It is Sunday evening as I start this and we are back home after our trip to Orlando for the NCTM Institute on Reasoning and Sense Making. I am tired. It has been a full few days, but I have learned a lot over the last few days. If you haven't read, here are my recaps of sessions:
Thursday, July 28
Dan Meyer Keynote
Friday, July 29
Dan Meyer Breakout Session (Capturing Perplexity)
Keynote - It All Starts With The Tasks
Henri Picciotto Breakout Session (Making Sense in Algebra 2)
Saturday, July 30
Keynote - Implementing Tasks That Promote Reasoning and Sense Making
Bill Thill Breakout Session (Rich Tasks in Algebra Work)
Adlai E. Stevenson HS Breakout Session (Activities That Promote Reasoning and Sense Making in Algebra)
What have I learned and gained from this experience?
I feel I have a much better grasp on what a "rich task" is. I have been trying to get a better handle on what that means. I realize that I need to incorporate these tasks into my classes (more on this in a bit). I have certainly gained some confidence in being able to create some of these tasks, mainly in the sense that I have a better understanding on what needs to be done. Dan Meyer's keynote and breakout session particularly helped clarify for me how the real world influenced problems he is known for are created. Seeing what other teachers are doing coupled with viewing the slides Dan used when he taught in the classroom have made me realize that these types of problems/tasks aren't done everyday, or at least I don't think so.
Where do I go from here?
I think that the first thing I need to figure out is how often I should be looking to incorporate rich tasks in my classroom. Is this something that is done often or on an occasional basis? How does "traditional" teaching (explaining the concept) fit into all this?
One of the things that was implied (and I think even was outright said to us) was that we should be creating these tasks that involve reasoning and sense making. I know that there are several places to look for rich tasks (nrich, Ohio Resource Center, Math Forum, and NCTM's Illuminations are a couple of places I can think of at the moment) and I would think it would make more sense to find tasks that would work with the particular curriculum and then look at it in a deep fashion and make modifications as needed. I am hoping this will be a good way to start until I feel more confident about writing a rich task myself.
I think most of all, I need to get some planning done quick. It is now August 1st and in 29 days, I will have students in my classroom, ready or not. It's time to get serious about planning the upcoming school year.