Sunday, November 27, 2016

Final Project ~ Innovator's Mindset

As innovations go, this year was one of the most unique of my career in that 5th grade was departmentalized and I became solely a math and social studies teacher, as opposed to an "every subject teacher."

With this new role, I was worried about how I was going to keep up my connections to the outside world as well as invite our community into our learning space.  When I taught reading and writing, it was very easy to do Google Hang Outs with authors and other classes.  It was very easy to invite parents in to read to the children.  All of that was #winning...but how on earth would I do that with math and social studies?  Then I got to are always saying in math class, "When will I ever use this again?  Why do I need to know this?"  Then it occurred to me...invite the parents in and let THEM tell the students how they use math in their everyday life and job.  So...I drafted an email to my math families from both classes asking if they would like to come in and talk math to the kids! The response that I got was overwhelming and I already have six people signed up!  Parents were excited!  Kids were excited! 

We had our first parent, Mrs. Jensen, present on November 18th.  She not only presented to our morning math class (where her son is a student), but then she stayed for lunch, and did another session with my afternoon class!  She had a power point presentation that knocked our socks off, she had prizes for the kids who answered questions, and she kept the kids engaged the entire time.  We were laughing, doing math in our heads, and learning about economics all in one lesson!  It was awesome! The best part was that the kids learned from someone speaking from experience- Mrs. Jensen is a candy broker.  I couldn't have constructed a better lesson myself!  

Naturally, I tweeted this out so that other parents could see how this worked and that people were indeed coming forward to volunteer their time to help us learn more about how math is everywhere!  

Math is typically a straightforward, black and white, dry topic.  I wanted to find a way to kindle an excitement for math that kept the kids asking for more! After Mrs. Jensen left I heard kids say, "I can't wait until my dad comes in."   "I'm going to ask my mom if she'll come in."  #missionaccomplished!

Now if only I could get Greg Tang to do a Google Hang Out with our class...I'm working on it!  I'll save that one for a different blog....


  1. Heidi - I LOVE this! I'm so glad you're able to get parents in and make math more relevant. I once heard a math teacher answer, "When am I going to use this?" with "When your son needs help with his math homework." YIKES! You keep it up, woman! I love your enthusiasm and willingness to make things work for you and your students!

    1. Thank you for your kind words, Joy. Hearing from you, makes me miss you! I hope our paths cross again soon! Hope all is well in your world. Big hug!