David Wees's blog

Workshop on Social Media for Students

I recently facilitated a workshop on social media for a school. I created two short videos to act as discussion starters, and then I created a workshop structure around the video clips that the school could use to facilitate the discussion with their students.

Outline of a workshop for students on social media:

Learning about shape

Picture of my son placing a shape through a hole

 

As I watched my son over the past few days learn about shape, I am struck by not only how much we need to learn to make sense of the world, but also by how even simple things cannot be taken granted as known by children.

A conversation with my son on place value

This is an excerpt from a conversation I had with my son while we were walking from the subway to the theatre.

Teaching proof

I'm currently working on creating a sample sequence of lessons for teachers to use for a geometry unit. At this stage, students will have been exposed to (but will not necessarily have learned all of) geometric transformations, constructions, and some review on geometric vocabulary.

My objective is to create a sequence of lessons which include:

Why teach math?

Why do we teach math?

Mathematical procedures
(Image source)

How do you define variable?

I recently read the Common Core standards for Math for grade 6, which is where the concept of variable appears to be introduced. The standard in question reads:

Write, read, and evaluate expressions in which letters stand for numbers.

I tweeted this out, and one person responded with this observation:

Getting started with programming JavaScript

JavaScript is one of the primary web programming languages. It is the language used in Google Apps Scripting, and in HTML5 interactive documents. Chances are pretty good that most of the interactive features that you see in websites were coded in JavaScript.

So you want to learn to program...

When I was 8, my father gave me my first computer. There were two things I could do on this computer; program or write. I found programming to be much more interesting! So with a little bit of support from my father, and a copy of the Wang BASIC reference manual, I began the long process of teaching myself how to program.

Here is basically what you need to learn how to program:

We are homeschooling our son

My wife and I decided a couple of weeks ago to withdraw our son from our local community school and homeschool him. We realized that the constraints on the school, and the choices made at the school were going to prevent him from getting the exercise, play, and intellectual stimulation he needs to remain healthy in body and mind.

Using technology to facilitate noticing and wondering

Today I observed a teacher using this tool built by Jennifer Silver to engage her students in mathematical reasoning. It was a powerful reminder to me of the intersection between effective uses of technology to provoke thinking in students, and the pedagogy used to support that student reasoning.

First, the teacher brought up the interactive diagram up on her Smartboard, and then she asked a student to come up to change the slider values. She repeatedly asked students to say what they noticed each time the slider was changed. She took the time to have multiple students clarify what they said, to have their peers restate and respond to each other's reasoning, and to have students take the time to make mathematical observations. She engaged students in collaborative mathematical thinking for 30 minutes. At the end of the class, at least 10 students came up en masse to play with the interactive diagram themselves and continued to ask her questions and make observations. She had to promise them she would email them the link to the diagram so that they could continue to play with it themselves.

The point here is that the technology made the conversation easier. Instead of creating 20 different examples of graphs and seeing what happens as each variable is changed, students were able to visualize the changes, both in the graph representation, and in the formula representation. When asked if they noticed anything after the "Point on the line" slider was changed, one student said they noticed the Intercept-slope form of the equation did not change. Another student responded to him with "that form of the line doesn't depend on which points you use."

It was fantastic.

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