Oh my goodness, I am about to start my teaching life over from scratch in a new role. Although it is not the first time I have changed teaching positions, it is the first time I will embark on a role that has multiple official positions in one. Officially, the role is Math Interventionist/Teacher/Coach. In the classroom teaching capacity, I will be instructing a grade level class that I have never previously taught.
As the new school year begins in a few short weeks, I feel like I did as a first year teacher. My Assistant Principal declared that I would feel invigorated with this change. Invigoration, I have decided, is the positive viewpoint of change, and it is the reason we volunteer or seek it out. This makes my fearless leader’s assertion correct. However, let’s not neglect the fact that change is also overwhelming. What do you do in this case? Find a way to overcome!
Whenever I am in a situation of unknown terrain, I turn to research. Many days and nights have been spent watching video clips, exploring Desmos, reading articles, flipping through instructional books, and finding new mathematicians to follow on Twitter and/or Facebook. How fortunate we are to live in a time where amazing resources are often just one click away! There is an entire community of mathematics teachers just like me who geek-out upon learning of an idea, an approach, or lesson that feels revolutionary. On that note, I wanted to share (especially with my middle school friends) my most recent experience of “geeking” out. I just completed a course given by Graham Fletcher, and believe me; you need this mathematician in your life!
I learned about Graham Fletcher last summer through Christina Tondevold’s Build Math Minds Community. Although geared primarily towards elementary teachers, Christina’s website has a lot of content that speak to how students can best build their mathematical foundation. As a middle school teacher dealing with so many students’ long-standing misconceptions, this site and her emails have been a welcome life line. For years, I have been obsessed with the progression of mathematical concepts in trying to back-fill and clear up student misunderstandings. Last summer, I joined the virtual summit. The second summit is occurring in a few weeks. I encourage that you all check this event out and consider enrollment.
One of the (Christina calls it PD in your PJs) events I chose last year was hosted by Graham Fletcher, whom I mentioned above. He will be speaking again this year as well. If you are a middle school teacher, I ask of you to pause for a moment, and think of the concept that you believe blocks student understanding the most.
Did you say Fractions? I would venture a guess that you did. Please, after you are done reading this blog entry, go to Google and enter Graham Fletcher in the search engine. Explore and maybe begin with his video on the progression of fractions. After you have an idea of why I am geeking out so much, please report back to me on how I helped you change your life by sharing his name with you.