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Week of Inspiration Math – Reflection

October 12, 2015

This year the Grade 7 and 8 math teachers at our school started our classes using materials from Jo Boaler’s Week of Inspirational Math site. As noted on the site,

“This week is about inspiring students through open, beautiful and creative math. We have chosen the different tasks so that students see math as a broad, interesting and visual subject that involves deep thinking. Students will learn important growth mindset messages that will help them feel confident, try harder all year, persist with open and difficult problems and embrace mistakes and challenge. All tasks are low floor and high ceiling – they are accessible to all students and they extend to high levels.” (see source here)

Through this week we were able to set some mathematics learning norms including:

  • everyone can learn math to the highest levels

  • we learn better together

  • mistakes are valuable

  • questions are really important

  • math is about creativity and making sense

  • math is about connections and communicating

  • math class is about learning not performing

These norms were developed as students watched videos from the site, participated in activities and discussions and tried to complete tasks which involved a low floor and high ceiling providing access and extension for all. Working in small groups students were provided with opportunities to discuss their learning.

For me the biggest benefit of using these materials and starting the year in this fashion was for students develop habits of mind that willbenefit them as the year proceeds. Benefits are already starting to show themselves as I am able to ask students to go deeper in they’re thinking, take risks and learn from their mistakes.

I am hopeful that this will continue for the year.

 

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