Category: Classroom Life

What if you don’t have enough whiteboards?

Just a quick post to share this video from Betty Love (University of Nebraska – Omaha). Betty attended our MCC Math & Technology Workshop in 2011 and really wanted to try paired boardwork with her students during class. The problem? Not enough whiteboards/chalkboards. The solution? Well, just watch! If you’ve got pictures or video you’d like to share of your Math ELITE Classroom redesign, or how you’ve incorporated the principles into your teaching, please do! Possibly Related Posts: Group Exploration in Math Elaborations for Creative Thinking in STEM Learning Math is Not a Spectator Sport Recorded Webinar: Teaching Math in...

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What does the classroom say?

Yesterday I had a short talk in the ITLC Themed Session called “Change the Classroom, Change the Learning” about the necessity of math classroom redesign. Without changing the classrooms, it is unlikely that we will see much change in the instructors or students. Here is the video from the talk, called “What does the Classroom Say?” and the slides from the presentation. Possibly Related Posts: Group Exploration in Math Learning at Scale Slides from ICTCM Clickety Click Click: Awful Measures for Learning The Importance of Findability for Learners Why Random Practice is...

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Delusional Hindsight and Academe

In a previous post this week, I discussed optimism bias and student success in online classes. Optimism bias causes us to paint a rosy picture of the future (even when it’s not likely).  But what about when we whitewash the past?  I’d like to propose that we call this delusional hindsight.  Some of us are able to learn from our past mistakes.  Others not so much. Let me outline my reasoning.  I’ve been reading Generation Me, by Jean Twenge.   In this book she suggests that “Generation Me” is particularly good at pushing blame to others because it is the only...

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Record with a Document Camera and a Flip

In my Math for Elementary Teachers (MathET) course, we do a lot of work with math manipulatives, puzzles, and games of various sorts.  Some of this work can be done with virtual manipulatives, but only if all the students have a computer too.  As a result, we do a lot of classroom work with old-fashioned hands-on math manipulatives, and I demonstrate using a document camera. Since the beginning of Fall semester, I’ve been trying to figure out how to record these hands-on demonstrations to put in the online course shell, but the best I could figure out was to hold my little Flip video camcorder with my left hand while I write and rearrange the board with my right hand. (Note that there is not room on the document camera station for a tripod.)  Unfortunately, this results in a shaky video, it is tiring, and it’s hard to do everything with one hand. After doing this for about six months, on Monday I had this flash of insight (one of those ideas where you wonder why it took that long to have the idea).  I was considering the idea of using masking tape to affix the Flip to the Doc Camera during class (which wouldn’t work because of the need to press the on/off button) … and I realized that I had a very simple solution in my pocket....

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Transforming Math for Elementary Ed

After several months alone to think about why education has become so transactional, I decided that I’d have to “walk the walk” and not just “talk the talk” and so I set about revamping my own classes.  For several weeks, my brain processors whirled while I tried to figure out how to make courses that have a highly structured and full curricula into courses that are transformational and revolve around learning.  Eventually, I hit upon the solution: Learning Projects.  Each student in Math for Elementary Teachers (MathET, as I like to call it) has to do five learning projects during the semester: Writing a Learning Blog Building a Mindmap Giving an Inquiry-Based Learning Presentation in class Creating a Video for the Internet Creating a Digital Portfolio to house their projects (this will be done by everyone last) We cover four “units” in MathET, and each student completes the first four learning projects in a random pre-assigned order (I made a chart of all project assignments at the beginning of the semester).  This means that at any time, 25% of the students are blogging, 25% are building mindmaps, 25% are working on a 10-minute presentation for class, and 25% are building a video on a specific topic.  Projects are due two days before the unit exam so that everyone can learn from reading and clicking through each others’ projects. No...

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