My Life Policy

I was considering deleting the MATH RESOURCES corner of my website. After 10 years of teaching math, teaching faculty how to teach math, training employees at corporations how to thinking mathematically, logically, and solve problems, I had reached the point in life when it was time for another challenge. I no longer needed this web resource and after scrutinizing the website analytics, the MATH RESOURCES, a free and open resource, was on the chopping block. If you are not familiar with the "Creative Commons" I would urge you to consider adding this "copyleft" approach to your work. cc logo It has been my policy to "pay it forward" when I am the recipient of another human's kindness and benevolence. I call it my "life policy". On February 14, 2018, I received an email generated via the "Contact Me!" form on my website. I was glad that it was a legitimate correspondence and not some Russian spybot probe with nothing better to do than to bombard my blog with malicious code and anti-Hillary sentiment. Evidently, the zealous nature of Akismet anti-spam plugin was working. The valid email was from "Wendy" who was writing on behalf of her sister "Mia". Wendy wanted to express her sister's gratitude for my "helpful website". Mia was specifically referring to the Math Resources I had aggregated, synthesized, reviewed, and posted in the "Learner Portal" corner of my website. Ironically, you must solve a mathematical problem in order to gain access to these Math Resources, and this is a potential paradox in an of itself. The logic behind mandating the successful completion of a math problem centers on website security and determining the visitor is not a Russian spybot probe attempting to wreck havoc and make me vote for Trump. Wendy also wanted to pass along a MATH RESOURCE LINK which Mia had found helpful in her work as a MATH VOLUNTEER with students and with the school's MATH CLUB. In other words, Wendy and Mia were BOTH paying it forward by contacting me and sharing their appreciation through sharing a link they found useful. After checking out this submitted and shared link, I deemed it worthy of inclusion and have added it along with a short description here. Scroll down the page and the link is located in the section entitled "EDUCATIONAL MATH GAMES ONLINE".
3d character sitting on WEB domain sign.
Sharing ideas via tech
While reflecting on this life event, I can't help but think what the world would be like if the positive energy generated in a random act of kindness was sustained by a perpetual quid pro quo mindset. When we give, we live. When we deny, a part of us all dies. We shouldn't give because we feel obligated or guilty and under pressure. Never pass up the opportunity to "pay it forward" even if it takes two weeks or more to recognize the significance of a random act of true kindness.

There’s a teaching method tech billionaires love — here’s how teachers are learning it

From DIGITAL LEARNING TODAY, a Flipboard magazine by Jonathan Wylie

   Over the past few years, Bill Gates, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, and Netflix CEO Reed Hastings have all endorsed a teaching method known as "personalized learning."

It involves students guiding their own lessons with the help of technology, while teachers take on more of a coaching role if problems emerge. For its apparent benefits in getting kids up to speed in reading and math, advocates have claimed it could — and should — become the future of US education.

But personalized learning is so new, many teachers still need to learn how it works.

Starting this academic year, one of the largest school networks using personalized learning, Summit Public Schools, is hosting a residency program to address that skills gap. Across eight locations in California, 24 teachers will spend one year learning the skills to personalize students' education in the future.

"We are modeling teaching through the student learning experience," Adam Carter, Summit's Chief Academic Officer, told Business Insider. This year, approximately 330 schools serving thousands of students in 40 states will use the Summit Learning Program in some capacity, whether online or in-person.

 Summit residents will learn how to teach personalized learning in the same way kids learn from it. Summit Public Schools

Four days a week, each resident teacher will be paired with a teacher in a Summit school. They'll spend the remaining school day working on their own. All the while, they'll learn about the strategies that makes personalized learning so appealing, according to leaders like Gates and Zuckerberg: Socratic discussions, small group workshops, and self-guided coursework.

The teachers will also convene in similar groups to learn about the style of teaching they'll be relying on. In that way, Summit hopes to generate a group of teachers that understand personalized learning inside and out because they, themselves, have learned through the method.

"Not only does this experience build expertise," Carter said, "but is also builds empathy for students." 

   By putting teachers in the same position as students, Summit expects them to develop greater empathy. Summit Public Schools

Summit doesn't expect personalized learning to become the default mode
of instruction in all schools, Carter said. Rather, the network wants
to continually adapt to what research says is most effective for helping
kids learn, even if that means abandoning personalized learning. Those
kinds of insights are determined by things like the needs of a given
school and its surrounding community.

The current research seems to support Summit's model for now. A study published last year
found that kids in 62 schools using personalized education scored
higher on reading and math standardized compared to kids learning
without personalized instruction. Many who were below-average scorers
ended up above-average.

In other countries with successful education programs, the
personalized model seems to be a deciding factor in success. Students in
Finland and Peru,
for example, receive personalized learning through cleverly designed
classrooms and mobile devices that allow students to work at their own

Residents in Summit's new program will ultimately earn a California
Preliminary Teacher Credential from Summit Public Schools. Summit may
also offer teachers a full-time job if they excel in their position.

"The real barriers to personalized learning have always been
structural," Carter said. "What we’re trying to do is provide new
structures that are more about students and less about how things have
always been done. The desire is there. The know how is there and the
systems are there. This is possible." 

Top 11 Teaching and Learning Articles of 2016

 It's that time of year to reflect on the "Best" books, movies, etc. and in this case "Best Teaching & Learning Articles of 2016" as ranked by Faculty Focus, an excellent resource for the teaching professor. Each article is approximately 700 words.

The ranking is based on a combination of factors, including e-newsletter open and click rates, social shares, reader comments, web traffic, reprint requests, and other reader engagement metrics.

11. Why Are We So Slow to Change the Way We Teach? 
10. Backward Design, Forward Progress
9. The Ugly Consequences of Complaining about ‘Students
8. Three Focusing Activities to Engage Students in the First Five Minutes of Class
Student Engagement Strategies for the Online Learning Environment
6. A Memo to Students about Studying for Finals
5. Six Things Faculty Can Do to Promote Student Engagement
4. A Practical Approach for Increasing Students’ In-Class Questions
3. Supporting Transgender Students in the Classroom
2. Ready to Flip: Three Ways to Hold Students Accountable for Pre-Class Work
1. A Memo to My Students Re: College and the Real World

One Person’s Approach to an Annoying Issue

It happens to all of us: you unsubscribe from an unwanted marketing email, and a few days later another message from the same company pops up in your inbox. Comedian James Veitch turned this frustration into whimsy when a local supermarket refused to take no for an answer. Hijinks ensued.

Flipping Large Classes: Three Strategies for Engaging Students

By Barbi Honeycutt, PhD
As we continue our ongoing series focused on the flipped classroom in higher education, it’s time to tackle another frequently asked question: “How can I flip a large class?” I like this question because it’s not asking whether you can flip a large class, but rather what’s the best way to do it. Faculty who teach large classes are challenged not only by the sheer number of students but also by the physical space in the classroom. Having 100, 200, or 400+ students in class means teaching in large lecture halls with stadium seating and seats that are bolted to the floor. It’s not exactly the ideal space for collaboration and group discussions, so the types of flipped and active learning strategies you can use are more limited. Often, faculty fall back on the “think, pair, share” format or use clicker questions to encourage student engagement. But there are other techniques we can deploy in these large classrooms to engage students and involve them in higher levels of critical thinking and analysis. To start the conversation, here are three strategies that work well in large lecture halls because they don’t require students to sit in groups or move around the room. Each of these strategies provides a framework for generating discussion, which increases engagement and encourages students to analyze a variety of perspectives. And if you aren’t teaching to the masses, these strategies can be easily modified for any class size.Flipped Strategy #1: Six Thinking Hats “Six Thinking Hats” is an approach to guide and focus students’ thinking, expand their perspectives, and generate creative approaches to solving problems (de Bono, 1999). To implement this strategy, present students with six different colored “hats” to wear as they analyze a situation. The color of the hat reflects the role or perspective you want students to take as they work through the problem: white (data, facts), red (feelings, emotions), yellow (positive view, benefits), black (caution, judgment), green (creativity, new ideas), and blue (summaries, decisions). For large classrooms, you can assign a different colored hat to six different sections in the room. Students within each section can work in pairs or threes to analyze the problem based on the hat they are assigned. This strategy can also be designed as an individual learning activity. Provide worksheets or online tools for students to document their thinking related to the hat they are assigned. Flipped Strategy #2: Paired Jigsaw The “jigsaw” technique can be an effective way to engage students in large classes. Tewksbury (1995) describes, “In this technique, teams of students are assigned to investigate different aspects of the same problem/issue. Once teams have completed their assignments, members of each team are then dispersed among new groups and teach group members from other teams about what they have learned (322).” Depending on how many students you have, it may not be possible to form groups, but you can adapt this strategy and create a “paired” jigsaw. Pick a topic and assign two separate readings as pre-class work. Assign half the class Reading A and the other half of the class Reading B. Then ask students to come prepared to teach the most important points from their article to their partner. If you need more accountability, ask students to prepare a worksheet or outline that highlights for their partner the most important takeaways from their article. During class, ask students to form pairs where one partner has completed Reading A and one partner has completed Reading B. Give students time to teach the main points of their article to their partner. If this is a new activity for your students, you may need to provide more structure to help them organize their ideas as they teach.
For more on the flipped classroom, join Barbi Honeycutt at the Teaching Professor Technology Conference. You won't want to miss Dr. Honeycutt's preconference workshop titled "Don’t Waste a Minute of Class Time: How to Use Focusing Activities in the Flipped Classroom." It's just one of the four preconference workshops slated for this teaching and learning event. Learn More >>
Flipped Strategy #3: Paired Jigsaw + Six Thinking Hats Once you have introduced students to the paired jigsaw and six thinking hats activities, try combining them! Ask students to analyze their reading (Reading A or Reading B) from the perspective of one of the six hats. You can either assign the hat or let them choose which hat they want to wear as they prepare to teach their reading. Then, when they work in pairs, challenge students to see if they can guess which hat their partner is wearing as they analyze the reading. You can also ask students to re-read their article wearing a different colored hat and see if and how their perspectives change. Any of these strategies can then be used to continue conversations or start a class discussion. Without too much modification, and a little upfront planning, these strategies can be used in the large classroom setting to engage students in higher levels of critical thinking and analysis. These activities can also be designed as individual learning experiences if you want to mix things up and take a break from so many paired and small group tasks. Teaching large classes is challenging, even without trying to get students involved. There’s more to manage, more to grade, and more to coordinate. But, by including these types of active learning strategies into your large class, you can create an engaging learning experience that allows students to hear from their peers and engage in critical thinking and analysis. Let’s continue the conversation! What flipped and active learning strategies have you used in your large classes? How do you handle the noise level when students are engaged and talking all at the same time in large classes? Do you have any advice for faculty who are preparing to flip a large class for the first time? Share here

 References deBono, E. (1999). Six Thinking Hats. MICA Management Resources, Inc. Tewksbury, B. J. (1995). Specific strategies for using the “jigsaw” technique for working in groups in non-lecture based courses. Journal of Geological Education. Vol. 33. pp. 322-326. Available online Barbi Honeycutt is the owner of FLIP It Consulting in Raleigh, N.C. and an adjunct assistant professor at NC State University. She is the author of 101 Ways to FLIPFLIP the First Five Minutes of Class, and co-author of 101 Ways to FLIP Your Online Class. Connect on Twitter@BarbiHoneycutt and on the FLIP It blog.