Last summer I enrolled in a Stanford based MOOC taught by Professor of Education Jo Boaler. The course is centered on the idea of promoting a “growth mindset” towards mathematics and learning in general. The school year started before I could finish the course, so I didn’t finish. I was happy to see that Boaler will be running a student version of the course this summer. Wanting to have more growth mindset materials to show my students, I signed up for the course. It was then that I noticed that the course I started last year was still there, with all the materials available! I was very happy because this year is costs $125 to enroll. The only drawback is that I can no longer comment on other student’s responses nor can I complete assignments towards the “certificate of completion” you get at the end since the class officially closed last September. But who cares! That’s not why I signed up for it. I do the assignments for myself in a small txt file and I’m good.
Today, I focused on three ideas:
1. I took a more in-depth look at number talks and how to teach them. I particularly like the approach of drawing visual representations of student solutions to expand student thinking and encourage rich discussion.
2. Back to basics! Students should be well aware of a lesson’s objectives, and I need to be mindful about what concepts I want students to focus. For example:
“I understand that if two expressions are equal, and then you perform the same operation to both sides of the equals sign, the resulting expressions are also equal.”
“I understand that “inverse” means “undo.” I understand that addition and subtraction are inverse operations. I understand that multiplication and division are inverse operations. I understand that to solve for a variable in a linear equation, I need to perform inverse operations until I get the variable by itself on one side of the equation.”
3. One particularly striking point in one of the videos was the idea that telling students “we want you to spend 6 hours per day growing your brain” was not nearly as powerful as “we want you to spend 6 hours per day growing your brain so that you can contribute as much as you can to your community.”