Asilomar Nerves

Wow, I can’t seem to keep up with my blog this year. I’m feeling very challenged at my new position, yet I feel like I’m accomplishing several of the goals I set for myself this year. My biggest concern was connecting with elementary teachers after teaching high school for 11 years, but, it has gone well. I have been actively involved in several PLC groups, lesson planning, assessment analysis, ideas for lessons and learning, and been a “go to” for many of the teachers who seem to be happy to have someone with whom to discuss math ideas and concerns. I’m going to be facilitating a math committee next semester to decide on pacing, assessments, and new classroom materials. The committee will consist of teachers, administrators and parents. I’m excited and trying to go into this with my eyes and ears open. I know it won’t be easy, but I’m really hoping that we can get discussions started and teachers collaborating and planning together. We have 19 elementary schools in our district, approximately 1400 kids per grade level, and way to much going on even at school sites. Grade level teachers at sites don’t know what one another are doing, much less across the district. We have a lot of work to do.

All that to say, I’m realizing how long it has been since I have blogged. I was hoping to blog once a week when the school year started, but I just can’t seem to find the time. I noticed that Tina puts a short note up just about each day, maybe I should try that instead of “dumping” less often. I’ll probably feel less stressed that way, and things will be fresher in my mind.

Anyway, I’m here at CMC North 2014, which is in Pacific Grove, CA at the Asilomar grounds, a very beautiful place to be. I went to a PK-2 mini pre-conference today, led by Paul Giganti, Jr. a writer and teacher. It was wonderful. He showed us how to incorporate children’s literature into problem solving and mathematics for kids, and we had a lot of fun coloring pasting, questioning, sorting, and coming up with more ideas about how to do this with kids. I loved discussing these ideas with the elementary teachers there and hearing their alterations and extensions on these activities, definitely for me was a great session and I’m glad I made sure to make the pre-conference.

Tomorrow I have a presentation at 8:00 am, discussing how to create critical thinkers out of the young people we are blessed to teach. I will be presenting some of NCTM’s new research from “Principles to Action” and the 5 Steps to Facilitating Mathematical Discussions from “5 Practices for Orchestrating Productive Mathematics Discussions”. I don’t want to spend a lot of time talking, because I want to have the teachers go through an activity and discuss how the facilitation makes a difference in what students learn and how they process. I think it will be effective, however, my big problem: Andrew Stadel (@mr_stadel) and Steve Lienwand (@steve_leinwand)  have presentations at the same time as I do. How many people are going to choose me over them?

In the evening I am a part of the Ignite crowd this year. I am excited and nervous. I have never done an Ignite, but am glad for the opportunity to experience this. I really hope I can just relax and enjoy the evening. I will be with a lot of people for whom I have a lot of respect and have come to really care about. At any rate, I’m glad to be here with some amazing math educators and proud to be a part of the crowd. For so many years I have felt like an outsider, it’s great to be among like minded people.

More to come. . . .

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