Instead of writing 3 different blog posts for the 3 conferences I attended in recent weeks, I thought it would be much more efficient if I summarized a few sessions that I learned from.
First was the Northwest Math Conference that took place in Portland, OR.
- Jen Hunt – Making the Learning Stick. Jen summarized that kids need to stretch, laugh, and have a safe environment in school to learn. Our job as teachers is to make students feel safe and loved.
2. Howie Hua – Making Math Visual. Howie emphasized the fact that visuals can make problems easier and help students make connections. Visuals can also make concepts understandable and help people share their thinking.
Within 2 weeks, I was on a plane to our capital, Washington DC. I could only attend for a day, but I squeezed in as many sessions as I could.
Starting with Dan Meyer who gave a talk on building pedagogical content knowledge. One of my take-aways and something that I say in my session — math is about VERBS!
Next I was in a Math modeling session by Jennifer Hylemon. She asked us to name the 3 top descriptors of a quality math task.
Another hour later I went to see Leisl McConcrie who I find out used to live in the town I’m living in now. Small world. Leisl did a fabulous presentation about 5 Classroom Habits to Shift a Student’s Math Identity. I could stay for the entire hour as I had to head to my own presentation. The bit I did see was fascinating as she described how the brain functions. What got my attention is when she showed us her LEGO BRAIN!!!!
California Math Council – Palm Springs
The opening morning speaker was Megan Franke. Her session on Counting Collections kicked off CMC. She actually gave out counting collections to everyone in this massive ballroom. There must have been 200 of us that partnered up and was given a small cup of things to count/organize. Love the active learning.
One ah-ha moment was Megan telling us that we shouldn’t automatically assume that kids are playing. We don’t know what’s going on in their thinking.
Patricia Vandenberg and Amanda Beeler of West Ada District in Boise Idaho gave a wonderful session titled “It’s Not Last Year’s Teacher’s Fault.” They centered the session on a child trying to learn division of fractions and how many ways that they can visually explain it to him without going to the Keep Change Flip method.
Zachary Champagne is always magnificent to see and leaves you with so many gold nuggets. I wholeheartedly respect him as he is still a classroom teacher in Florida for a 3rd/4th combo. He stresses the fact that every kid has mathematical ideas.
Lastly, I finally had the opportunity to see Dr. Christina Lincoln Moore who lead a session that combined teachers’ mental health, our students’ mental health as well as dehumanizing ourselves and our students. It was a session that was calming, serene, and much needed. We shared our math stories. Dr. Moore pointed out how educators have the power to crush souls or open doors. Our classrooms should be healing. Students should feel whole and more any more broken. We pondered how we could help our students give themselves grace in trying to learn math. The whole room did mindful meditation…which is something I could see continuing to center myself among the chaos of life. It was the perfect ending to the conference.
21 days, 3 conferences, and lots of learning. Well worth the exhaustion!
Until next time,