thinking about what lesson you might choose so you can be sure to take some pictures before the students leave, you erase the white boards and hand back their work so you have nothing to share!

If you’d like to add a badge to your blog to show that you are a part of this community feel free to include one (or all!) of these:

MTBoS Blogging Initiative        exploreMTBoS        global math logo BW

 

A New Exploration!

Are you new to the MTBoS? Don’t even remember that MTBoS stands for the unwieldy mathtwitterblogosphere? No worries! This post is for you!

Are you an expert MTBoSer? This post is for you!

Have you flagged in your engagement with the MTBoS and want to re-energize? This post is for you!

Are you looking for your lost pet chinchilla and somehow came across this post in your search for Fluffy-the-Destroyer? This post is not for you. (But good luck! Did you look under the kitchen sink yet?)

Because we love how much we’ve gotten out of working with other math teachers — asking questions, getting lesson ideas, pushing our teaching to be a little less sucky — we want others to join us in our little faculty lounge.

122805127

And we want to expand our global math department in both depth and breadth so it is becomes a huge faculty lounge. And here’s our plan…

Stage 1: Spread the word!

Have a colleague who has expressed interest in the cool resources you share? Have a new teacher in your department who is hungry to be awesome? Tell them about this site and tell ’em to sign up! Going to a conference? Tell everyone you meet about your amazing online math community (especially the check-in-clerk at the hotel!) and send them here. Own a blog? Write a post there directing people here, so they can find out about this!

Why do we want everyone looking at this site? Because that’s the only way they can sign up for (dum dum DUM) stage 2!

Stage 2: Mentoring!

From now until December 1st we will have two forms open:

menteeOne form (click here!) for people new to MTBoS who want a mentor. This is for people who are interested, but want a little personal help getting started. Twooter? Blerg? What are these things? Or people who have tried using twitter but are intimidated or don’t quite know how to engage or make it useful. Or people who want to blog but don’t quite know how to start! Or people who have started blogging but need a push…

mentorOne form (click here!) for MTBoS veterans who are willing to mentor. This is for people who have been blogging and tweeting, and are interested in shepherding others as they explore what great things are out there. They’ll connect with those new to the community, and help them find sites of interest to visit, people to talk with, and answer any questions.

The timing is purposeful — NCTM regional conferences as well as many state conferences are happening between now and December. There are a number of speakers who will be talking about the MTBoS! The sign up forms will be open during that time, so we can initiate them all as one group.

Starting in December anyone who knows anything about this community will help all those who want to learn more about the community. Mentors and mentees will be matched up and work together to explore, and mentees will have access to the expertise of the whole community once they learn how to tweet. (We all will watch the #MTBoS hashtag extra carefully, where newbies will be asking questions… and we all will be able to answer ’em!)

meme

During this time in December, newbies will have the opportunity to engage at their own pace to learn about reading blogs, reading and contributing to twitter, organizing all that amazing information and the plethora of other resources this community has to offer. For them, this time will be not about drinking from a firehose and doing everything, but using their mentors to find the things that they might find interesting and useful.

Stage 3: Blogging Initiation!

We are suggesting a new year’s resolution for the entirety of the global math department: blog more. In January we will run a four week blogging initiation, hosted here. It will include entry level prompts for new bloggers as well as challenge prompts for experienced bloggers. Everyone is invited to participate and give back to this amazing community by sharing your expertise and reflecting on your practice.

Stage 4: The Future!

The future holds whatever you can imagine. If you love having a weekly blogging prompt we are negotiating an agreement with the global math department newsletter to bring back Sunday Funday. While official mentoring duties will be complete everyone should be looking out for new recruits and getting ready to welcome a new crew from the NCTM annual meeting in San Francisco!