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Still learning …

Posted in Diversity, Math, and NCTM

I’ve been back from the NCTM Regional conference in Kansas City for just two days, and already used a few of the activities I learned from my fellow presenters. What a wonderful weekend filled with learning, networking, collaborating — and great BBQ.

I loved hearing that many schools are doing away with “drill and kill” homework assignments or eliminating homework altogether. I loved that teachers (who also are parents) are not afraid to tell their children to only do some of the 50 fractions questions assigned for homework. I also loved that teachers did not hesitate to take a minute to explain how algebra tiles work when I was confused. I loved finding new ways to present questions that can spice up an assignment. I loved meeting teachers who were not afraid to challenge “traditional” thinking when they knew it was for the students’ best interests. Such an empowering weekend.

And I loved the feedback I received on my presentation.

I presented on the topic “Using Math as a Springboard for Discovering Cultural Identity,” and I am thankful for all who attended, offered suggestions and gave me insight into how they will use the project when they return to their schools. I met teachers from many states, including Denver, Texas, Kansas, and Missouri who all had something kind to say.

It’s a big project. Take what you can use and tweak the rest. The project was a smaller endeavor those first two years, and all we focused on was math, geography, and a little story-telling. We’ve expanded it to include English, technology and art, and even the chefs helped out with our cultural exposition. It IS hard to coordinate times to meet to track the project’s progress, and this year, I may scale it back down.

As promised, here is a pdf link to the presentation:

To give you an idea how it got started, here’s a link to the “proposal” I sent to teachers the year we expanded the project:

Let me know what you think (or if either of the files does not open).

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