Tuesday, November 22, 2016

If I were a math coach - Part 2

This is part of a series I write when I feel like I can't do it all. For more of an intro. read Part 1

My list of things I would do (or do better) if I had more time is piling up.  I thought I should get some of them out of my head.

If I were a math coach...

Grant Writing:
There are so many great professional development grants out there.  The best way to close the gaps in math is to train teachers on research based strategies and deepen teachers' number sense.  If I were a math coach I could work on getting some of the money that is available to help teachers have more time to delve into these topics and improve their teaching practices or perhaps just give them more time to do the things they already know but don't have time to organize or discuss.

Parent Connections:
I mentioned in the Part 1 of my post, but after parent teacher conferences I realized that there really should be someone available during this time to help educate parents on how to help their child.  There are parents who want to know and with only 10 minutes per conference, I am not going to be able to show them.  If I were a math coach I could sit down with those parents and show them some games they could use at home and teach them how to talk math with their kids (#tmwyk).

Reading and Understanding the Research:
There are so many things I want to read: blogs, books, dissertations, etc.  With all the research out there on children's development of number sense it is a shame that math teachers are not equipped with that knowledge.  Here is a great example: Paying Attention to Mathematics.  It is not easy reading and is hard to dive into during a prep time when there are 10 interruptions and 5 other people I need to see.  I love this stuff.  I am fascinated by the ins and outs of teaching mathematical concepts.  I want to know more about what pieces have to be in place before others and what concepts work side by side.  Why might my student be able to add fractions without understanding that if I cut 1/4 off the whole it is still 1/4?  I want to know more and I can't get enough.  While I am not alone in this quest, not everyone gets as excited about this as I do.  As a math coach I could spend time learning more and helping teachers to understand it.  Who is facilitating these conversations if no one on the team as this type of understanding?  When push comes to shove this is what gets lost.  Here is a small list of what I would read (or reread) if I were a math coach:

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