Tuesday, March 27, 2012

How much is your time worth?

For our math team warm up this week we spent the first 15 minutes of our meeting working on a Figure This! problem from the NCTM.  The problem asks:

Would you rather work seven days at $20 per day or be paid $2 for the first day and have your salary double everyday for a week?

We spend the first 5 minutes or so working individually (it was interesting that all of us automatically went to work on our own first, rather than just start talking about it) and then came back together and shared out our thoughts.  We all agreed that we would prefer the second option because we would end up with more money after seven days, but any days less than seven, we would prefer the $20 per day.  I asked everyone in the group to share out how they approached the problem and it was interesting to see and hear how people organized their information.

What am I learning about collaboration?
I am curious to see what other Figure This! problems are out there because I think that these would be awesome to do with my 8th graders.  This problem in particular is an interesting problem to think about because it deals with money and bring up the idea that you'd only want to choose the second option if you were working for seven or more days.  I think this problem would lend itself great to discussions on how we represent data as tables, equations, and graphs.  It was awesome to see my colleagues approach this problem the same way I hope my students would approach it.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Filling Glasses problem

During our math team meeting this week, I shared with the group the Filling Glasses problem.  We were not allowed to write anything, just talk with our partner on matching glasses to four unusually shaped glasses with the graphs that best describe the height of the water in the glass over time.  We spent about 10 minutes talking with a partner and then the pairs shared out with the whole group and we discussed whether we agreed or not, and justified our responses.

I really enjoyed this problem for a few reasons: (1) although it was annoying at first, not being about to write anything really made me think about how I communicated my thoughts to my partner, (2) its not a "typical" kind of problem, yet totally real-life based, (3) I felt like I got a lot from listening to my colleagues comments.  My co-teacher liked this problem so much that he and I decided to use it as a warm-up for our CTT class one day to see how that would go.

What am I learning about collaboration?
The math problems that we have been doing have been a great way to "even the playing field" during our team meetings because they make all of us responsible for sharing.  Although I have gotten better at it, there have been many lessons with my scholars, where the bell rings in the middle of the scholars working, and the lesson really has no final share-out.  Being mindful of these problems have really emphasized to me the importance of bringing a lesson (or a problem) back together at the end and the share out main ideas.  

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Six Keys to Successful Collaboration By Braden Welborn

Got this article in an email today and thought it brought up some interesting points on teacher collaboration.  The two points that resonated with me the most were clarity of purpose and individual commitment.  I feel with our math team meetings after school, I am lucky that the 6th and 7th grade math teachers are just as invested in working together to improve student achievement and our practice.  I think the article sums it up best at the end when it says "There's no magic formula for successful collaboration.  But this dialogue demonstrates that teacher's know a great deal about what works - and what doesn't work."

What I am learning about collaboration?
What a great way to empower teachers with that last statement!