#WhyMTBoS? I need it to connect with “Z” kids

If you’re reading this blog for the first time, you’re now part of something big. Something special. Something empowering. You’re now part of the MathTwitterBlogosphere.

Screen Shot 2015-03-25 at 11.42.23 AMWhat you do next is completely up to you, but the members of the MTBoS want you to stay and explore.  Looking back, I remember being in the exact same position you’re in right now.  I won’t tell you to stay because that’s not how this works.

I will only share one of many reasons why I never left.

For me, learning math has always been messy.  It doesn’t come bundled up in a 60 minute lesson.  It doesn’t hang on the wall in a cute mass produced poster. It doesn’t come from a pre-packaged “cookie cutter” program.  It happens when I talk less and students talk more. It happens when curious minds are developed and encouraged through exploration. The only problem I had was that math shouldn’t be taught that way, especially in elementary schools.

I’d spend countless hours looking for ideas to engage students in mathematics and found limited resources. My pedagogy is heavily grounded in the work of Van de Walle, Burns, Carpenter, and Fosnot, but I needed to find a way to connect best practice with Generation “Z”.

I didn’t have a Twitter account or blog when I stumbled upon some crazy nut’s Math Video. It pushed me over the edge and was the moment my pendulum finally swung.  I started doing my own thing but kept it close to my vest. Inside I was dying for feedback and searching for ways to get better but I never shared or reached out.  I kept stealing from the 6-12 folk and pulling it down into the k-5 world because it worked.  I have no shame in saying that I am definitely a Thief in Teacher’s Clothes.

Eventually, I fired up Twitter, started a blog, and finally hit send/post.  I have grown so much in the past 2 years and realized that collaboration is the best form of professional learning.  The personal growth I’ve undergone as a member of the #MTBoS could never happen in a class or webinar.  What I have here, is sustainable PL that reaches far beyond the borders of my district or state.  I’ve found educators that support and see math education the way I do. They live in the trenches every day.  I stalk and lean on their intellectual property because it’s my CatNip.  It keeps me going.

I share, I borrow, I steal (with proper attribution), and I reflect.  I do it again, and again, and again, because collectively they make me a better teacher.  All of us, are smarter than one of us.

I have many more people to include on this map.  It's a work in progress.

I have many more K-5 tweeps to include on this map. It’s inclusive and work in progress.

I believe in grass-root movements.  They promote sustainable change because they’re established out of need, not pressed down from above. I see and read about amazing things happening in classrooms everyday and become inspired. I’m continually learning and finding news way to connect with Generation “Z”.

Today my work is inspired by the likes of Weirnicki, Schwartz, and Kaplinsky.  It’s become grounded in the research of Zager, Placa, and Kazemi.  You might not know who these people are but you will soon enough…if you stick around.

And we hope you do!

Screen Shot 2015-03-25 at 11.10.53 AM

About gfletchy

K-8 math consumer trying to listen and learn each day. Stay thirsty my friends!
This entry was posted in Planning, Teacher Content. Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to #WhyMTBoS? I need it to connect with “Z” kids

  1. Graham, uncanny. That crazy nut’s math video hit home with me as well. And I echo your sentiments about “a thief in teacher’s clothes.” If you had told me 10 years ago that I would be a teacher who was engaging in PD and giving PD I would of called you crazy. The #mtbos has changed me at the core. Thanks for sharing

  2. Thanks for posting this. I started using Twitter just this past November. Didn’t know how to engage, and I would leave comments here and there. After awhile people started talking to me. I’m so surprised and happy to find this community that I had no idea even existed. Even though the primary focus of my life has not been math, I think about it. But I’m limited in being able to exchange ideas with people Here in the this MathTwitterBlogosphere sometimes I log on and read what other people are saying, find my way to their blogs and lurk, and sometimes I interact all day long, sending tweets, pictures, exchanging ideas. And I get to see reactions to math thoughts of my own. It’s been such a pleasure.

    • gfletchy says:

      Thank you so much for this comment Paula! It truly encompasses what I believe the #MTBoS is all about, which is establishing a professional learning community for anyone who engages with students. From the full on math nerd, to the teacher that dabbles in math from time to time, there’s something for everyone.
      It never matters how much you use the #MTBoS or when because she’s like an old best friend. You might not engage or talk to her in weeks or months,but when you’re ready, she welcomes you back with open arms. Welcome my friend!

      I’ll definitely be sharing your views and comments of the #MTBoS in the future. Awesomeness!

  3. senorstadel says:

    Hey Graham,
    When you said, “For me, learning math has always been messy. It doesn’t come bundled up in a 60 minute lesson.” it made me realize I wish I knew this earlier in my life and career. Better late than never. I am also very grateful for this online math community. Thanks for being a part of it. I have truly benefited from you and others!

    • gfletchy says:

      Cheers Monsieur Stadel…And to you as well my friend.

      “Learning math has always been messy” but not the type of messy that we have both come to love. My grading was messy with red marker. My desk was messy with all the worksheets that covered it. My teaching was messy as I frantically ran around the room doing the work for 25 students. Student “learning” was messy because the never understood what was really happening. I was a mess!

      Now concepts are grasped in weeks, where before I found myself teaching the same thing in May, that I began in September (definitely longer than a 60 minute period). The “good messy” and learning how to embrace it took years and there is no way I could have done it alone!
      #grateful

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