(At Least) One Good Thing

This has been a crazy week – one of those where you hope you’ve caught all the important emails as they came in because you haven’t had time to actually read them all and you have about 50 million tabs open on your computer because of all the things you’ve started to do but haven’t yet finished. Despite being at the end of a double PD day with a family math night in the evening, I know that if I don’t write this now, it’s unlikely to get written. (Also, I don’t currently have the brain power to write up a model lesson using Cuisenaire rods to understand fractions on a number line, which is the other option for being productive!) So, here goes…

At first I thought it was going to be hard to find one good thing – nothing has really stood out this week or been so amazing that I’ve shared it with everybody I know. But then I actually thought back over the last few days, and I can’t help but come up with a plethora!

On Monday, teachers were incredibly engaged during their monthly math PLC…to the extent that I got paged via a whole-school announcement to come answer a question for a particular grade level! One grade level was exploring some new curriculum that they’re going to be testing out, another was reflecting on a new instructional model they’ve just started implementing, while still others were having phenomenal conversations about next steps and how to support students. It’s an honor to work with teachers who are so dedicated to what they do!

On Tuesday, I got to network with other math specialists and coaches in the area during the morning and had the unexpected chance to catch up with former colleagues in the afternoon. Not a particularly productive day in terms of output or direct work with teachers, but so refreshing to remember that I’m not in it alone and that the challenges exist across grade levels and contexts.

On Wednesday, I had the opportunity to start co-planning some fraction lessons with a teacher, talking about sequencing of skills and instructional supports and student engagement and so much more – all of the things I really miss thinking about on a day-to-day basis now that I’m without a classroom to call my own. I was also able to meet with another teacher to discuss a book we’ve both been reading (Putting the Practices into Action: Implementing the Common Core Standards for Mathematical Practice, K-8 – highly recommended!) and just touch base on ideas and resources for integrating the SMPs more fully into the classroom. Once again, a super rewarding part of my job.

And then today, on Thursday, although tiring, my two PD sessions went extremely well, the student whom I tutor totally rocked her modeling and explanation of subtraction with regrouping, and I got to watch families doing math together for an entire hour while having fun! What else can I ask for??

I suppose the moral of the story is that there’s good everywhere. I know there was at least one night earlier in the week where I called up a friend and ranted for at least ten minutes straight…but I can’t now recall what it was that was bothering me so much. When I think about my week, what I remember are the good things. And that’s the best thing!


Why “primemathblog”?

1. Why a blog?

Because one of my goals in 2016 is to become better connected professionally with the world outside my district…and because Explore MTBoS makes this a great place to start! I’m looking forward to giving myself time and space to reflect more deeply on my work and beliefs and to sharing thoughts and resources with a larger community.

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2. Why math?

I care about math partially because of the positions I’ve chosen to accept/pursue, but also because it’s helped me to narrow something so huge into something a bit smaller. Although being passionate about effective teaching and learning in elementary mathematics is by no means a small thing, it is slightly more manageable than education overall! Math is a place in which I both feel challenged and feel at home, and I love helping to create that same experience for others, whether that be students or fellow teachers.

3. Why prime?

Well, first of all, because prime numbers are my absolute favorite (to the extent that I set my alarm clock to a prime number every morning!). But, beyond referring to a number that is only divisible by one and itself, the word prime also has the following definitions:

Primes image(noun) the most flourishing stage or state

(adj) of the first importance; demanding the fullest consideration

(verb) to prepare or make ready for a particular purpose

These describe so well what I hope to accomplish in my work every day – to bring elementary mathematics to its most flourishing stage by making it of first importance and preparing teachers for this purpose!