100 Posts

This post is the 100th on my blog! 🎉

With all due respect to any of you beautiful and talented people reading this, I write this blog, first and foremost, for me. It is a space for reflection, where I document some of my practice as well as the lovely mathematical ideas that students and colleagues share with me. Writing helps me work some ideas out.

But I do post my writing publicly. For everyone who was hoping to make their summer project “a deep dive into someone else’s blog posts about teaching”: the following are a few of the themes that have emerged in my 5 years of blogging. I’d love to continue the conversation.

1. Be curious about and responsive to student thinking.

“If you get hooked on student thinking, the rest will follow.” -Tracy Zager

I think I’m paraphrasing that from Tracy, but the sentiment stands.

I have written a number of posts about clinical interviews, and examining what students do know. Here are a few:

2. We all bring bias into our classroom practice.

…and we need to interrogate that bias! I am trying, and it’s something that requires continual commitment.

3. All students deserve to be a part of the mathematical community, which includes access to grade level mathematics.

How do we support students in accessing grade level content? The following blog posts address access within the classroom, and also how we might nudge students forward even when they may already know the grade level standards.

4. Making mathematical connections is powerful.

5. Celebrate learning activities that are high leverage Yet low prep, like some of these games.

Years ago, the administrator evaluating told me that I needed to be able to walk into any classroom in my school (K-8!) and, with only a few minutes notice, engage students in a high quality mathematical experience. From this lofty and seemingly unrealistic expectation came these Low Prep but High Leverage Games!

6. Sometimes, weird things happen in schools.

Especially the school where I had my first teaching job.

7. We are fully human.

We love. We cry. We make mistakes.

Most importantly, this means that we have lives outside of our work as educators, and that is beautiful. Sometimes, these lives still manage to intersect with our professional passions. (But usually they don’t! Because we are fully human!)

The subtitle for this section is: my children are hopelessly and utterly adorable, and if you’d met them you’d agree without complaint. I am blessed with the most wonderful family — my nuclear family, my extended family, and my chosen family of friends.

Embrace the Challenge

The title of this blog, Embrace the Challenge, came from a group of fourth graders a number of years ago. (They are now solidly halfway through high school.) We spent a day or two crafting norms for our class, and the above photo shows what they came up with.

Focus on learning.

Communicate respectfully.

Be responsible for yourself.

Share materials.

Embrace the challenge!

This was something that this particular class of fourth graders took on with great zeal. They were always eager to engage in mathematical challenges, and reflective on the group’s own struggles with some social dynamics. While I’ve never been in love with this name for my blog, I think it’s a beautiful tribute to possibility. We are not perfect, but we enter into learning with a full acceptance of what it may be. It may be complex, and it may be tricky, and some days feel more rewarding than others. Nevertheless, we persist. We embrace.

2 Comments

  1. Hi—
    Your timing is awesome.
    Needed to adjust the content of our work day due to some crazy circumstances. Had been struggling to find just the right piece to end the day when your 100th blog post showed up. Helped me get unstuck. So appreciate the time you spend to share your thinking. It impacts so many teachers and theirs students. Am always grateful and inspired.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Wow! Thank you so much! 🥰 I love how the wildfire of inspiration can work: an idea begets inspiration begets more inspiration.

      Wishing you a good work day during presumably very hot temperatures!

      Like

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