Tomorrow is the big night. At 7:00 PM, prior to the PTA’s meeting, myself and my colleague Mr. Rodinsky will introduce our curriculum to parents and possibly students. I read the blog post by Illustrative Mathematics and some of the slides from our True Talk with Open Up Math Gurus Global Math Department webinar.
We are hosting a math night where I work! Parents and other Millbrae School district supporters please retweet. If you need a PDF to print and advertise let me know! #openupmath #learnwithIM cc @MillbraeSchoolD @MillbraeEdFound @MillbraePatch pic.twitter.com/aDP9Zf71PK
— Martin Joyce (@martinsean) March 21, 2019
- “What does it mean to you to “do math?”
- Write down phrases and words from students and parents on chart paper.
- Program Overview
- Core Curriculum with units divided into big ideas, 45 to 50 minute lessons with 2-4 activities with predictable structure
- Assessments: Pre-unit diagnostic, cool-downs, practice problems, mid and end of unit assessments
- Problem-based (solve problems to learn vs learn math to solve problems), 5 practices framework, support for all students, Are you ready for more? extensions
- Overarching Design structure
- Structure of a lesson
- Instructional Routines, MLRs
- Experience a Lesson: Grade 6 Unit 6 Lesson 9
- Learning Goal, Number-Talk warm-up, Synthesis
- Activity 2->Synthesis, Activity 3->Synthesis
- Lesson Synthesis and Cool-down
- Grade 7 Unit 6 Lesson 6 Which One Doesn’t Belong Warm-up
- Short preview of the Card Sort from that lesson
- Sample student work
- Grade 8 Unit 4 Lesson 5 Taking Turns Solving Equations Preview activity
- Show Student & Parent resources on http://im.openupresources.org and connection to Grade 6 Activity
- Reflect on original question: “What does it mean to you to do math?”
- What did it feel like to do math tonight? What felt different from your school experience? How might this approach improve learning and understanding in math?
After writing up that overview of my slides, I’m starting to think about trimming down on some of the details that I think interest math teachers more than parents. Any feedback is welcome, I will revisit this blog post after the meeting happens tomorrow. Also, this was one of my professional goals to reach out to families and improve the line of communication about what is happening at our school and inside our classrooms.
BLOG POST UPDATE: (4/9/19)
Family math night went great! It went for about an hour, than an extra 10 minutes for some answering of questions. Thank you to the PTA for providing time before their meeting for it. I think it’s a great idea to partner with your parent association to make events like this as successful as possible.
The opener was great. I wrote what students and parents were shouting out in orange. Then at the end, when we reflected on the math we did and this original question, I circled ideas that we did. Parents weren’t sure we had done geometry, until I lingered before circling and then they realized that the distributive property was the area model of a rectangle, which indeed is geometry.
I also asked, are there words or phrases we can now add to this list? Those are written in green. They said that they were “cooperative, collaborative, challenged, visual, think time, etc.” I asked if I checked for their understanding; which was the cool down exit ticket.
The curriculum program overview went well. I didn’t talk much about the Math Language Routines because I think that would have been more depth then what was necessary.
We then looked at the learning goal of Grade 6 Unit 6 Lesson 9. I remembered to give the parent and students credit by writing their names next to their method. One parent came up to show how they did the standard algorithm. Before I had them start activity 1, I reinforced how their methods were basically the area model, decomposing a rectangle into pieces.
Then we reviewed the answers. Like I anticipated, parents weren’t used to seeing a prompt that says “select ALL the equivalent expressions.” As I walked around, some people had stopped after getting one answer so I prompted them to look at all choices. I also made a connection to SBAC testing where they will see these types of questions, as well as on the End of Unit assessments. After starting the activity synthesis with an answer they were confident with, I followed up with then what can we eliminate and why?
Then I had everyone start on the next activity. I wanted to model Think Pair Share, so I asked everyone to work quietly and individually for 2 minutes, then I asked them to work with a partner to see what ideas they had come up with. I cut them off about 4 minutes after that. Now I wasn’t going to discuss all the correct answers, so I opened it up to ask what interesting patterns or structure they saw.
One parent said they liked the last 2 rows because it was challenging. I asked them if there was only one correct way to do the last row? He said no. So I agreed that I thought it was kind of a cool potential conversation to have about multiple correct ideas.
On the flip side, a parent spoke up and said that they didn’t see the value in the last 2 rows. They felt it would confuse students who don’t understand the basics. The parent thought that if you know 9+12, why do you need to go backwards and fill out the rest? I tried to explain that if students see non-routine problems like this, they can deepen their understanding and understand the structure of the distributive property if they can go backwards as well as forwards. Please add any suggestions in the comments about this.
I also mentioned that the 3rd to last row had fractions, which was a great time to review content from Unit 4. The row above that was decimals, which was a big chunk of Unit 5. Another opportunity to review.
I told my audience that this is what makes this curriculum so special, and the top-rated one in the country. The people that designed it are smarter than me. I trust them. My old brain thinks when we finish a Unit, we are done with that topic, and I kind of freak out. my new brain has not freaked out as much this year because now I see that topics are revisited. They especially will be revisited if you make time to have students do practice problems. Later in the Q&A session the parents were wondering about lack of homework. I said that that the homework policy is up to the teacher. Personally, I said, to deliver the best and most thorough lesson possible, I can’t if I’m spending time checking and discussing practice problems. Therefore I do not assign them, but do for a study guide before a unit test.
I then discussed how we did the lesson synthesis as a class, but didn’t spend time on it. Then we passed out the cool-down to show how we check for understanding, and then reviewed the answer quickly.
Then I launched into another routine that I love, Which One Doesn’t Belong:
I should have discussed it more, but I had this hung up and barely discussed that these were sentence frames that help ALL learners. D’oh! Forgot that. I did give 1 minute of quiet think time, and then had people share. I also reminded everyone that there was a reason why each did not belong, and that you are correct as long as you explain why it doesn’t belong.
One parent said the top right didn’t belong because it wasn’t the same equation as the rest. I saw a parent in the front row who had solved all the equations before I even had talked about the prompt. So I asked him if he could provide evidence based on the work he had done earlier. He showed how the top right got a different answer then the rest. So, I infused some vocabulary and said that it was the only one that didn’t have the same solution.
One person said the bottom left had a dot, the rest didn’t. I reiterated that in 6th grade they lose the dot and start writing “next to notation” like 4x. This can be a bumpy transition.
Then I briefly talked about the card sort that followed, and emphasized that there were different correct ways to categorize the cards.
Finally, I talked about the 8th grade activity of taking turns solving equations. They saw that that reinforced more collaboration, and allowed some room for choice, partner practice, and finally individual practice in class.
Then I modeled how to go to the parent section of the Open Up Resources web site to see the explanation of the topic, and a task they can try with their kid.
I also slipped in a slide from Fawn Nguyen that is in my Back to School Night slides 20 minutes before the presentation. It helped me end the presentation with a bang and some useful advice. Here it is if you’ve never seen it:
For the Q&A session, I started by talking about our procedure for selecting the 32 students who will take accelerated math together over their 7th and 8th grade years. That will be another blog post…
Another question was what curriculum would students take for Algebra 1 in the 8th grade accelerated course next year? I did not have an answer for her yet… because it is not clear if Open Up Resources Algebra 1 by IM will be ready by the fall, and it could possibly be MVP math in the fall, the other curriculum that Open Up will be publishing.
“You did a WONDERFUL job Martin – thank you again for planning the Math Night! I’m so glad it was a good turnout. Thank you for having sent reminder emails to your students. The math night was a good refresher for me, and it also nudged me to see math in a slightly different way. I also hope to make use of the Open Up Resources web site, it’s a great tool, and I wish this event happened even earlier in the year!” -PTA President
I will definitely be using some of the materials on Unit 1 from the IM blog post I linked at the top of this blog post earlier in the year to set students and parents up for success earlier in the year.
“Hi there. Thanks for taking the time to do the math presentation, I really enjoyed it. I also am glad to know about the do more work (Ed note: I think she means the “are you ready for more?” challenges.) as I am encouraging Sarah to do it as extra practice.” -parent of 8th grade student, PTA member