TLLP Reflections: Math Talk & New Learning Partnerships

Leigh Cassell
I am continuing to think about the idea of how we establish meaningful partnerships for learning in our classrooms and for what purposes. According to Fullan in his article How New Pedagogies Find Deep Learning, New Learning Partnerships consist of 4 main elements: relationships, feedback, aspirations, and learning to learn. We spent some time today discussing why partnerships are important, and some of the ways we engage students in learning partnerships. One example that really resonated with me was shared by Allison Plumsteel. Allison uses “tripods” in her classroom – groups of 3 students that meet every morning before announcements to greet each other, share something about themselves, help each other with the morning routine, and start the day off on a positive note with a secret handshake and a “have a great day!” In relation to Fullan’s explanation of New Learning Partnerships, Allison has incorporated an activity (5 minutes) that is helping build relationships, develop communication skills through feedback, and establish community with a focus on student interests and aspirations, and the kids are developing outcome-based skills. Love it!

Anne McBride
Revisiting the topic of ‘Math Talk’ today was a worth while experience. The opportunity to record ourselves leading a ‘minds-on’ or a ‘consolidation’ portion of a math lesson for the second time, allowed for some valuable reflection. Through a scoring process we were able to see our improvements in our methods within multiple areas of math talk (‘Revoice’, ‘Turn and Talk’, Employing Wait Time’, etc.), and to make goals for the future development of the math talk within our classroom. We are going to revisit this in October to score our successes and challenges!
We watched a video today called ‘The Backwards Brain’, with a powerful message about how hard it is to unlearn something. Destin Sandlin, main guy in the video, demonstrated how everyone goes through life with bias even when we don’t realize it. This video related well to our challenge and struggle with incorporating and changing how Math Talk looks in our classrooms. Many teachers in the TLLP have been teaching for 8, 12, or 16 years! They’ve spent years learning how to teach math – unlearning a teaching style to make room for changes and new pedagogy is challenging. However, like in the video – if you persevere, one day – it will just click!

Allison Plumsteel
Today we had a lot of great discussion today in our May TLLP meeting. We had a great discussion about Math Talk and we were given time to reflect on how that is going in our own classrooms. I’ve discovered that I still need to do more work in giving my students wait time. We were shown a video called “Backwards Bike” and it really got me thinking about how difficult it can be to unlearn something, especially as an adult. Employing more wait time involves changing a habit that I have been doing for many of my teaching years. I can expect there will be failure while trying to change my habits but perseverance is the key to changing any behaviour.We also had some discussion on learning partnerships and how important it is to establish a community within the classroom from the get go in September. I do this in my classroom by having the students meet in tripods every morning to say hello, share, and to make sure that everyone is ready for the day. Establishing positive relationships allows for students to feel comfortable giving and receiving feedback to each other, which will help foster greater learning.My goal is to continue to work on allowing more wait time, as well as encouraging students to revoice the thinking of others.

Super 2’s
What is my new learning today?
Being a new member to this wonderful small group I was overwhelmed with such amazing conversations and topics that deal with everyday teaching. One of the main things that I learned today was that there is a community around you, we just need to put ourselves out there, be confident and know we are in this together.Today’s highlights of the things I didn’t know and now I do:
– there is a lot of grey area in our profession
– tons of technology tips to do with all iPads (teacher and students)
– the amazing tripodWhat are my wonderings and challenges?
One of the biggest challenges I face is not being the expert. With that being said, I struggle with not knowing something fully before handing it to the students and saying “ask me anything” but instead turning it over to the students so they are able to be the experts and grow and learn together.What are my next steps and commitments?
One of my next steps that may not happen until the new school year is the amazing idea about tripods. I cannot wait to encore orate such a solid, community building feature to my classes in the future.

Hilary Reinecker
I have to admit, at this time of the year I am feeling overwhelmed by other things so it was good to be able to get together and refocus today. Many great discussions about privacy and liability issues with advancing technology, math talk and collaboration. We spoke a lot about the importance of building a safe classroom community where students feel free to take risks and explain their thinking and are able to accept feedback as constructive help rather than criticism. It is also the time of year when I start thinking about changes I want to make in my program for next year and I have been inspired by many great ideas today. I know I need to talk less and have the kids share more on their blogs (even if it isn’t perfect). I am so excited that we have been extended until December so I can continue learning.

Nancy Bicknell
There were many interesting and thoughtful conversations that pushed my thinking and caused me to reflect. First, my thoughts centred around the notion that we are currently in a time of change-that technology is changing and evolving so quickly that our response at embracing it doesn’t always see all the ramifications (i.e. legalities) of it’s inclusion. What is the lesson to be learned from that? Perhaps it is once again about our students-perhaps the greatest skills that we can assist them in developing are the ones that allow them to be adaptive and flexible. I think if we navigate ourselves always with the student at the centre, how can we fail.

Second, my thoughts centred around the article by Fullan, “A Rich Seam”, Chapter 2. In this article, it states that the role of the teacher is to ” help students master the process of learning” and to support students in “monitoring how they are doing in achieving goals.” Hattie’s notion about the teacher becoming the learner and the learner becoming the teacher rings true once again.

Kim Littleton
Today was another informative day at our blogging TLLP! One of my big learnings today focused on how we store images and videos of our students. For our protection, it is important to upload student photos and videos to our students’ sites or shared folders at school, and not keep them on our personal devices or devices we take home. This is to ensure student privacy. My next steps are to teach my students how to comment on each others’ blogs as effective feedback, and use their blog sites as written consolidation pieces of their learning before and after concepts have been taught. I also learned about setting up spirit buddies or tripods with my students to promote positive relationships in my room. It was interesting to see the video about the man learning to ride the backward bicycle and reinforced the idea of teaching our students to develop growth mind sets. As always, I enjoyed all of the new learning and sharing that took place with my fellow bloggers!

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