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  • Writer's pictureLara

Building Math Minds Virtual Summit Review

Is it worth your time?

The short answer, yes!

Jump to the Key Takeaways for a brief overview!

What is a Virtual Math Summit

A virtual math summit is a collection of professional development presentations about elementary math PreK-5 some sessions were more general for K-5 and others focused on upper or lower elementary math skills and concepts.

What sessions helped me the most?

As a teacher, I have a handful of students who are really struggling to learn numbers 4 and beyond! I really came into this summit looking for ideas to help them in their journey as mathematicians.

Conferring in Math Class: Visual Goal Setting Around Counting (PreK-2) by Dr. Nicki Newton

I first heard Dr. Nicki at the Making Math Moments That Matter virtual conference and I loved her presentation! She is like an auntie who has the answers and a great vibe. The two times I heard her speak she presented so much great information and resources I had never seen before which is saying something because I have been researching for a while!

This session specifically discussed goal setting with students and using a visual table with small achievable goals to mark their progress. Students respond well to small wins and this will empower them to know what they should be focusing on and trying to learn. Conferencing is very prevalent in language arts but not as much in math. It seems so obvious now but I was like, why didn't I think of that?!

The conference structure was very simple

  1. Ask what they are working on or what math they are doing

  2. Give a compliment and

  3. Watch your student doing math, counting one-to-one correspondence etc.

  4. Give a suggestion or model a skill

  5. Watch them practice

  6. Wrap up/set a goal

You can give them the goal somewhere they can reference it, or keep it to refer back to

I will definitely be doing this with my students! I got into depth about how I'm conducting math conferences in this video if you'd like to know more! I have created a counting visual goal setting sheet, also available on TpT

Follow Dr. Nicki on Instagram @guidedmathinaction

Leveraging Brain-Body Connection as Math Intervention for Primary Students (PreK-2) by Jen Hunt

Along the same vein as including math conferences with my students, I am eager to level more brain-body systems in our learning to further support my students. Jen Talked about the different areas of the brain and how using more than just one system like not just speaking but singing or using your body can really help students make lasting connections and further their mathematical understanding. this makes complete sense to me she spoke a lot about trauma as well and how that can disrupt learning in the brain and that's something I have personally done a lot of research on so hearing Jen talk about the different ways to leverage those brain-body connections made a lot of sense to me and another why wasn't I doing that before moment.

Honorable Mention: Building Thinking Classroom: Downstream Effects and New Directions by Peter Liljedahl

I have been exploring the Building Thinking Classroom framework all year with my class you can read more about it here or watch the video here. Seeing Peter talk just reinvigorated me to keep going and dive deeper. One of the reasons I don’t use it more often is it is difficult to find tasks for K but he mentioned using questions from the curriculum and just framing it differently. Up until now our reflections and consolidation of learning have been rather short so I’d like to add some check-your-understanding mild, medium, and spicy follow-ups!

I have been struggling with a few students who have difficulty engaging in tasks for one reason or another, so I’d like to bring them into the fold more, perhaps do a mini session where I can watch what they are doing and give them some strategies for when we are working on a task whole group. Similarly, I have a group I see in the morning of 6 kids who all scored on a 2nd-grade level using the Add Advantage Math Recovery diagnostic assessment, and a few of those students are having trouble with not knowing the answers right away so they might also need some encouragement.

Key Takeaways

General Takeaways

  • There is a wealth of information to help you on your journey to becoming a more effective and equitable math teacher

  • There are others who are just as into math pedagogy as you are! (We’ve found our people!)

  • It’s amazing that we can learn so much for free!

  • You can find people who specialize in what you need, I will be following Dr. Nikki, Jen Hunt for amazing ideas and information!

What I will be implementing ASAP

  • Brain-Body Connections deepen number sense and understanding

  • Math Conferences

  • Check Your Understanding questions at the end of Building Thinking Classrooms math tasks!

What I really appreciate is that there were sessions for all elementary levels. The reason I started this blog and YouTube channel was that finding information about math for young children was so hard to come by, I mean I really had to scrounge! Hopefully, this gave you some ideas, what will you use in your classroom?

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