Math Updates

There have been three new exciting developments taking place in my math classroom that are surround slightly different ideas and could greatly impact teaching.

The first is out of a semi joking email, semi joking since I didn't think the principal would buy in and/or have resources to support it,  I'd read an article about exercise bikes in the math classroom with table tops for students to work on while pedaling, having a PE degree and being active I loved the idea and sent the news article to the principal. Surprisingly he liked it. Thus a huge grant is in the process of being written and submitted.  If we are a finalist and receive funding my classroom would be gaining exercise bikes, yoga ball chairs, a treadmill mat, under the desk ellipticals, and wobble chairs.  This would give every student in my small classes an opportunity to wiggle or move throughout a lesson. It would be a one of a kind opportunity and obviously have a learning curve for me, but would be well worth it.  I'm not sure what that would look like for a seating chart as some desks would be removed and some items like the treadmat and exercise bikes would likely be on a rotational basis, but I'll begin to worry about that if the funding comes through.

The second came about from conversations at parent teacher conferences. Many parents wanted to help students with their math homework. but are unsure how to help either because they don't know how to do the math or they can't convince their student that their way is also correct and can get you to the right answer.  My solution that is way beyond feasible in a public school is to offer a zero period. Currently the school I teach at starts at 9 so the solution would be to offer 6th grade math in a zero period limited to 15 students that had parent participation/attendance. While ideally they'd attend 5 days a week realistically asking them to attend 3 days a week would seem actually possible.  This would give students the opportunity to take an extra elective course in a school that is very small and one class can drive an entire schedule. In addition it would bring parents into the school to be involved. At the middle school level parents have limited involvement, but part of this I believe is entirely because schools don't provide / advertise them as much as elementary schools.  Lastly, the class would be an excellent bonding time for parent and kid at a time where kids still need a large parent influence, but yet are learning to spread their wings.

The third and final, is I have received a small grant from the kids in need foundation to fund Brown Bag math.  I saw this come through from a slide from the National NCTM meeting.  So in the fall of next year I will have the materials to equip every 6th grade student with a brown lunch bag filled with materials and directions to practice math skills and play the games we use for practice in class at home. This should also help bridge parent involvement and could potentially greatly benefit younger siblings in the home.

That's all for now...I'll have to try to update more frequently, I've fallen off the wagon with broken home laptops and a new puppy who requires tons of attention.


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