#MTBos or #iteachmath — Change is hard (for me)

The other day, a math guru of our time, Dan Meyer  made a suggestion that rocked the world of math educators and my world by suggesting that we change our hashtag #MTBos to #iteachmath.   I was livid, I was hot.  Who was he to want to change things?!!!  I had worked hard to remember those 5 letters to the right of a pound sign.  I had worked at writing blogs (less often than I should) and sending notices about them to the blog-o-sphere.  What about @mpershan?  What about @samjshah?  And @k8noack? What about others who worked to bring this blogging affair together?

And then the idea that it is a “Fraternity”?…  a secret society that only a few knew of?…  Well of course!  Not the secret part per se, but a group of people, a community, “an organization or club formed for a particular purpose or activity.” who work together to better a situation – this being the teaching of mathematics….

Now, there are people who have tweeted, stating they had no idea what that hashtag meant…. Just that it was on the end of some tweets within math ideas/activities….  Well, I like to think that they would look it up, and find out more information about it, or ask!  And these are people who are on Twitter, who have gotten past the ins and outs of Twitter itself, which I found rather daunting to get started with myself.  And I’m sure they’ve looked up ideas on Pinterest (yep, it’s there, try MTBoS)

The bigger frustration:  Maybe I was just frustrated that here’s something else that has to change.  And why should one person make a change like this?  There’s a multitude in the teacher’s curriculum that’s been changing over the past few years… STEM, STEAM, ST(A-Z)M, LMS, Twitter, Flipping, Saging or Guiding, Blended Learning, PBLs, ….

And…  then…. I….  read….. the replies….  the comments…. the positive ideas….

There IS a place for both hashtags.

The #MTBoS is a place for those who enjoy:

  1.  reading of other educators ideas that have stood the test of children
  2.  empathizing with the stories that bring tears to those who read and identify with the blogger
  3.  laughing at things that have gone right, and things that have failed miserably
  4. sharing opinions, recognize their shortcomings, and introducing new ideas and beliefs

The #iteachmath is a larger affinity:

  1. a hashtag that takes educators to read other ideas and to comment
  2.  a place to share ideas and stories in 140 characters or less
  3. an identity where everyone can join in celebrating mathematics of all levels

Hmmmm….. funny how both hashtags seem very similar!

So, after 20+ years at this love, I will continue to stretch, grow, think positively, and share.


Raising the Bar on Writing to Birds’ Eye View


Week three of the MTBos brings us to Questions 101.  I enjoy reading Dan Meyer’s blogs, receiving his emails, and tweets.  He shared this site a while back in the summer (or that was when I first stumbled upon it).  The idea is to pose a picture and educators, or students can utilize the photos/pictures for a multitude of situations.

I love touching on the ubiquity of mathematics…  All we have to do is look around, and it’s there for us in common and uncommon places.   So, I turned to my not so favorite topic, birds (thanks to Mr. Poe, and Mr. Hitchcock) on a traffic light post.  Our district is challenging us to become more creative and diligent in having our students create work that incorporates writing.  So, with this picture, I gave the students 3 minutes to come up with their own mathematical problem that was not simple in nature.  The “story” problems were then shared with each other in their groups.  Students then shared their favorites.  The problems created astounded me.  How different students saw the photo  I shared one of them on the 101 questions website :  http://www.101qs.com/

1.  If one bird flies off, then three follow, then three follow each of those three, etc.. each minute, for 10 minutes, then how many total left?

2.  How many birds would it take to cause the crashing down of the light post (which then the discussion turned to how we would figure this out…  mass of birds, …  strength of the post,…  wind resistance if any…  a ptetdactyl ended that question)

3.  If the One way sign was the 0 on a number line, and each bird represented an integer, how would the equation look if we combined the birds together?

4.  Another student noticed the posts as a type of absolute value (hooray! and ??? )

I plan to keep asking students to create questions for writing  prompts.  I will also start asking students to critique other’s questions and see how we can improve both upon the math but also the writing aspect throughout this year.  More to come!