Welcome back


I’m back. It’s been a while.

I took a break this summer–from blogging, from twitter, from workshops. I did a little writing, some for my dissertation and some for academic papers. I went to Vancouver and gave a talk at a conference. I visited Puerto Rico and drank pina coladas by the pool. I spent some time in the mountains in Utah, and at the beach in Cape Cod. It’s been a great couple of months.

And now it’s back to school. I always have mixed feelings when summer ends. It’s by far my favorite time of year. For many reasons. The beach and the pina coladas being a major one. Another is that it gives me the time and space to reflect on the past school year. What went well? What didn’t? What are my goals for this year? How do I do things better? Do I still want to do what I am doing?

Here’s what I realized this summer. The thing I love most about what I do is building relationships–with students and with teachers. It was hard for me to do that well last year because I was bouncing around to different schools all the time. So this year, I’ll only be working at three schools. I’ll be at each school at least once a week supporting the math teams. I’m excited to really be part of the teams instead of popping in for a visit here and there.

I also reflected on I want to learn more about this year. I narrowed it down to two (for now):

  • Meaningful Feedback.  I had the chance to finally meet Michael Pershan and pick his brain about math mistakes over coffee. We talked about a lot about meaningful student feedback. What does it look like? How does written feedback differ from verbal feedback? What types of tasks or questions promote learning from one’s mistakes?
  • Guided Math Groups and/or Centers. Most classrooms I work with contain children with a wide range of abilities. While there are a lot of great ways to use open ended tasks that students of all abilities can access, we also need to work with students at their level in small groups. I’m trying to figure out the best ways to make that work in both elementary school and middle school.

I’m excited to get back on twitter and read what all of you have been up to. It’s good to be back.