On October 24th I had the privilege of attending the BC Association of Math Teachers Fall Conference: For the Love of Math. It was an incredible day and I learned so much – I feel so lucky to be in a profession that has so many amazing opportunities to learn and grow!
So first off… conferences are a tough place for me because you have to be decisive! I never trust myself to make the best decisions on which conferences to attend and I always find myself second guessing these decisions so my morning started with panicked texting with my teaching friends about WHICH WORKSHOPS TO ATTEND?! I am really happy with the decisions I made but I definitely think the ones I didn’t get to attend were also amazing – that’s just the way it goes though!
The keynote speaker, Dr. Nathalie Sinclair, was an excellent way to start the day! Her focus was on the movement in math and she had so many examples of the ways to show students movement in math lessons. Mostly she worked with technology to show the movement – for example, the bouncing along a number line or drawing the relationship between radius/diameter and pi in a circle. Her passion for math was contagious and it had me ready to go for the rest of my sessions!
First up – Daily Math Investigations with Selina Millar (Surrey School District). Selina’s focus is on meaningful math practice in daily routines. She has lots of activities to engage students in interactive ways and allow for meaningful communication. There were so many ways that she would build a seemingly simple activity into a rich lesson topic (like pentomino puzzles into a lesson on reducing fractions). The two things I loved the most from her workshop were: a) the focus on creating opportunities for meaningful conversations between students and b) the idea that math is a verb and not a noun – it is something we do, not something we know. Plus I won the draw prize and got a copy of her activities – Bonus!
My second workshop was from Chris Hunter (Surrey School District) on Building Communication. Chris went through some of his favourite activities and practices that engage students in conversation. My two favourites from his workshop are the large group whiteboards (high gloss shower/tile boards) that can be easily used for group problem solving and the Estimation 180 website. I love the idea that these build those opportunities for students to discuss math in meaningful ways and it comes from the students, not directed by the teacher. He also had a lot of other great activities to try out in class like math sorts – Check out his blog for more ideas because there are tons and I can’t really do them all justice in this post.
All in all it was an amazing day for this math nerd teacher and I am so grateful for the opportunity!