Thursday, September 30, 2010

Content Resources

Did everyone enjoy the professional development Tuesday? I know I heard some mixed reviews, but nothing out and out negative. Perhaps I’m too optimistic. I know some people in felt starting with addition was too basic for middle school teachers, but then again I heard some comments about how some students would make simple mistakes like answering twelve for:
4 + 8 = _ + 5
I think I remember helping to revising curriculum at a school last year and someone saying something to the effect of “if they don’t learn it in previous grades I don’t care if its a standard or not we need to include it.”
If our students are making addition and subtraction mistakes then a quick lesson, or differentiation, on strategies for addition is something we might consider doing. More importantly knowing what students are, or should be, thinking can help us identify misconceptions.

Inquiry based math.

I don’t make it a secret that I like the Connected Math Books. It isn’t because they have great example problems. Actually, since I started reading Dan Meyer’s blog I’ve kind of learned to dislike textbooks as a rule. What I like about the CMP books is the inquiry based format. I like the fact that everything is tied together from book to book. I like the fact that often parts of today’s lesson will be used in later lessons. Though if a previous teacher didn’t follow connected math it can be more difficult to make the connection.

If you don’t like a problem presented in the CMP book I highly encourage everyone to find a problem that you like better. For example this high school algebra lesson (Transparent Algebra blog) is very similar to the paper bridge problem in Thinking With Mathematical Models book. The point is not so much the actual lesson, or even the actual math, but getting students to think.

So the actual resource here today are some content web sites. Find out what CMP is trying to teach (I know sometimes it is difficult) take a minute to figure out some of the procedures they have used in the past or will likely use in the future so you can make connections past and future. then go pick your own content, a better content, something you will teach with passion.

Basic math content sites.

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