Math Mondays

Math Mondays – Fibonacci Poetry 

I am not fibbing…ha ha…it is a real thing. The goal is to use only 20 syllables in six lines.  The number of syllables for each line follows the Fibonacci sequence.  

Here is my first attempt: 




On the deck

Proving I am not

Able to contain my messes.

If someone would clean them up, I would be quite relieved


Math Mondays

Math Mondays – Riddles

I really should be studying for my teaching license math exam and writing about it,  but eh….no thanks!   

  I think I have reviewed my calculus enough, know my weakness with combinatorics, and that I need to make sure to multiply or divide by two when solving some geometry problems.   

So what am I thinking about instead?  Riddles.  If you have never done so,  google ted ed riddles.    I guarantee you will find plenty of material to occupy your time.  And if you are a teacher, you fill find some last days of school material to engage your students.

Today, I got to solve the river crossing riddle.   

As they say in England…Give it a go!  

Math Mondays

Math Mondays – Collaboration & Patience

Dustin and I created another YouTube video this evening and oh my gosh…collaboration takes a tremendous amount of patience…period.    

I wonder, do we teachers consider this when we plan for and design collaborative tasks?  Granted Dustin and I are at very different ages and ability levels, but working with him on these questions highlighted several areas where patience might need to be developed.   

1.  What do you do with the student who acts silly in new or unfamiliar situations?   You will notice Dustin started out our video acting very silly and then started to talk like a baby.   He turned it around after we got started, but it definitely was a distraction.  

2.  How do we address the varying reading rates and abilities as well as math knowledge and fluency within a group?  Dustin, as you will notice is a struggling reader.  I believe the silly behavior is his coping mechanism…and this makes me question what other behaviors are manifested within mixed ability groupings.

3.   What do you do with the student who gives up?  Dustin saw the final question and  upon just looking at it gave up. Even though we pushed through, he continued to give up whenever he was confused.

I know there are many variables and as many answers to these and other questions related to collaborative work, but for now I want to focus on helping students, and teachers develop patience.

My gut tells me the answer lies in building relationships and establishing group norms, but I want to do some research and share more details in later Teaching Tuesdays posts.    

via Daily Prompt: Collaboration

Math Mondays, Teaching Tuesdays

Math Mondays and Teaching Tuesdays Rolled Into a Wednesday – Writing Frames

Several posts ago, I shared my recent professional development experiences which included three conference sessions with Anita Archer.   And in an earlier post, I shared our school focus on the use of summaries.  We believe summaries have the ability to help students process and retain information and have had several conversations around how best to support students in the process of developing this habit.  So I was very happy when Dr. Archer in her Short Writing Often NOT Just Long Writing Seldom session echoed our thinking about the use of summaries and  shared several writing frames to be used as scaffolds.

In this post, as promised, I will pursue the use of the one of the writing frames shared by by Dr. Archer.

As a reminder, here is the information provided in the 3rd Grade Math Performance Task.

Performance Task 1


And here is the question I want to answer using a writing frame.

Performance Task

This morning in our late start meeting, we discussed the fine line between an explanation and a summary.  Our conclusion…an explanation of a problem-solving process can qualify as a summary…especially in mathematics.   So for this question I decided to use the Explanation writing frame provided by Dr. Archer.

There are a number of reasons why ….

The most important reason is…

Another reason is …

A further reason is …

So you can see why…

As you can see, this frame is not a perfect fit to the writing prompt.  However, it is my conjecture, that students who are experienced with the use of these prompts will have developed a schema around the type of questions being asked and begin with the best frame they have and them make adaptations from there.

I changed the word reasons to ways, and I proceeded from there.  I captured my thinking in this video.   Here is the result.

Performance Task 2.PNG

There is still room for improvement, but I like that the frame provided a good first draft.  What avenues the writer can pursue next seem endless, but no longer overwhelming.  I cannot wait to see what the students do.

Math Mondays

Math Mondays – A Train Question

I typically pass a train on my daily commute home.  Some days, like today, I am traveling in the same direction. Others I am traveling in the opposite direction.  I usually pay little attention to them, but Friday and today the trains were exceptionally long.

So I have a question…several actually.   Initially I wanted to know if the train was more than one mile long.  Then I wondered if there was a way to determine the train’s length.  This made me wonder if is this the making of a three act task.  And since I believe it is, I also want to know what is the necessary information to determine the train’s length.   How does the problem change if you are traveling in the same direction instead of the opposite direction?

And this leads me back to three act tasks.  If you know Dan Meyer 🙂 please tell him I have a ton of  questions for him about these tasks.  For starters, when engaging students in this process do you provide all three photos or only the first photo?   I am thinking you should make them ask for the other photos and determine the details of the second act as a group.

For now, I will take the questions I have asked here and I will let them carry me as far as they can.

Source: Fragile X Files

I hope you are all willing to jump on board and ask and answer questions along with me.  It should be quite an adventure

And, that, to me, is what math is all about!

All aboard!!!! (Sorry, I could not help myself.)