Category Archives: friday five

Friday Five: #7

I’ve been so busy this week with finishing up the end of semester (exams, Honours students’ theses, …) and starting up the Math(s) Photo Challenge that I couldn’t manage the Friday Five yesterday. I console myself that it’s still Friday somewhere in the world!

This week we launched the Math(s) Photo Challenge. Using @mathphoto16, we are posting a mathematical photo prompt each week. This week has been #symmetry. So far there have been nearly 600 tweets with the hashtags #mathphoto16 and #symmetry, and more than 500 followers of @mathphoto16. You can check out all the photos at mathphoto16.wordpress.com.

The Math(s) Photo Challenge is a great way to open your eyes — and your students’ eyes — to the math(s) in the world around you. Many are getting their classes involved with finding and constructing examples of the prompt. You can also make use of the treasure-trove of photos at mathphoto16.wordpress.com and the 2015 summermathphotochallenge.weebly.com in your classrooms.

For more inspiration about how to explore, play and enjoy doing maths, I thoroughly recommend you take a moment to watch Brian Bushart‘s 2016 NCTM #ShadowCon talk. (I was there; it was fabulous!)

shadowcon

Below are five examples (my Friday Five!) from this week’s #symmetry challenge — but please do check out the archive at mathphoto16.wordpress.com. We’ll post a new challenge on Sunday 19 June (in Australia). It’s never too late to join in. I look forward to your photos!

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Friday Five: #6

  1. This week I loved reading about how Mark Chubb had the courage to see what came from his students exploring the Worst Problem Ever. By the way, if this is what Mark produces for his first blog post, I can’t wait to see more.
  2. I have been thinking a lot lately about the labels that we put on people and the effect that it has, thanks in no small part to Kaneka Turner’s powerful ShadowCon16 talk Extending the Invitation to be ‘Good’ at Math. It’s why stories like the ones in Ethan Weker’s latest post, I Can’t, Shouldn’t Be The First To Believe just break my heart.
  3. How good does this new book look?
  4. In the most recent version of MAA Focus (June/July 2016), Francis Su reminds us of The Value of Struggle, and how our actions signal what we value as important (mastery or grades). However, I hadn’t explicitly considered how our actions might influence students’ actions with regards to plagiarism. (Incidentally, I used the same method for flushing out copying many years ago — with the same result!)
  5. I hope you’ll join us for the Math Photo Challenge starting on June 12! Using @mathphoto16, we’ll post a mathematical photo prompt each week. We want you to share your photos using #mathphoto16 and the hashtag for the week. Get those maths lenses on your cameras and keep your eyes open. We’d love to have classes involved, too. For inspiration check out the amazing Summer Math Photo Challenge from 2015. I was rather intimidated to try and organise the challenge after that stellar achievement, but John Rowe and I will attempt a smaller scale event run via Twitter. We dropped ‘summer’ from the title as it’s winter here in Australia, but we didn’t call it ‘maths’ (like we do here). It is a truly global math(s) project!

 

Friday Five: #5

Friday Five #5? It will be a long time before I get this excited again (#55, I expect). 


  1. Alex Overwijk’s (@AlexOverwijk) website, Slam Dunk Math, is a fabulous collection of resources. I need to set aside time to work back through older posts. The most recent, on the coordinate grid, is exceptionally well-described. To pique your interest, check out the visual below. First words through my head? ‘Genius idea! Love it!’
  2. I was late to the party about Don Steward’s website. Two recent favourites I’ve discovered via Jo Morgan and Fawn Nguyen: circle remainders and what’s the question?
    picture1
    picture11
  3. David Butler (@DavidKButlerUoA) coordinates a puzzles and games gathering at the University of Adelaide called One Hundred Factorial. The website includes links to the online forum and to the Twitter hashtag. To give an idea of the types of puzzles, here are two of my favourites that David recently blogged about: Four alternatives to the four fours and Spotless dice. A teaser is below.

    spotless-die-11

    Source: David Butler (blogs.adelaide.edu.au/maths-learning)

  4. David Bressoud (former MAA President) posted What we say/What they hear in February which has a synopsis of a paper that shows (in David’s words) ‘the sharp distinction between what was seen [as the important key points] in [a] lecture by those who are familiar with the material and what was seen by those who are still struggling to build an understanding’. The burning question for me is what we do to close that gap effectively.
  5. If you aren’t a subscriber to Ben Orlin‘s Math With Bad Drawings, I recommend you fix that immediately. He draw/writes about mathematical concepts, the culture and the nature of mathematics, learning, and just generally related stuff. Two of my recent favourites: Symbols that math urgently needs to adopt and A new favourite puzzle.
    20160418145837_0000120160418145837_0000420160418145837_00006

Friday Five: #4

Turns out that Desmos already posts a ‘Friday Five‘. Wonder if I subconsciously stole the name from them?

I’m posting this early (although it is Friday here) because I have a hundred little things — and one big thing — to do today.


  1. Megan Schmidt (@veganmathbeagle) is wowing us on twitter with her number spiral investigations. See below. Megan’s own blog post is here. I love them so much that I’ve been storifying her tweets, including ones not in her post.
  2. I am a huge fan (like the rest of the #MTBoS) of Notice and Wonder. If you’re not sure what this is, go check out Annie Fetter’s 2011 Ignite Talk. I was planning on writing a post, but then Joe Schwartz wrote one about Notice and Wonder with second graders that is so much better than anything I could write. It’s important to allow students to notice in both mathematical and non-mathematical ways, but I like how Joe orients students towards the more mathematical wonderings.
  3. love this paper-sharing activity for exploring infinite geometric series with students, thanks to Sam Shah and Bowen Kerin. It doesn’t need to be tied to a unit, either — a friend did it with a spare 10 minutes. The key for me is to ham it up; take the script that Sam suggests and really overact. I take different coloured paper, and make a big deal over each paper-master choosing their favourite colour. A recent improvement, at least for me, was to let the groups vary in size (within reason). That way, we explore several series in the same activity.
  4. Sara Van Der Werf writes how vocabulary can be the ultimate block to tackling a mathematical question — out of 80 students, 80 incorrect responses to a question involving ‘annual’ but 80 correct responses when changed to ‘in a year’. Sara offers a simple tweak, and some great reflections.
  5. This week I posted about focusing on relationships with students. Then I read Ilana Horn’s Who Belongs in our Math Classrooms. Powerful stuff. I was particularly interested in the linked article from PBS Newshour about the effect of teachers mispronouncing names. On this theme, I can think of no better way to end than with the transcript of Francis Su’s talk The Lesson of Grace in Teaching. David Butler called it a touchstone of what’s important in teaching. He’s absolutely right.

Friday Five: #3

On Fridays I plan to list five highlights from the #MTBoS and the internet at large. I could have discovered them in the last week, or the last year, but for some reason want to share them with you this Friday. I know it might be Thursday in your part of the world when I post this; what can I say — Australians know it’s important to get to the weekend as quickly as possible.

By the way, I toyed with working another f-word (no, not that one) into the title, but three words in an alliteration is bordering on f-crazy.


A big list this week; nearly all tweets that have made me stop and think.

  1. I am obsessed at the moment with how students approach Dot Talks.
  2. Fawn Nguyen posted in September 2015 about giving feedback with a highlighter. I implemented this for project drafts, and it transformed the one-on-one consultations in which we reviewed their project progress.
    • Red: something I particularly liked
    • Yellow: something the reader might wonder about (or that I am confused about)
    • Blue: something for us to discuss further in person
    • Green: this line contains spelling, grammatical, punctuation, word usage or other problems to be fixed.
  3. I saved this when Tina tweeted it last year, then immediately forgot about it. I’d love to include this in my One Minute Surveys soon.
  4. Today I re-watched the fabulous interview that Prof Nalini Joshi (@monsoon0) did on Australia’s ‘The Weekly’ (kind of like ‘Last Week Tonight with John Oliver’). I’m delighted that Nalini is an eloquent and prominent voice for mathematics on both the Australian and international landscape. Also watch the video that Trixie Barretto did of Nalini in December 2011; just beautiful.
  5. Following Christopher Danielson is a mix of envy and utter delight. I did not want to stop playing at NCTM. (But, how about using a hashtag for these gorgeous artworks? Would make them easier to find!)

     

     

Friday Five: #2

On Fridays I plan to list five highlights from the #MTBoS and the internet at large. I could have discovered them in the last week, or the last year, but for some reason want to share them with you this Friday. I know it might be Thursday in your part of the world when I post this; what can I say — Australians know it’s important to get to the weekend as quickly as possible.

By the way, I toyed with working another f-word (no, not that one) into the title, but three words in an alliteration is bordering on f-crazy.


  1. Bridget Dunbar’s post, Vacos y Pollos ~ Best Day Ever, relates a powerful way to give students the experience of their emerging bilingual classmates, and to shift the expertise in the classroom.
  2. At NCTM I was particularly taken by the student responses Robert Kaplinsky showed when he asked the nonsensical question How Old Is the Shepherd? Tracy Zager and Julie Wright have both written thoughtful elaborations on ‘making sense of students’ sense making’ with these story problems.
  3. Last week I mentioned Matt Vaudrey and John Stevens’ new book, ‘The Classroom Chef’. The accompanying website has a phenomenal list of resources. Now imagine that sprinkled through revealing and funny accounts by Matt and John. If that doesn’t make you buy the book, well I don’t know what will.
  4. John Mason is encouraging us to be mathematical in public. (HT to @matt_skoss.)
    • ‘How is a learner supposed to know what to do when they are stuck if they never see anyone stuck getting themselves unstuck?’
    • ‘Sometimes it can help if students are in the presence of mathematical thinking: the teacher publicly thinking mathematically.’
    • ‘One source might be learners themselves who are encouraged to notice opportunities to ask questions about things that happen in the material world.’
  5. Regolo Bizzi produces the most beautiful mathematically-inspired artwork. His instagram account is amazing.


Friday Five: #1

On Fridays I plan to list five highlights from the #MTBoS and the internet at large. I could have discovered them in the last week, or the last year, but for some reason want to share them with you this Friday. I know it might be Thursday in your part of the world when I post this; what can I say — Australians know it’s important to get to the weekend as quickly as possible.

By the way, I toyed with working another f-word (no, not that one) into the title, but three words in an alliteration is bordering on f-crazy.


  1. @Kelly_Zinck and @TheErickLee‘s blog: pbbmath.weebly.com. Not only does it have a really cool name ‘(Parentheses), [Brackets] and {Braces}’, but also a recommendation from Dan Meyer, and some really good posts. In the latest post ‘Deleting the Textbook‘, Kelly relates a seemingly simple but very empowering activity. I loved this quote:“Each time I took a question, I asked students “Why do you want to know that?” or “How will that information help you solve the problem?”
  2. This story in Australia’s The Age newspaper, in which special-needs teacher Sophie Murphy demonstrates to a plane full of tired passengers the impact that teachers have beyond the classroom.
  3. Jamie Duncan, who first appeared on my radar when I gorged on Matt Vaudrey and John Stevens’ new book, ‘The Classroom Chef‘, on the post-NCTM flight from SFO to LAX. Check out Jamie’s awesome First Grade Math Fight involving cookies.
  4. #MTBoS30. 30 blog posts in 30 days. Because Anne Schwartz and Fawn Nguyen say so.
  5. @RobertKaplinsky‘s NCTM16 ShadowCon talk, asking us to consider the difference between power and influence.