Thursday, November 14, 2013

Guest post by KSA Darlene Varga: Linking Past to Present

This guest post is courtesy of Darlene Varga, AIMS Trainer extraordinaire and Kim Sutton Associate.  Darlene is a veteran teacher with more than thirty-eight years of experience teaching and training under her belt, who has presented on math and science at the district, state and national levels. Darlene's passion is for helping teachers and students alike come to love and feel more comfortable with math.

Kim Sutton Associates are highly skilled trainers and coaches from around the United States and the globe who share Kim's vision of making math a more creative, meaningful experience for students and teachers of all ages.  For more information on Kim Sutton Associates, please visit our Kim Sutton Associates page.

I was thrilled to become a KSA.  I knew it was a chance to share Kim’s creative and innovative methods of teaching mathematics with other teachers.  I did not realize it would, also, give me chance to reunite with past parents and fellow teachers. 
The second KSA workshop I presented was in Austin, Texas where I taught more than 20 years ago.  The numbers for the workshop were low, so I decided to share the workshop details with some of my friends on Facebook.  One of my former parents from the 1970’s responded and said she was no longer teaching but would love to come help me out in setting up.  A retired teacher I taught with in Austin invited me to stay with her and she, also, wanted to go to the workshop to help.  Another retired teacher I worked with was subbing at a school in the Austin area and she spread the word to that school about this workshop opportunity.  With her help, the workshop filled to capacity. 
The past parent and the teacher I stayed with came early and helped me set up, insisted on staying for the entire workshop helping with sales, etc. and then helped me pack up.  The teachers that attended (after a long day of teaching) were so involved with the activities and all seemed to leave energized and ready to go back and try out some of the new ideas. 
It was such a special day being able to spend time with a group of dedicated teachers and sharing time with people who were important parts of my early teaching career.  I look forward to more enriching experiences as a KSA.  Thanks Creative Mathematics for giving me this incredible opportunity.

Darlene Varga

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

See you in Louisville!

In the last week, we’ve traveled from gorgeous Gatlinburg to Connecticut by way of Gettysburg, amongst other stops!  Gatlinburg was beautiful-- I love where we live, but the fall colors really pop in Tennessee in a way you don't quite get in evergreen northern California.  I even got to sample some moonshine!  Gettysburg was breathtaking-- what an amazing part of our history as a nation! 

Later this week we’ll travel to Louisville in time for the NCTM regional conference being held there.  I hope if you’re in the area you can stop by and say hello!  I’ll be presenting twice on Friday: once in the morning and once in the afternoon.  In the morning, I'll be speaking on "Teaching Fractions to Develop Proportional Reasoning."  This session will be perfect for any grades 3-5 teachers who might be looking for some new tips and tricks on how to help their students find fractions more meaningful.  

My second session on Friday will be something a little different. This year, we’ll also be trying out something we’ve never done before.  I'll be hosting an exhibitor session!  The exhibitor session is called "Walking the Number Line for Research-Based Results."  As you might have guessed from the name, this session is going to cover one of my favorite tools, my number line, and all the different ways it can be used to cover so many concepts that your students need to know.  Whether you're pre-K or grade 5, we'll absolutely be doing something that you can use in your classroom immediately.  Come play with me! 

Stop by if you can-- attendees at this special exhibitor session will get a very special treat.  (I know Halloween has passed, but I'll try to keep it alive and well in the spirit of the conference.)  Looking forward to seeing all of you soon!  For more information on the conference, go here. If you can't make it to Louisville but still want to download my handouts, they'll be available here starting next week. 

Friday, November 1, 2013

Fun with Dominoes

As some of you might be able to tell from my Facebook posts, I have dominoes on the brain.  Early next year, I'll be putting out my new book on dominoes and I've currently been experimenting with all different kinds of domino games.  The other day I got to practice some of these activities in my classroom!

My friend, Ella, came to do mathematics with me in my classroom one day after school.  Ella is an amazing third grader who loves math!  Since I have been working on my yet unnamed Domino book (hint, hint!) I asked Ella Bella to help me with a game idea!  

I found this darling scrapbook paper while shopping in Arizona with my pal, Patti Launi.  The paper has 35 addition problems. One of the games that we played, which would be easy to replicate with your class, used this paper as a game board. We placed the double six dominoes facedown.  Ella picked a domino and added the pips on that domino and matched the sum of the pips to an addition problem that had the same sum!

She is such a careful thinker!  She repeated the game to some lively music and did it much faster!  Oh how students love the magic of games!

This would be so easy and fun to replicate with your class.  All you need is a number game board-- it helps if it can be blocked out like this game board but you could also make it work with simple numbers by treating the dominoes as equations tailored for your grade level (i.e., 1 + 5, 1 x 5, etc.).  

In the meantime, I'm running a contest on my Facebook through November-- I'm looking for a title for my upcoming domino book!  If you have a good idea, post it on my wall.  The top three entries will get a signed copy of my new book and one grand prize winner will win a Skype session with me, to discuss your classroom, your teaching, math-- whatever you want!

Happy teaching!

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