Monday, December 7, 2015

Blog Anniversary.

Why Blog?

Its been about a year, 75 posts and 3900 hits since I first started blogging.  So it seems appropriate to step back and ask some bigger questions. First and foremost I write because I enjoy doing so. It helps clarify my thinking and its fun to watch other people across the world read your thoughts. I never thought I would enjoy twiddling around with google analytics or join twitter and tweet about a post a year ago. I still get a thrill every time I see a comment show up on the page. I started this project in the hopes I would document enough of the daily process of how to run a math club that my eventual successor would have a good starting point when I handed it off.  I've been  trying to stay mindful of this and create enough structure through pages like activity map or resources that even as the number of posts rise, someone new will be able to find the topics they need.

But its a long ways off until that point and I soon decided its lot more rewarding to interact with real readers rather than a theoretical one a year or two in the future.  So one of my other main goals is that others trying the same process in different schools would also find this site and derive some utility from it.  That still remains largely unrealized but secondarily I want to connect with others in the math world and exchange ideas and learn from each other. To some extent I've made good on that goal and it's definitely part of why I keep writing. Along the ways I've found some really cool people whom I wish could be teacher's for my own kids include @patrick_honner, @henry_picciotto and @mike_lawler.

What I've been up to Recently

Sometimes sessions have a rhythm of their own. This fall seems to be ending up to be about various number theory exercises and centrally the distributive law. I'm working as always hardest to level the days correctly, figure out how to help the kids through the humps and how to bring out their best thinking. 

I think my favorite recent activity was the Pascal's Triangle filler exercise I used after the first Olymiad: first Olympiad. I'm, also fairly please with my first distributive law worksheet. More generally, I've had a lot of success with my problem of the week strategy. I'm looking forward to doing a bit more geometry in the winter session.

Practices


  • I was reminded last week of the importance of thinking about how kids might get blocked to prep responsive questions. This was a practice I worked on last spring, that I'm returning to, 
  • I'm always on the lookout for new game, activities to intersperse between problem sets.
  • I'm still developing my ability to foster good mathematical conversations among the students. This is probably my top goal for right now. 
  • As always I want to develop each kids problem solving ability and curiusity about why various mathematical principles work. To paraphrase Arthur Benjamin  the reaction I'm looking for is "Ooh now Why?"

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