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  • Jason Garner

    August 4, 2020 at 11:42 am

    This course has been refreshing. About 3-4 years ago, I read Jo Boaler’s book “Mathematical Mindsets,” which completely changed my thinking about math instruction and students learning. I took her online courses as well, and I have attempted to implement some of the strategies I learned. I have been passionate about changing the way I teach math because of my lackluster experiences with math when I was a student and over my first several years teaching math in 4th grade. It has not been an easy journey, and I have often felt a sense of loneliness on that journey because it is not easy to convince my fellow teachers to do the same. Too often I hear teachers revert back to the same old excuses for math progress, such as they don’t have their facts memorized, that we need to go back to the “basics,” or we need to teach the way we use to learn. When I hear that, I start thinking: Where has that gotten us? Another challenge I have faced in changing my instruction is that students are not used to a “different” way that is engaging and more open. However, this course has provided me with practical<i style=”font-weight: bold;”> ideas and strategies that I can use in my classroom right away and that can utilize the resources that I already have. As we begin this unique school year in 2020, I am looking forward to implementing the Curiosity Path in the best way that I can. We will be on a hybrid schedule with full classes for 3 hours and then remote for 2 hours each day (that may change though since cases are increasing in our county and in Illinois). If I am in-person, I can begin making the Curiosity Path a part of our culture. If we switch to fully remote learning, it will be more challenging. Already I am hearing from other teachers that they want to just teach the basics and make videos that show how to do the skills so that students can copy and practice. I’ve already said that I need to attempt some of these strategies from this course, even if it is challenging considering the circumstances. Although I will not be able to implement everything from this course this year, I’m excited to give it a start. In doing so, I hope that my students will enjoy math and look forward to lessons that are not typical and boring. I would like to attempt some type of spiralling but may have to focus on spiralling practice problems or warm-ups instead of the entire curriculum. I do have a question about that though:

    In the spiralling module of this course, you recommend taking the first 3 lessons of each unit and making that a “unit.” And then taking the next 3 lessons of each unit and making that the next “unit.” If I were to do that, I feel like I would not make it around to a repeated concept until many weeks later because of the vast amount of fifth grade Common Core Math standards. Do you have any guidance regarding this?