Math is Figure-Out-Able with Pam Harris

Math is Figure-Out-Able with Pam Harris

Math teacher educator Pam Harris and her cohost Kim Montague answer the question: If not algorithms, then what?Join them for ~15 minutes every Tuesday as they cast their vision for mathematics education and give actionable items to help teachers teach math that is Figure-Out-Able.

Episodes

July 26, 2021 18 min

It's time to talk about one of our fundamental methodologies for facilitating real math! In this episode Pam and Kim detail their modeling framework that teaches students to learn to model their own thinking, and then to use models as tools for computation.  The framework empowers students to structure their reasoning and to approach complex problems with confidence.
Talking Points:

  • The different meanings for "model"
  • Our m...
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    If my experiences as a student are different than my child's experience at school, how can I help them succeed? In this episode for parents, we provide two clear ways they can support their child to be the best math student they can be. Be sure to listen to episodes 55 and 56 for the rest our series for parents.
    Talking Points

  • We can all be mathy people
  • Your attitude towards math affects your child's attitude towards math
  • Allow...
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    Hey parents! Thank you so much for listening to part two of our series for parents. It can be really frustrating to not understand what it is your kid is doing on their homework. What is up with all of the drawing? Where are the algorithms and simple steps? In this episode we'll explain the purpose and goal of why the math on your kid's paper looks different.
    Talking Points:

  • Reasoning about math different than performing memo...
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    This episode is for all the parents out there who are invested in helping their children! It can be frustrating to see how math class looks different than it did when we were students. Why is it different anyways? Why would math class have to change? We are so grateful you're taking the time to ask, we'll do our best to provide some answers. 
    Talking Points:

  • Why did the math we were taught in school look the way it did?
  • How ge...
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    We love answering your questions! In this episode Pam and Kim answer a question submitted from Rachel Adler. Pam shares her experiences familiarizing her students with data representations, and then Pam and Kim discuss their best advice for first year teachers.

    Talking Points:

  • Jo Boaler's Data Talks: https://www.youcubed.org/resource/data-talks/ 
  • Integrating data analytics into everyday teaching
  • Solidifying your teaching philosophy...
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    We loved getting all of your questions! Because there's so many questions, Pam and Kim will have to spend the next couple episodes answering them. In this episode they discuss a question about the relevancy of money strategies, and whether strategies will change over time. 
    Talking Points:

  • The different definitions for strategy
  • Technology in classrooms
  • Extra resources: Which One Doesn't Belong (https://wodb.ca)

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    We are so grateful to be celebrating our one year anniversary of the podcast! It's been wonderful to hear all the feedback you've given us as you transform your classrooms. Here's to another year of mathematizing!
    Highlights:

  • Ep 2: Pam's stance on algorithms
  • Ep 9: Defining models and strategies
  • Ep 34: Memorizing multiplication facts is not the answer
  • Ep 27: The students who need to know why 
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    We've had so much fun talking about fractions! In this episode Pam and Kim do another Problem String to demonstrate the effectiveness of a clock model.
    Talking Points:

  • What denominators work well for a clock model?
  • Problems that work with both money and a clock model
  • Today's students need the experience from learning with a clock model

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    May 31, 2021 20 min

    How important is fractional equivalence? Important enough for another model! These models are fantastic for helping students develop a natural understanding of equivalent fractions.  Listen in as Kim and Pam discuss how to use a clock model for denominators uncommon to the money model.
    Talking Points:

  •  Use adding and subtracting fractions to help teach equivalence
  • Removing the word "over" from fractions 
  • Equivalent fractions ou...
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    In this episode Pam and Kim finish up their money Problem String from the last episode. But first, Pam wanted to reflect a little on how she was less than helpful when Kim was struggling to think about nickels. We all learn and grow, and self-reflection is super important!
    Talking Points

  • Do you need time, or do you need help? (see episode 40)
  • For which denominators is thinking about money helpful?
  • Fractional Equivalence
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    May 17, 2021 23 min

    It's time to talk about everyone's two favorite things: fractions and money! Fraction equivalence is a super important concept in mathematics, and it is best developed naturally in familiar circumstances. In this episode Pam and Kim use coin denominations to demonstrate how students can learn to reason about fractional equivalence. 
    Talking Points

  • If you understand fractional equivalence, you don't have to memorize any ru...
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    May 10, 2021 22 min

    Let's keep talking fractions! In this episode Pam and Kim discuss an extremely effective rich task from Cathy Fosnot to help students reason about fractions within the context of sharing fairly. Listen in to learn about the outcomes teachers should work towards when teaching fractional sense.
    Talking Points:

  • Splitting into unit fractions
  • Patterns between same-denominator fractions
  • Patterns between same-numerator fractions
  • Additional...

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    How young is too young to learn fractions? Younger than you think! In this episode Pam and Kim describe simple ways we can help young students develop fractional understanding. Pay attention to how natural it can be for young learners to learn math!
    Talking Points:

  • Simple experiences parents can use to help their kids develop fractional understanding
  • Using halves to get students practice with counting
  • Additional sources:

  • Beads, Shoes an...
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    Time to get into fractions! There is so much to learn about teaching fractions and in this episode we wanted to lay some important ground work.? All too often we limit students to just one or two of the important ways fractions can be interpreted. When we help students fully understand fractions, their ability to think proportionally skyrockets!
    Talking Points

  • The 5 Interpretations of Rational Numbers (Credit to Susan Lamon)
  • Solving f...
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    April 19, 2021 12 min

    Though some people think Kim and Pam's voices are hard to tell apart, teaching real math has nothing to do with a particular personality type or style. We believe in seeing the humanity in students and empowering them with mathematical confidence!

    Talking Points

  • Pam and Kim's results on the enneagram test.
  • How to leverage your personality to get support in teaching real math
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    April 12, 2021 21 min

    If there's one things teachers like talking about, it's standardized tests, and Pam and Kim are no exception! In this episode Pam asks Kim about her experience with standardized tests, and how teaching real math helped Kim's students to succeed. Also don't forget to send in questions for our special 50th episode! We're so excited!

    Talking Points

  • Can students succeed on tests if all they know is real math?
  • Everyone,...
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    April 5, 2021 18 min

    In this final episode in our series on homework, Pam and Kim discuss what types of homework teachers should send out, as well as some important pitfalls to avoid. 
    Talking Points:

  • Pen and paper homework
  • Games as homework
  • Using homework as a teaching tool, not for the sake of work
  • How real math changes homework dynamics
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    March 29, 2021 21 min

    It's part two of our series on homework! Last time we heard Kim's perspective on when and what kinds of homework to give, but now it's Pam's turn. As a teacher for both high school and university classes, Pam gives an insightful look into when homework is necessary, but how we can always allow the humanity of our students to have precedence.
    Talking points

  • What does the research say about homework? How does it vary by...
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    March 22, 2021 21 min

    Welcome to our first off the cuff episode! Pam and Kim have no notes this time and are happy to tackle the topic of homework. Turns out, they have enough to say that this will be part one of a new series! Listen in as Kim makes a confession, and Pam rats out her kids. 
    Talking points

  • When is homework appropriate?
  • What kinds of homework should we send home?
  • How can homework be helpful?
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    In this episode Pam and Kim discuss the secret to helping every student succeed. It's one of their guiding principles, and they can't believe they're only just now sharing it! 
    Talking Points

  • The problem with the traditional approach of teaching to mastery
  • How to address the personal needs of students
  • How to help all students grow
  • What are open tasks?
  • What if students aren't getting "it"?
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