It has been awhile since I have posted to my math blog... haven't really had much of anything new to share. I feel so strongly about the power of the MTBoS however that I felt that it was important that I join in the 8 week Exploring the MTBoS sessions. I have gotten more ideas for math lessons and activities from teacher blogs and twitter than I can even count. I went to the first Twitter Math Camp in St.Louis a couple summers ago and was blown away by all the talent and energy in every session I attended. Math teachers really have it together as far as using the TwitterBlogosphere to share and discuss ideas for teaching, support, strategies, technology, and more. If you are not a member of the group you should be. It is so rewarding to follow teachers who have a passion for what they do. You will not regret it and I can assure you that you will get a whole lot more out of MTBoS than you put in.
The topic that intrigued me the most for session #1 was to write about the one thing in my classroom that makes it distinctly mine. I wrote a mission statement for my math classroom several years ago- "Make it Real. Make it Simple. Make it Fun." I strive to have lessons that make math come alive for my students. I can not remember the last time I had a student ask me "When are we ever going to use this?" I try to break things down into easy steps with lessons that build upon one another and most of all I try to make lessons that students have fun doing. My classroom is loud, we move around and we laugh a lot. We talk about math and how we are using it to solve problems in our activities and lessons. We share the different strategies that we might use to go about solving problems. We learn from our mistakes. I guess the one thing that would describe my classroom best would be that it is a place where you feel safe. One of the nicest things a student said about my classroom was that it was a place where students were not afraid to share their answers- even when they were wrong- because they know that together we would get the problem solved. My students love to play my review games before tests...and we never play the same game more than once. Students love the variety.
This takes me back to MTBoS. Following teacher blogs and tweets have made the biggest difference in my classroom over the past several years. My classroom is fresh and new because of these amazing people.