Thursday, January 19, 2017

The MTBoS, Week 3: Middle School Math Links (Days 83-84)

This post fulfills Week 3 of the 2017 Blogging Initiative. This topic for this week's Initiative post is "Read and Share":

We will read blog posts by other math educators and then chose one (or many) to write about on our blogs.
You can either:
  1. Write about a single blogpost.  Please leave a comment on their post!
  2. Compile a bunch of blogposts that you love.  Here are some ideas to get you started:
    1. You can pick a bunch of various posts.
    2. You can blog around a theme.  Examples:
      1. A unit you are getting ready to cover
      2. Helpful classroom tools or ideas
      3. People or posts that inspire you
      4. And more and more!!
    3. You can read blogs by people who are in your area and blog about them. Yes, the #MTBoS has a search engine that can show you that!
Notice that I already do this -- link to other teacher blogs on this blog. In fact, after each of my posts in both the 2016 and 2017 Initiatives, my very next post (which I didn't submit to the challenge) was to link to some of the other participants. I didn't make such a post after Week 2, since I'd seen that the Week 3 topic is itself a linkfest.

On the other hand, I don't want to link back to Week 2 posts, since you (the readers of the Initiative) have already seen those. Instead, I link back to some of the participants of the other challenge that's going on now -- Tina Cardone's "Day in the Life" challenge.

No, there is no Cardone participant whose monthly posting day is today, the 19th. So instead, I'll follow suggestion #2 and blog around the following theme:

Middle School Blogs

It's no secret that most MTBoS bloggers are high school teachers. This makes sense, as many of those who currently teach middle school math don't even think of themselves as math teachers. (For example, the middle school math and science teacher at our sister charter school is in fact a natural kindergarten teacher.) So they are less likely to participate in something like the MTBoS.

But I found that several middle school teachers were participating in Cardone's project. And so in today's post, I'll link to these teachers. In each case, I begin with the number indicating that teacher's monthly posting day, and then a link first to the blog itself, and to the most recent "Day in the Life" post, which could be a December or January post. (The date on each post might not necessarily be the monthly posting date as we were to post the last day before, and first day, after winter break.)

6. Dawneen Zabinske's blog:
Her January 6th post:

Ms. Z teaches sixth and seventh grades in South Carolina. Here's how she describes her blog:

This blog chronicles my journey as a middle school math teacher at a magnet school that is centered around a military theme. Mathematical Mess represents the chaos of mathematical thinking (and sometimes my classroom as we strive to be more creative in problem solving and critical thinking).

11. Bernadette Scheetz's blog:
Her January 11th post:

Scheetz teaches sixth and seventh grades in Maryland. One thing I notice in her January 11th post is that she often divides her class into "target groups" for more directed instruction. She writes that some of these groups are reviewing fractions or basic skills. This is something I need to work on in my own classes.

13. Kit Golan's blog:
His December 13th post:

Golan teaches sixth and seventh grades in New York. Here's how he describes his blog:

After my fifth year of teaching 8th grade math, I’m transferring schools and I’m going to be teaching 6th and 7th graders. I’m excited for the change in content/curriculum, and I’m hoping the switch will provide me an opportunity to innovate and revisit some of the things I’ve done in the past and consider how to do them better in the future.

15. Kathy Howe's blog:
Her First Day After Christmas Break post:

Howe teaches sixth and seventh grades in Texas. Here's how she describes her blog:

My name is Kathy Howe.  I’ve taught Earth Science, Physical Science, Chemistry, Algebra, Pre-Algebra, and general math.  Right now I’m teaching general math and pre-algebra to sixth and seventh graders at a private school in Texas.

17. Mariam Brunner's blog:
Her December 17th post:

Brunner teaches sixth grade in Georgia. I choose not to mention her "About Me" blurb, despite providing it to others, because she links to both her school and her church, and I don't want to reblog such personal information. Instead, I'll write about the project she describes in her December 17th post -- sixth graders learn all about financial literacy.

22. Jonathan Newman's blog:
His November 22nd post:

Newman teaches eighth grade in Maryland -- yes, the first eighth grade teacher. on the list. Again I omit his "About Me" blurb since he actually links to his school website. Instead I mention that this post doubles as his "last day before Thanksgiving" post (the Tuesday before the holiday, which for personal reasons I call "Floyd Thursby Day"). His students take Benchmark Tests all day.

23. Alexandra Otto's blog:
Her November 23rd post:

Otto teaches sixth grade in Alaska. In this post, it's the day after Floyd Thursby Day, and there is no school that day. Instead, she writes about some conversations she has on her day off, when she tells other adults that she's a math teacher. Some of them have strong opinions of both math class in general and Common Core math in particular.

30. Kevin Cormier's blog:
His December 30th post:

Cormier teaches seventh and eighth grades in Massachusetts. This blog was a bit difficult to find for me, since Cardone provided us with an outdated link. Well, this post obviously occurs during winter break, so instead he writes about a former student of his that he meets that day. Now a college student, she tells Cormier about the ups and downs (too many) in the intervening years,

Before Cardone's project, the only middle school blog I knew was Fawn Nguyen's:

Nguyen is one of the better-known members of the MTBoS, so she needs no introduction. She teaches sixth and eighth grades right hear in my home state of California.

For once, the Week 3 prompt this year contains an image:

I used this search engine to find MTBoS results for the movie Hidden Figures, since our school went on a field trip to see the movie yesterday. (One of the posters I mentioned above, Mariam Brunner, watched the movie on a snow day and blogged about it.)

The first result is Max Ray's blog:

Max Ray is not a teacher. Here's how he describes his blog:

Hey, I’m Max. I work and blog at the Math Forum at Drexel University. My title is “Professional Collaboration Facilitator.” So what do I actually do?
  • I visit schools and teachers, observe, coach, co-teach and model lessons, mostly about teaching problem-solving skills, and teaching content through problem-solving.

In this link, Ray mentions a game students can play after watching the movie. I'd like to say that I spent today, the day after the field trip, playing Ray's game. Unfortunately, it was a day that was filled with arguments, with both seventh and eighth graders wondering why our school don't have a real science teacher -- and what I, as the "STEM" teacher, am doing and not doing to teach enough science this year. There were also complaints from all three grades about the new homework system, in which we are required to have students complete the homework online!

Here is today's Pappas problem:

361^(1/2) = x

The answer is the square root of 361, or 19 -- and today's date is the nineteenth.

This is a two-day post, and my day off from posting is Friday. (Good -- that will allow me to avoid politics in this post!) My next personal post is on Monday, and there is one week left in the 2017 Blogging Initiative.

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