math

## PD Saturday

A few years ago, I read a book by Burkins and Yaris called “Who’s Doing the Work?”  It’s a fabulous book.  I now follow a learning community they have created on Facebook.  The other day, this photo was posted.  It was captioned:  We had such a wonderful time filming next generation shared and guided reading lessons this week! Stenhouse Publishers is accelerating the production process so that we can debut the videos at our full-day workshop in Hurst, TX on November 3rd! We are so excited! Come see! https://buff.ly/2gsHVgd  (I pulled that directly from their Facebook page.)

This photo has been alternately bothering me and making me feel vindicated.  You know when you watch a demonstration video and the whole time, instead of thinking about how great the teaching is, you’re really thinking, “There’s no way that could happen quite like that when there are 23…25…37….kids in the class.”  Well, here’s proof that the videos aren’t actually set up in a “real” classroom setting.  I mean, I already knew that, but it feels good to have it validated.

I spent a few days this week learning from Cathy Fosnot. What I mean is Cathy and I hung out and talked about math.  There were about 25 other people there on Tuesday, and maybe 125 there today, but I still feel like it was me and Cathy getting together to talk about math.

Cathy had a variety of videos to show that showcase her work, and to help me (Ok, “us”) learn from her methods. One of the very first things I noticed was that there was so much background noise.  There were actual other kids in the classroom also having math discussions.  Cathy was talking to a small group of kids while the rest of the class was also working on their investigation.  This is how it sounds in my class too!  I am chatting away with a few kids, and brilliant things are happening, but I’m also using my peripheral vision to make sure naughty things aren’t happening, and once in a while I have to sort of tune out of the conversation, or say, “Hold that thought…X!  SIT DOWN AND DO YOUR MATH!!…ok..go on.” That’s reality.  What this showed me is that it’s okay that sometimes I am giving a group less than my full attention during a conferral.  That doesn’t mean great things can’t happen in my room.  It does mean I need to remember to turn on the voice or video recorder when I sit down for an important conferral because I just might miss a bit of it. It also showed that brilliant math conversations happen spontaneously in lots of math classrooms when the situation has been properly set up.  It doesn’t just happen with a hand-picked group of children in a quiet one on one setting, which is then edited to highlight the moments of brilliance. I feel like I am probably going to be able to pull together some examples of how this has happened in my own classroom in the past few weeks, and I’ll be able to do it easily.  (But I will probably have to wait until next weekend because I was away all day and my house shows it. But I might also decide to just throw out all of our dishes and clothes and just blog all day tomorrow.) My point is, it’s happening in my real life!