With the year underway, we’re trying something new in Oklahoma that I think you should know about. For each and every grade level covered by our new Oklahoma Academic Standards for Mathematics, we’re recommending that teachers across Oklahoma spend their first week (or so) engaging their students in mathematics activities that inspire students and give them the power of a mathematical mindset.
You can find the Unit 0 at the beginning of every Suggested Learning Progression v2 in the OKMath Framework at http://OKMathFramework.pbworks.com. Read Jo Boaler‘s introduction to the “Week of Inspirational Math” below.
Don’t underestimate the power of Unit 0. We’re already hearing wonderful conversations about how students are responding to the activities in the #OKMathPreAlg Facebook group.
Please join us!
Week of Inspirational Math
Welcome to our Week of Inspirational Math(s) lessons! My name is Jo Boaler, Co-Founder of youcubed and Professor of Mathematics Education at Stanford. I am also the author of the book: Mathematical Mindsets. Our WIM lessons have been viewed millions of times, used in every state across the US, as well as many other countries in the world. Teachers and students love the activities and mindset videos. In previous years of WIM, 98% of teachers said their students were engaged when working on the lessons and 96% of the students surveyed said they now believe they should keep going even when work is hard and they make mistakes. And that is a wonderful thing!
We hope that you will like this week of activities and be inspired to teach open, visual*, creative mathematics all year. Our materials extend across K-12. We have organized them into grade bands that we think might be appropriate, but don’t take our word for it, if you are a grade 5 teacher, for example, have a look at the activities for 6 and up, you may like some of those. You know, better than we do, what is best for your students.
Every lesson is accompanied by a mindset video for students. I make them with the help of my undergraduates and some school children! We hope you and your students enjoy them.
We recommend that you start the year with the mindset videos and accompanying activities, it is the perfect time for the inspirational messages and content, but you can use them any time.
Each year we choose some of our favorite activities that invite students into a world of open, creative, visual* mathematics. We have done our best to make the activities fit a lesson, not knowing how long your lesson is! But my advice is always to keep going if students are working on important ideas and an activity needs to go into another lesson. If you would like to read any research on the reason mathematics should be open, creative and visual*, and the importance of students being given mindset and other messages from brain science, please read my book or explore the many resources available on this website. And please let us know how the lessons go, via Twitter (@joboaler), our new youcubed Facebook group, and other social media. There are also surveys for teachers, parents and students on each of the WIM pages so you can give us specific feedback on the materials. We are excited to take this journey with you!
* Here in Oklahoma, we’re trying to be very thoughtful around the language we use to describe mathematics. This is a new effort to ensure we convey to all students that mathematics is accessible, regardless of any dis/ability they may have. For that reason, we’re trying to replace language such as “mathematics is visible” with language that reflects the multiple ways of engaging with, communicating about, and understanding of mathematics.
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