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Make Math Moments Academy Forums Community Discussion Introduce Yourself New Member, Stephen Weller, 7th Math & Science, Portland, Oregon, USA

  • New Member, Stephen Weller, 7th Math & Science, Portland, Oregon, USA

    Posted by Stephen Weller on June 18, 2022 at 6:25 pm

    Hello all,

    My name is Stephen Weller and I’m excited to be joining this community! I’ve just signed up for the Academy.

    I started teaching in 2007 in Phoenix Arizona. I taught elementary school and have since moved on to middle school. I love seeing the connections between subject areas and grade levels, since I’ve taught more than math.

    I studied bilingual education as part of my masters degree. I was also learning a language at the time, and teaching at a bilingual school. My ideas about how to teach and learn grammar changed. I saw the importance of centering and leading with a story. I saw new ways to bring learner attention to grammar forms, such as enhanced text. For example learners read a story in their target language, just for the story and not focusing on the grammar, but the text has all the past tense verbs underlined. Later they look back at the text and the teacher asks them if they noticed all the underlined words.

    Another connection I love is early education as the root of all learning. Students in early ed math classes use manipulatives and discussions to make math moments that matter. This connection helps me to see how students in upper grades can learn.

    I started at my current school in the Fall of 2020. I work at a Pre K – 8 school. The middle school is 6-8 and we have 3 math teachers. Our school math culture is not strong. A lot of students have lagging foundational skills. In 7th and 8th grade there’s an accelerated math track where students can earn high school credit in 8th grade. Next year we are trying out detracking 7th grade. I am continuing to learn more about the pros and cons of tracking and acceleartion.

    Our district just adopted a new math curriculum, MidSchool Math. It has stories for every lesson which is great, and it inegrates components of a 3 act task, asking students to engage with a task before instruction. There are also a lot of components to use. My critiques are that it’s very procedural and abstract, without a conceptual – representational – abstract progression.

    Two other big questions I have is about catching students up on foundational skills from previous grades, and assessment. We have standards based grading at my school, but among the teachers, students, and families, we don’t have solid shared understandings of what that means.

    Personally, I like playing chess, learning languages, going for walks, playing games, traveling, spending time with family, cooking, eating, and watching interesting movies or videos.

    Thanks and I look forward to working together!

    Jon replied 9 months ago 2 Members · 1 Reply
  • 1 Reply
  • Jon

    June 19, 2022 at 7:59 am

    Welcome Stephen! We also look forward to learning with you!

    It sounds like you might want to start with exploring our Assessment For Growth course as it’s based in how to implement a standards based grading classroom.