Success In Math

Did you ever have one of those days, in teaching, where you thought, “YES! This is what it’s all about”? Yeah, I had one of those moments today.

We have been talking about place value and really digging in deep in math. Today we organically began talking about exponents. I say organically because while I’ve touched on the subject before, the students really hadn’t grasped the concept. Yet today, they began making connections. And THAT was super cool! We really only focused on exponents as they relate to the base ten number system. For example 10 x 10 = 100 = 10

This led to one student wondering if exponents “only work” with 10 or does it work with other numbers. We briefly discussed this. Then another student started making connections about the number of zeros and the exponent.

THIS is exactly what Common Core Math is about – looking deeper into the systems and the ‘why’ and discovering the connections and shortcuts. Knowledge IS power!

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Inspiring Teachers

Lately I’ve been thinking, what makes a great teacher, an inspiring teacher?  What characteristics do they possess? Who do I aspire to be like?

creative commons licensed ( BY-NC-SA ) flickr photo shared by courosa

1. Sharing is Caring

These people share everything they do – FREELY. They share their ideas, successes, and failures. Whether they are sharing with people in the department, site, or on the Internet via blogging or tweeting. They realize that by sharing, not only are they impacting their students, they can impact hundreds.

2. It’s Not About Them

This goes along with sharing. These teachers realize that education is bigger than them, or their classrooms. It’s about helping to create thinkers, doers, and problem solvers. They understand that what they do is for the greater good.

3. Connected

These educators realize that in order to grow and learn, they need to seek out others. You can find them on Twitter, Google+, LinkdIn, writing blogs, etc. They attend conferences, local and otherwise.

4. A Need to Learn

The learning never stops. Thus the conferences, blog reading, #brewcues, #coffeecues, and ed tech meet-ups. They go back to school, enroll in MOOCs, or take courses. There is a constant need to learn and improve themselves.

5. Collaborators

Along with sharing and being connected, collaboration is another key. They listen, and welcome, other ideas. The act of building upon one another’s ideas is a regular conversation.

6 Humble and Uplifting

When I really thought about it, I realized these people are humble about their abilities and help others along on their journey. This, I think, is by far their greatest asset.

These are the qualities of a great teacher. This is what I aspire to be.