So I actually had to close twitter in order for me to start this post. I've been wanting to write about all the amazing things that happened at #TMC14, but my brain is on overflow! I'm pretty sure that a concise organized summary of EVERYTHING is not going to happen, but I did want to share how amazing our morning session with @cheesemonkeysf was, because it was awesome!
However, now that I've been home a few days, I can already feel myself giving up hope on implementing some of the things I learned about. It's crazy how when I was a part of the community at #TMC14 it all seemed so easy and now that I am home it all seems so much more difficult. So as @lmhenry recommended, I'm going to share some of the things I would like to implement, and find someone to hold me accountable. I'm going to do this, #MTBoS, but only with your help!
I debated for days before going to #TMC14 which morning session would be best for me. I took @ddmeyer 's advice before he gave it, and chose the selfish option. I choose to join the Group Work Working Group. I felt that I had a handle on Algebra 1 content (not necessarily on how to teach it, but hey) and knew that what I needed most was to be able to get my students to interact together with the content. I was terrified the first day, because it was definitely the choice that was outside my comfort zone! However after the first day, I knew I had made the best choice ever!
One of the big take-aways for me was "talking points". It gave everyone a voice and demonstrated that all voices were equal, and thus opening me up to listen to others in a way I'm not sure I ever have. (Read about @cheesemonkeysf 's write-up on talking points here: Talking Points Activity.) We liked talking points so much that we tried them several times, including even taking the opportunity to observe others who were doing talking points. We even started to create our own talking points specific to math!
One of the things that we heard over and over again was that in order for group work to be successful, as teachers we need to consistently push the authority back onto the students. It sounded crazy at first and I know that I didn't fully listen to all that statement implied. However, hearing it again on Saturday, it finally made sense. But, I won't lie and say it sounds easy. It's scary. Really scary. In fact, I'm worried I'm going to be too scared to try it. It is so different from what I'm used to doing in class. It's outside of my comfort zone, but for my students I need to. I need talking points ingrained into my classroom so that all students have a voice. And that they can use that voice to earn and demand respect from their peers, and support each other in that process.
Main point: my goal is to use talking points and other "restorative practices" (ask me more later... I'm only throwing that phrase around because I heard it during our session and want to know more) as the center of my classroom management. Elizabeth said that things like that have worked at her school, and so I am very excited to try them for my classroom. (And really scared--read above.) I also hope that it is something my entire school might pick up on and use because I think it could really, really, really help.
Shoot, no picture, so @ddmeyer isn't going to read this!