Friday, December 30, 2011

What have you been doing?

To wrap things up for 2011, I thought a recount of the year's posts would be in order. This will be my 90th post on this blog this year, which is pretty amazing considering I thought one a week would be a reasonable goal. But I ended up finding a lot to write about. So much, in fact, that I forgot some of what I wrote. This is the main reason I wanted to write this recount - to refresh my memory.

In January, I introduced my blog and the rationale behind it. It was also my intention that some of the posts might inspire me to write a book on the Teaching-Learning Cycle. So the next few posts began a series on the Cycle - assessment, evaluation, and planning.

The instruction post of the Teaching-Learning Cycle started off February. A self-evaluation that I wrote next was the first unplanned post. This was followed by my yoga story, which I share in nearly every class as a metaphor for effective teaching. Another unplanned post shared my students' views of what they thought it meant to do math. The post on frameworks was the last one of the month and probably my favorite one of the year.

I wrote 12 posts in March. The first was an email I sent to our student teachers about time management. Second, I wrote a commentary to accompany my TEDxGrandValley talk. In the third post, I explain why as a math teacher I attend the Michigan Reading Association Conference. In the next two posts I began a series that looked at testing from the Teaching-Learning Cycle (TLC) perspective (assessment and evaluation). The series was interrupted, however, by a pair of unplanned posts: a letter to the editor in support of teacher unions and a description of how I used a Twitter backchannel in a class. Next was the third TLC/testing post focusing on planning. Two more unplanned "interruptions" addressed a Tweet by Alfie Kohn and a simile survey related to learning math. The conclusion of the TLC/testing series (instruction) was next. The twelfth and final post outlined the workshop I used to have my students reflect on what it means to learn math.

April was my most prolific month with 15 posts. A pair early in the month used Monty Python skits to look at teaching and learning. There were four posts that had been in my files for awhile waiting to be shared with the world: Process Standard math centers; an early elementary math poem; and a pair of posts on Pass the Pigs (the first post was the most popular of the year). There were a couple of posts related to work my students on what it means to teach math. I also introduced why I started the Learning Museum (another blog that needs more of my attention). Three posts were related to the NCTM Conference I attended in Indianapolis. A mind map reflecting our teacher assistants' experiences over the semester took up another post. Near the end of the month, I wrote a post that responded to an article suggesting that students learn best from direct instruction. The last post was a copy of a final exam I gave my preservice middle school math teachers.

I kept up the pace in May with 13 posts. The first three were a series based on a student teacher's portfolio project. Next was an impromptu post based on an #anyqs tweet. Another Twitter inspired post considered alternatives to traditional math homework. After attending TEDxGrandRapids, I also wrote a synopsis of the event from an educational slant. I did another three-part series on EdCamp Detroit: introduction, my session, and my reflection. There was another response to the article on direct instruction (which also introduced the clock model for adding and subtracting fractions) and two more posts from my files on grading. And then there was the one where I explained why all the titles of my posts are questions. I'm not sure I'll continue that theme next year.

In June I wrote three more posts associated with the clock model for adding and subtracting fractions. There were also three more posts on activities from my files: data transformations; scatter plots; and Monte Carlo simulations. I wrote a post comparing teaching to training horses, and a pair relating teaching to bike tag-alongs (what I saw and what I thought about it). I ended the month writing about the gradual release of responsibility and my thoughts on the flipped classroom.

I began teaching a graduate class in July and a couple of my posts focused on that experience. The first was based on memories I had as I planned the course. And the second was based on my desire for my grad students to mutinyI also wrote about teaching as story telling in honor of the last Harry Potter movie's debut, the importance of trusting oneself in teaching and golf, and a letter to the editor on education reform.

August began with one more post about my grad students - their blog addresses so others could offer feedback. I then wrote about how I use the workshop model. Then I blogged about how a TED Talk encouraged me to take the 30 day challenge. Finally, I talked about why I ask questions in class for which I don't have answers.

September was the start of classes, and I began the month writing about a workshop I use on the first day. Then I wrote about how design thinking might apply to education. A post on teacher pay came next. These were followed by two more math activities from my files: one on story problems and the other on empowering students (this became part of a series called, Now What).
In October I finished the Now What series on empowerment with three more posts. I also shared my session workshop on Metacognitive Memoirs from the MCATA Conference. My big post was a 'transcript' of my keynote at MCATA.

Two unplanned posts bookended November. The first post of the month was on phronesis. The post at the end of the month was about running. In between, I wrote about my session on Twitter at EdCamp GR and what makes math real. I also began a series on using action plans to improve teaching. The first introduced action plans and the second gave an example of one in use.

December included two more activities from the archives: fostering creativity and snowman glyphs. There was another impromptu post based on several Twitter interactions. The third in the action plan series focused on an example related to evaluation. I shared a video reflection from one of my learners. And last, but definitely not least, was my blog recount that you might still be reading.

Well, that's all folks. Thanks to anyone who made it this far. And thanks to everyone who supported me through this first year of blogging. I am excited to see what new learning 2012 has in store.

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