Blog

group of classmates greeting each other
K-12, Teaching Tools

Free Resources for Community Building with Students

One of the frequently visited posts on this site is “SEL and Community Building with Slides.” Of course, as students return to school throughout this month and next, community building is key to starting the year right, and needs to be done throughout the year in order to strengthen connections. On Twitter recently, Dr. Catlin Tucker (@Catlin_Tucker) shared a Google Slides presentation of questions to use with students to start conversations. These are similar to the “Sign-Off Questions” shared by Ester Park (@MrsParkShine). I updated my SEL post with Dr. Tucker’s link, as well as another one from Joy Kirr (@JoyKirr) who commented in that same thread with a link to her page of “Question of the Day” suggestions. You can find these links, and more, on my Back to School Wakelet. Whenever people denigrate social media, I want to defend its value as I think about all of the incredible resources like these that are shared by generous, creative educators!

positive black woman talking to radio host
history, Independent Study, K-12, Research, Teaching Tools, Writing

International Podcast Day

So, I’m in the middle of curating resources for my September Holidays and Celebrations Wakelet collection (still working on it, but it is public if you want to take a look), and I found out that September 30th is International Podcast Day. Have I mentioned that I love podcasts, and that there are so many ways to leverage them for engagement in the classroom? I even wrote an article about “Podcast Pedagogy” last year for NEO. Whether you want to have students listen to podcasts (see my article for tons of suggestions, including Smash, Boom, Best) or create them, podcasts are a nice way to give students opportunities for more choice and creativity in their learning and assessments.

I discovered a couple of new resources since I wrote that article that I am adding to my September Wakelet, but I’ll also include here. First of all, I saw this nice idea for a podcast listening station from Stacy Brown (@21stStacy) on Twitter:

Also from Twitter, Chris Hitchcock (@CHitch94), shared this spreadsheet of podcasts that relate to history to use with secondary students.

If you’re looking for ways to celebrate International Podcast Day, this page has good suggestions. I realize that it’s over a month away, but these are activities you definitely you want to plan ahead of time rather than the night before.

This page from Building Book Love has excellent recommendations for podcasts for both elementary and secondary. There are also links to some TPT pages the author has created for listening and responding to podcasts.

There are a few other links on my Wakelet if you want to delve deeper. If you haven’t tried using podcasts yet, I hope that you will take the leap because they are definitely a valuable educational resource that I think has been largely untapped so far!

Off on a Tangent training using Ethics Depth and Complexity Mat
K-12, Math, Teaching Tools

Off on a Tangent

I had a wonderful time yesterday working with NEISD GT on some math enrichment activities in a workshop I titled, “Off on a Tangent.” We mashed up a Slow Reveal Graph with Depth and Complexity mats and tried out the Connect, Extend Challenge Visible Thinking Routine with Splat. (The latter could have gone better, I think, with higher quality facilitation on my part. Definitely improving on that next time!) Even though they had just completed challenging working days, the teachers were receptive and enthusiastic as they explored the many resources I tried to curate just for them to either use with their students in GT or to recommend to classroom teachers for students craving new challenges.

I’m grateful for still having many opportunities to be involved in education despite “retiring” a couple of years ago. Thanks to all of you for allowing me to continue to be a part of this world whether it is by reading my blog posts (which admittedly often go off on a tangent), connecting with me on social media, or inviting me to present professional development. It’s an honor to regularly interact with and learn from so many rock-star educators!

Diarra Bousso Guey, Senegalese Mathematician
Careers, K-12, Math

More Math Inspiration

One hashtag that is always sure to reveal exciting math resources is #MTBOS (Math Twitter Blog-o-Sphere). That’s how I discovered Nathan Day (@nathanday314), and a couple of his great shares. With his permission, I am putting the links in this post as I really want more people to become inspired by math and mathematicians. If you’re a teacher with a few blank spaces on your wall, some of these might be great additions!

First, here are Nathan’s files for 50 Mathematical Quotations. You can access them as a Powerpoint file (which can be added to Google Drive and converted to Slides if needed) or PDF:

Next, these are his files for 82 famous mathematicians from around the world:

I love seeing the diversity and representation (53 countries), and I think it will help your students to see that as well.

Thanks to Nathan for putting these together and sharing them! He also gave some shouts out to @DrStoneMaths, @SimonYoung10, and @Desmos for the versions/blog post on which he based his Famous Mathematicians posters, so thanks to them, too. As Sir Isaac Newton said, “If I have been able to see further, it was only because I stood on the shoulders of giants.”

from Famous Mathematicians, compiled by @NathanDay314
Colorful fraction pieces and math sign
K-12, Math

Build a Math Mindset with a #WIM Playlist

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. 

Portrait of schoolgirls by the blackboard pointing at a math problem and looking at camera
3-5, Games, Math

Wordle Stats Slow Reveal Graph

I discovered an posted about Slow Reveal Graphs back in 2020. I love the concept of gradually divulging a bit of information at a time, engaging students with suspense as they attempt to make meaning of the graph. It immediately got bookmarked in my Math Sites That Won’t Make You Fall Asleep collection.

I recently revisited the site to take a look at the page full of Slow Reveal Graphs for elementary students, and was delighted to see one for Wordle Stats by Andrew Gael (@bkdidact). It provides a Google Slides presentation ready to go that includes a Jimmy Fallon clip where the Tonight Show host plays Wordle, apparently for the first time. This is great for two reasons: students who haven’t played can learn along with him, and he models how to learn from failed attempts as he plays. After the clip, students are shown the Stats page which many of us are familiar with, and information is filled in on each slide so that students can try to figure out how the chart will eventually be completed.

If you’re looking for fun ways to begin the school year, this could be the ticket for you. Do the Slow Reveal Graph, and then have students either make their own Wordles or try one of the many variations that I’ve collected here.

I encourage you to read more about using Slow Reveal Graphs with students, and try this routine with one of the many resources provided on this amazing site!

From Wordle Stats Slow Reveal Graph by Andrew Gael