Name: Becky Goldberg
Role/School: 6th Grade Math Teacher at James Martin Middle School
Subjects/Grades Taught: 6th grade math
How did you find yourself in teaching?
When I was a junior in college I studied abroad in a public health research program. I was able to meet and survey a wide range of Masaii women in Kimana, Kenya to report on different health practices. One of the biggest health indicators was the individual’s education level. I immediately shifted my focus from health disparities to education issues. As a senior I enrolled in a capstone course for my environmental degree that places college students in a title I school to work as environmental educators. I had a group of 8th grade girls who wanted nothing to do with nature. Before I could do anything with them I built relationships with each one and finally got them to explore their environment in their own ways. I fell in love with the middle school age and decided to apply for Teach for America. I was placed in Charlotte at James Martin Middle school and I am about to wrap up my first year of teaching.
What is your favorite thing about Math Techbook?
My favorite part about Math techbook is definitely the interactives! They are so fun for my students and they allow me to circulate efficiently to monitor progress and comprehension. Each interactive allows the students to explore at their own pace, in their own way. I often probe for understanding my making them explain their findings to me or having them articulate misconceptions so we can work to solve it as a class.
Take a look into Ms. Goldberg’s classroom as she work with students on a Math Techbook Investigation using nets to find the surface area of a three-dimensional figure (Unit 13, Concept 1, Discover Section, Investigation 2).
How has using Math Techbook changed your opinion of your role as the teacher?
As a teacher using Discovery Education Math Techbook, I am rarely following a rigid “I do” “we do” “you do” , lesson structure. Instead there is a genuine part of discovery that comes from starting some days as a “you do” then drawing back together for organic discussion. The Tech book allows for a lot of creativity and real life application which makes my role more of a guide as compared to a lecturer.
What tips do you have for beginning users?
Be patient! Despite the fact that our students are media age learners this is still a new medium for them to see academics. It will be frustrating sometimes and often times it will feel easier just to feed them the formulas, or the strategies. Be patient and let them develop ideas on their own. As a teacher you need to be patient with yourself as well. Get to know the material and try to lead conversations naturally.
What other tools, resources, strategies, etc. do you incorporate with Math Techbook?
When I first started teaching I was struggling to differentiate effectively for specific students. With Discovery Ed Math Techbook, I am provided with differentiated questions for every lesson. It allows all my students to be doing the same activity but they are looking at it with a different perspective. Instead of directly modifying an assignment I can actually push their thinking so they can make discoveries on their own at a rigorous level.
The whiteboard feature is great to engage them with practice problems as well. Often times with review days we will use the “Coach and Play” tabs as both at home or during class review.
How do you organize your classroom and planning to maximize your students’ learning experiences?
Students are grouped so that they can collaborate throughout the lesson. Each student has their own individual chromebook to work on and a notebook or guided notes to assist in organization and pace. When we plan as a learning community we time out Hands- on activities and interactives to maximize engagement and use their attention span.
How do your students respond to the use of Math Techbook? What do they like about it?
The students had very mixed opinions regarding the Techbook when we first started. They struggled with the literacy piece of explaining how they got certain answers. Now that it is part of their daily routine they respond to the whole Techbook in a very positive way. They are much more articulate as mathematicians and they enjoy the real life application sprinkled in every lesson. They love interactives as much as the teachers and they have favorite ones they beg to go back too.
Discovery Education in Action is a series of webinars, blog posts, and livestreams that share the view from educators using Discovery Education resources. Learn more here: http://www.discoveryeducation.com/what-we-offer/professional-development/discovery-education-in-action.cfm