Rain drops on roses and whiskers on kittens, bright cooper kettles and warm woolen mittens, these are a few of my favorite things... I simply remember my favorite things and then I don't feel so bad.
Week 2 of the 2016 #MTBoS Blogging Initiative
I am in my first tenure-track university position and this first year has been nothing less than extremely challenging and stressful. Because of this, I adored the blogging initiative for this week. The "My Favorite Thing" theme is opportunity for me to move beyond the challenges of this year, and focus on the wonderful, the glorious, and the amazing things I encounter day-to-day throughout the week. This blog post is much like the Sound of Music "These are a few of my Favorite Things." And, these are the things that help me so "I don't feel so bad."
I'm sure everyone feels this way, but my students are my favorite thing. They are why I have a job and what I am here for. This year at Fox, I have taught a variety of students- from general education mathematics courses (College Algebra) to masters students in education (Masters of Arts in Teaching and Masters of Education). I have been pushed to think about how pedagogy in these different classes varies and how it stays the same. My students' thinking is most intriguing to me.
I even surprised myself today- I taught today (yes, on a Saturday from 9 am to 4 pm). And, my students made teaching "Adventures in Math and Science" on a Saturday SO FUN. Yes, I somehow found teaching on a Saturday for that long enjoyable. :)
This is a picture from a presentation today. One of my student was presenting on one of my favorite mathematical children's books.
I think the campus of George Fox University is beautiful. Oregon, of course, is beautiful in general, but so is Fox's campus. I love riding my bike through this campus, walking to the library, and across this beautiful bridge.
I took this picture one lovely morning.
Cognitively Guided Instruction.
I have used and am currently using the Cognitively Guided Instruction (CGI) book in a math methods course I am teaching this semester. Simply put: I think the CGI is an amazing tool to use to teach methods courses. Of course, there are other things to teach as well (I also use Intentional Talks and Number Talks books). But, I love introducing CGI to my students because it embraces a philosophy of thinking and learning that is often the complete opposite of the traditional pedagogy they have experienced. Furthermore, I do not think we can robustly design lessons or talk about "good" pedagogy without first understanding the mathematical thinking of children. The mathematical thinking of children is complex and nuanced, which needs special attention. Which came first the egg or the chicken? Of course, this is a silly question, but it points to a similar conflict with teaching methods courses. What came first - thinking and learning or teaching? It is my firm stance, that understanding the nuances of thinking comes first and takes substantial time and should be a major component of a methods course in mathematics.
This is a CGI video I found on YouTube, but if you purchase the CGI book you will get 80+ amazing videos! :)
I have blogged about Number Talks before. I love doing Number Talks with university students. I love the opportunity for modeling good pedagogy. I love facilitating flexible thinking of the students. I love learning more about the ways the student think through Number Talks. I use Number Talks before every content course and methods course that I teach for teachers (elementary, middle, or secondary).
Integer Research & Writing.
At the end of this month, I have a three major deadlines. Although this feels stressful at the moment, I would not change any of this for the world. I love every second that I am immersed in what it means to pursue research on the teaching and learning of integers. Every day this week, I Skyped various colleagues of mine about integers and our papers. This Wednesday, I met with my writing group before I taught. Then, I met with another colleague of mine to write some more on Thursday. Our "meeting" was one where we just sat next to each other and wrote. This is one of my favorite perks of being a professor. These are the moments when I think to myself, "I get paid to do this?"
This picture is the warm fireplace I sat next to at writing group.