Patterns, Patterns Everywhere

In activities, inquiry, thinking on October 17, 2013 at 11:42 pm

This post was prompted by looking at  Aviva Dunsiger‘s Twitter stream – she is working on patterns with her students.  I would like to engage with her 6th grade class on Skype (my students are in 2nd grade) so we can do some Math together.

I am briefly outlining our inquiry into patterns last year so do not expect a “great” blog post.  It was written in half an hour!


I had 4 groups of students (red, blue etc.) and gave each group a set of 3 photos.


Question: What do these have in common? 

Dynamic Duos

In education, reflection on October 5, 2013 at 1:41 pm
Joy …children need to enjoy learning. As simple as that. It makes sense to *want* to learn. Effort…difficulty or complexity of tasks makes us think better. That can sometimes impact the level of engagement.
WONDER….encouraging and giving time for children to question; knowledge was historically built BY asking questions and wondering KNOW …building knowledge to be able to ask better questions and think better. You DO need to know things in order to think better.

Mathematically Speaking

In education, inquiry, thinking on September 15, 2013 at 2:35 pm

Children love math. That is, when they are curious about it and succeed in their practice. I know, *that* is the difficult part: curiosity and success. How do you make sure both happen?

This post will outline some of the math we do in my classroom and I would truly appreciate teachers to question, add or comment on strategies I use.


Inquiry comes in different forms – from structured inquiry to spontaneous, it should permeate the math class. Creating an inquiry culture is hard work despite the widespread impression that it comes naturally and often with kids. The school setting itself is not conducive to curiosity – 20 or more students in the same room, lessons fractured by the bell, and the list can continue. Plus, children are *supposed to* learn in school – not a very appealing premise for wondering. Moreover, when questions arise they can be quite superficial.  That is why modeling questioning so as to become part of the class language and thinking takes time. Consistency is key.

Questions in a math class:

  • How do you know…? (by far my favorite) I gave an example here using my own students’ responses.
  • Can you give an example of…? 
  • What strategy did you use? Why is it effective?

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