Saturday, May 19, 2012


Some of the struggles that I have encountered through doing this action research are balancing doing math together with my colleagues and sticking to our agenda.  A teacher's time is limited and therefore very valuable and there were at least two occasions where our math team meetings went longer than we planned because we got so wrapped up in doing the math.  The more times we met, I felt like we got better at pacing our meetings so that we did some math together, but did accomplish other things on our agenda as well.  Another struggle I encountered was finding "good" math problems for the team to do.  I didn't want to bring in problems that were necessarily too easy or too challenging to do, but I wanted to bring problems to the group that were thought-provoking or at the very least, we could bring into our own classrooms.  In my opinion, examples of some of the interesting problems that we spent a good amount of time on were: How much is your time worth? and Tiles in the Bag.  Not only do I remember doing these with the group, but I feel like I left with good problems that I was excited to do with my scholars afterward.  Having already done the problems with the math team, I felt like I was better prepared to give this problem to my own scholars.  

One of the highlights that I encountered through doing this action research this year is that I realized that if I want my scholars to enjoy thinking and doing math, I need to enjoy thinking and doing math, and what better way to do that than with my math colleagues.  There were a few meetings were we brought in problems that we had encountered in our own lessons.  One major thing I learned about collaborative professional development and getting together with math colleagues and doing math problems together is that the problems don't have to be these big, multi-step tasks, they can be simple.  By doing math together with my colleagues, my own appreciation and understanding of mathematics grew, and when I think about it, shouldn't that be the ultimate goal of any professional development?  


  1. Anna, your blog has been a joy to read. I think what you concluded is so profound - if you want your students (scholars) to enjoy thinking and doing math you need to model it. You authentically did this through your interactions with your colleagues a win-win.

  2. I agree with Maureen—I’ve thoroughly enjoyed your blog. You’ve taught me so much about how to make a great blog and I especially enjoyed the how you reflected after each post. Very powerful.

    You’ll continue to look for rich problems to share with your colleagues, no doubt. That is another influence of your research, I believe. I couldn’t agree with you more about your understanding that in order for you scholars to enjoy doing math problems in class, you need to find a way to nurture that enjoyment for yourself with your colleagues. I say this often: What we want for our students we should want for ourselves.

    And you’ve stated the goal of PD quite eloquently. I think sometimes we get too wrapped up in defining and measuring the outcome instead of simply nurturing the process we create together.