This post was written as part of the 2017 MTBoS Blogging Initiative, in response to the prompt “Read and Share.”
My math teaching jobs have been at small schools, where I have been the only one teaching my courses. While I have had great colleagues, I have never had a group of math teachers at my own school to collaborate with. As a result, the MTBoS has been hugely important to my development as a teacher, and while there are far too many amazing and generous educators who have changed my teaching to list here, I thought that I would share a few of the voices who have had the greatest day-to-day impact in my own classroom, and have linked their name to a recent post that taught me something or caused me to reflect on my practice. Most of these will not be a surprise to anyone who knows what the letters in MTBoS stand for.
Dan Meyer: For me, he is among the most important voices in contemporary math education. I incorporate his ideas about how to make math education meaningful and relevant for my students into my classroom everyday. But in addition, I follow closely his open minded approach, and his attitudes toward having a productive conversation even with someone who starts from the premise of disagreement, or even a critic who begins by hating on him.
Fawn Nguyen – What can you say about Fawn? Her brash and direct writing give her the room to discuss what it means to really care about your students, and to share he joy of mathematics and the empowerment that comes from learning how to be a problem solver. I will read every word that Fawn writes for us.
Nora Oswald – No one can gamify math like Nora. Her activities (or at least the structure of her games) make appearances in my classes at least a couple of times a year. Her structures seem to provoke the healthy kind of competition – where students want to push themselves without keeping the other team down.
The Desmos Team – The desmos team models how to be learners. They are continually responsive to the community and to improving the calculator and the experience for users.
Kalid Azad – I just recently discovered Kalid’s work when I was looking for a better way to explain the graph of the sine function with radian scale. He has a knack for sharing straightforward examples and ways of thinking about math that focus on conceptual understanding. The linked post definitely had an immediate impact on my class the next day, and I am making my way through his older work to see where else it might lend new insights for me and for my students.
Ben Orlin – Math with Bad Drawings is insightful, entertaining, and true. Harder to say exactly what I bring into my classroom, but I find myself thinking of his posts often when I’m with students.
David Wees – In addition to the contributions of the New Visions work to my own Algebra curriculum, reading this blog regularly adds a tweak to one of my instructional routines, or adds depth to my formative assessments.
Jo Boaler – her work with youcubed is a really important voice in promoting equity in math education. As a feminist, my goal to promote equity, uncover unconscious bias, and create opportunities for ALL students is at the core of why I became a teacher, and in fact at the core of my personal values outside of being a teacher.
Whose voices are most important to your teaching, and how do they show up in your classroom?