March 29, 2013 at 2:00 am Leave a comment

How have I let almost 2 months pass without posting anything new?  Simply put, I just haven’t sat down long enough to post anything of relevance.  So here I am with tons of topics swirling in my head, and trying to pick just one in fear that I might not sit down to write again for another month!

Let’s talk about transformations in this post!  While transformations have multiple meanings, mathematical and otherwise, I want to talk about both in their appropriate contexts.

Let’s first talk about mathematical transformations; slides, flips, turns, etc. I recently visited a third grade classroom where the teacher was teaching this concept. The current state standards call for students to predict the results of one transformation of a geometric shape.  Sounds easy enough, right?   Unfortunately, I think this teacher was making it too easy (and slightly dry) for her students to really learn anything about transformations.  While I’m supportive of using videos in lessons, I noticed the videos this teacher used were a bit too sophisticated for students to make the connections about shapes. After viewing 4 different short videos, the teacher proceeded to do the transformations herself while asking students to merely identify which transformation she performed.  Instead, what if she asked the students, “How does a slide, flip, or turn affect a shape?” and provide students the opportunity to investigate this using attribute shapes, or laminated shapes, or even pattern blocks?  This is my feedback to the teacher so that she might rethink how the students can DO the learning, rather than her just telling them and using basic, low level recall of the terms slide, flip, and turn.

Okay, now let’s talk about another kind of transformation! My job allows me the privilege to provide a lot of professional development to teachers, I love it!  However I’ve noticed that professional development doesn’t always mean transformation in a teachers’ thinking or practice will take place, although that’s my goal.  So then, how do we  transform teachers’ thinking and practice?  This is such a huge undertaking, and oh so important for students, I have to continue to be patient, because I do see little glimpses of transformation in teachers’ thinking and practice daily.  Currently education in America as we’ve always known it is under close scrutiny to change,  or transform, and I’m excited to be part of this change. I do get frustrated at times,  I can’t lie about that.   I do not believe these transformations are a generational thing, I know they are not because I work with many colleagues who are not of my generation and they have transformed.  But, the daily struggle continues to be how do we help teachers make the transformations necessary to teach today’s students. While I don’t have an easy answer, I’ve come to this conclusion… Seeing is believing.  What I mean by this is that when teachers SEE something new modeled,  and they see that they CAN do it, see that students CAN do it, and then see achievement increase, their thinking transforms, therefore their practices transform.  It’s as simple as that.  So while we can’t force teachers to change their thinking, it’s my job as an instructional coach and leader to let teachers SEE me transform, share my own journey of transformation, and celebrate when I see them make a transformation.

I would love to hear how you have transformed in your own thinking and practice!


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Textbooks The 80/20 Rule

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Kristen Hahn

March 2013
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