We SOAR as lifelong, innovative thinkers who are compassionate, productive citizens.
I've found it's true in math, too. No matter where the educational pendulum lands, this year, I know it is better for students to suffer than to sit. It's better for pupils to struggle than receive handouts. It's better for them to pull for themselves than for me to push them from behind. I've written such notions into my educational philosophy for a long time.
And it still makes sense to me.
This year, I embarked upon a search for better math strategies. In an attempt to understand the infamous Common Core, while at the same time doing what is best for my students. The search for common sense, but not necessarily common core and definitely not in any overpriced and oversold textbook, led me from place to place to place, and the journey was so rich with scenery that I found myself stopping along the side of the road several times to take pictures.
Along the way, I found Andrew Stadel, Dan Meyer, Steve Wyborney, Fawn Nguyen, and Robert Kaplinsky. I stopped to ask for directions, and they led me to others.
It was a virtual revolution in math presentation, and I was ready to enlist.
It seems these soldiers are making strides in math education, in a noble quest not to teach or present math, but to instill it in students, to embed it in the way they think. These soldiers are leading the way in rebellion against tradition and textbooks.
My kind of people!
The only problem is that most of their materials are over our heads. I'm charged with teaching fourth graders, and the material here is primarily for middle and high school classes.
Their materials may be over our heads, but their ideas certainly are not.
Perhaps you are a teacher who needs some inspiration. Well, don't wait for the next sunrise to begin your own journey, and don't wait for someone to give you the script. Check out the webpages that I'm following these days. The first are, for lack of a better description, blogs.
I'm not going to describe these because, frankly, you need to pull off onto the shoulder for a while and consider the scenery for yourself. Take your time: there are attractions here that might surprise you. Just remember: we're charged with motivating our students to be curious and think for themselves. It's not about memorization or formulas; it's about approaching the "problems", noticing the details, and discovering the math.