I’m more than a little late with this one… but here’s my contribution to mission #8 for Explore the MTBoS: Sharing is Caring.
All year I’ve been talking to my maths colleagues with about this wonderful world called the MathtwitterBlogosphere… maybe babbling is a more accurate description of what I’ve been doing:
“Did you make this activity up?”
“Nope, I found it on the MathtwitterBlogosphere!”
“Thats a really cool website”
“I know! Someone from the MathtwitterBlogosphere tweeted about it!”
It was only the other day that I realised I’ve only given a proper explanation of the MTBoS to two of my colleagues, but a lot more of them have (unknowingly) seen the benefits of this community.
A few weeks ago we were teaching the topic “Graphs of Physical Phenomena” – starting with basic travel graphs, then moving on to more complex graphs that involved variable rates. After finding this website, I decided to have students make their own videos. Working with another teacher, we formed a plan. We started with a quick lesson looking at graphs that depicted cars accelerating, or a runner who was slowing down as he got tired – gradually introducing language like “increasing at a decreasing rate”. Then we watched 4 Graphing Stories and students became more confident working with these complex graphs.
Then came the fun part. I borrowed a pile of different shaped glass flasks from the science department, and had students film themselves slowly filling them up with water (holding a ruler next to the flask so we could see the height of the water). As a class we then sat down and graphed the height of the water as a variable of time – drawing a quick sketch of what we thought the graph might look like, then a more accurate graph as we watched the videos. The activity worked amazingly well, and full credit was paid to the MTBoS for the wonderful idea. I’m hoping that my continual mentioning of the MTBoS will help some of my colleagues become more open to the idea of an online professional learning community.
In the case of one particular teacher, my mentor, I’m making a more direct effort to get her involved in the MTBoS – we sat down for about half an hour on one of the last days of school this year, and I showed her around a bit. I showed her some of my favourite blogs, some others that I think she might find really useful, a whole pile of virtual filing cabinets, websites like Estimation 180, as well as emailing her a copy of Nix the Tricks. Maybe a little overwhelming for a half-hour session! She’s told me that she’s going to spend some more time exploring in our 5 week holiday. After all that she’s done for me as my mentor this year, I really hope that I can show her the wonders of the MTBoS as a small way of giving something back to her.
Maybe next year I’ll introduce them to Twitter.