Our experiment Tuesday night: arrange for parents and their children to spend time together in discourse, while attempting to solve math-based puzzles in an after school setting. Since many parents are non-English speaking, we provided UWM student support for translation when needed.
The overall sentiment at the end of the evening: I enjoyed working on solving the challenges together, I will definitely be back for the next math evening, I wish we had math in this way when I went to school x years ago.
Are you a school district interested in addressing parent math trauma as a way to enable parent involvement in the learning process? Follow our story as we host 2 more Math Events this school year.
The weather was less than ideal, but the Public Math booth was there for the Doors Open Milwaukee Block party. Visitors had the chance to play with math actives and test their Venn diagramming skills with a street survey.
Our math booth was out at Maker Faire this weekend testing out activities with kids and families. Mary Langmyer brought her enthusiasm and wagon full of materials to engage students in math explorations.
Family/date night math came to the NEWaukee Night Market last night. Math educators Mary Langmyer and David Temple created opportunities for attendees to solve number puzzles, play with shapes, build nets with Magnatiles, use “shape finders” and participate in our first “street survey”. It was a chance to engage with math (and mathematicians) in playful and creative ways as well as chance to meet others who stopped by for positive math experiences! All in all, a night of great (and humorous) conversations and learning for everyone!
Following on from discussions with COA staff earlier in the summer, Collab-Labist Mary Langmyer set up a number of math activities for COA’s family picnic. Children had fun with the chance to play number games, count collections, create number sentences, build with blocks, make patterns and design attribute trains…and play with bubbles! It was a great day to sit down and relax with new friends… while using one’s imagination to engage with math!
Last night Silver Spring Neighborhood Center held a family night for parents in the neighborhood or whose children attend Browning Elementary School. As part of the activities they planned for the evening, we brought along some math activities to see what children were inspired by.
The playground at Browning has a number spiral that to date had been used as the place to pile coats while playing elsewhere on the playground. Last night we proposed rules for some games students might play using a pair of large foam dice to figure their next move.
The big hit of the evening were the Zometool bubble wands students built.
It was a beautiful evening to watch bubbles drift across the playground, or when the breeze calmed, observe the structures created within a wand. A student was heard to say “that’s a tetrahedron!”
Our January session focused on what should happen between now and next fall for schools that want to expand the number of teachers using number talks as a regular practice or support an initial cohort of teachers willing to make that happen. Here’s where we landed:
Introduce number talks in an in-school PD session for teachers new to the practice
Understand how teachers think about Number Talks
What are their goals for math lessons?
Where do they hope the practice might bring?
What do they fear might happen during number talks?
What do they value most in their current approach to teaching math?
What do they think is least effective in their current approach to teaching math?
Have a teacher or coach that is comfortable with Number Talks lead a session for the class of a teacher new to the practice
Have teachers try out the practice in their room with a coach or experienced teacher on hand to provide feedback
Participate in UWM’s Math Circle for Teachers
Line up funding for resources, PD
Wisconsin Mathematics Educational Foundation grants
Identify teachers for pilot effort– the goal here is to require participation, but identify teachers who want to kick of the 2019-2020 school year with Number Talks as a regular practice.
Script the first 20 days of number talks so that teachers new to the practice can focus on leading the practice rather than figuring out what problems to use. Here teachers can tap into the work Brown Street Academy and LaCausa did to kick things off this year.
Assemble resources for teachers participating in effort
Number Talks quick reference card
Number Talks PD just prior to the start of school
Teachers have a chance to both lead and participate in number talks
Teachers have a chance to practice charting student thinking
Teachers get a chance to preview strategies they are likely to see in their first 20 days of number talks
Teachers use Number Talks 2-3 times per week starting the first week of the semester
Quick, frequent check-ins with in-school coach or teacher lead to address issues and concerns
Work with grade level groups to select problems focused on specific strategies to guide problem selection after the first 20 days of Number Talks
Participate in peer led PD with other teachers working with Number Talks
This month we joined the Milwaukee Area Math Council at City Lights Brewery for conversation about math and math education. We were also able to distribute copies of the latest version of our Number Talks quick reference card, which Milwaukee Succeeds had printed for us. We’ll have the final version laminated, but we’re taking advantage of a mix-up when the printer forgot to laminate these.
The unlaminated versions make it much easier for a teacher to highlight key things they want to pay attention to or write additional prompts. We’ll check back early next year with the teachers these have gone out to to see how they may have modified them and what other feedback they may have before we finalize the design.
If you would like to get a couple of the quick reference cards for yourself or colleagues, let us know. We’d love to hear what you think.