If you’re still thinking about how to begin the school year on a positive note with mathematics, you might just want to consider a Week of Inspirational Math. I first blogged about this seven years ago, and the site has added more and more resources since that summer of 2015. Not only that, but there are a lot of features that make it even more helpful, including a method for creating a free, personal playlist of hands-on math activities that will work best in your classroom setting. The original WIM plans were posted annually, with 5 days of math activities designed to encourage discussion and thoughtful analysis while promoting a positive attitude toward math. You can still access those by clicking the button on the top banner, or you can search for specific activities and filter by grade level (K- College) and topic and create your own five days of math. You can see the newest activities for 2022 here.
I often share on this blog about my journey from being fearful of math to truly enjoying it, and I told my students the story every year because I wanted them to know that it can be done. So, when I see resources like Week of Inspirational Math, I want to shout about them to every educator who teaches math. These are the kind of activities that help children to see that math is not a subject that can only be mastered by the most nimble minds — and it can often be quite fun.
I’ve added the link to this year’s WIM resources to my Back to School Wakelet, which has other ideas for you as well. WIM is also one of the 73 sites in my Math Sites That Won’t Make You Fall Asleep collection, if you’re looking for more reasons to stray away from the textbook;) In addition, I’ve added a new Professional Development session for 2022, “Off on a Tangent,” in which teachers learn about methods to help their students to hypothesize, discuss, and apply their knowledge in diverse situations that will provoke their curiosity and stimulate an appreciation for the complexities of mathematics.