Summertime! Who doesn’t love summertime with its long days and respite from the hectic pace found during the school year? Parents and students love extra time spent with family and friends, travel, camp(ing), beaches and just having lots of fun. Teachers are no different! But there is one extra special thing that teachers also do every summer…
Yes! You guessed it. Every summer, Yavneh teachers go to Professional Development courses to improve both in content and in pedagogy. This summer we, along with other Yavneh K-2 teachers, felt fortunate enough to head off to the MBAMP (Monterey Bay Area Math Project) during the week of June 17-19, 2019. Each summer (for the past 20 years) the MBAMP hosts an incredible conference to support educators in experiencing the joy of learning and teaching math.
What a joy it was! Each morning, we would warm up with mind-stretching math exercises, lead by experienced Master Educators. These professors (from Davis and Santa Cruz) taught in-depth lessons, applicable for teachers from K-12. In addition, we learned how to plan for future ‘Lesson Studies’, where teacher teams can work with each other to deepen mathematical content across our Singapore math curriculum. The conference was also a great place to play fun math games, designed to further student learning and support mathematical confidence and clarity in our classrooms. It is an amazing feeling when you are having such a great time playing, that you don’t even realize you are practicing math skills and getting smarter!
We had so many wonderful revelations throughout the week. For example, we were given specific pedagogical techniques such as: ONLY asking questions of the children while doing “Number Talks”, such as what do you wonder? and what do you notice? Growing our students’ thinking about math is the best way to instill number sense, which is the key to deep continued understanding. So often we want to give our students the objective, or end goal when teaching. However at MBAMP, we realized it was all about the magic of discovery, and the gift of having those ‘a-ha’ moments as a learner. This idea is definitely one we are excited to bring back to Yavneh!
One of the most important aspects of the conference was how the YDS belief in our dual language curriculum can be naturally integrated into our mathematical program. This content area in particular is something that can be done in Hebrew as well as in English, offering every Yavneh teacher direct responsibility for appropriate intentionality in math. This allows us to better succeed in our goal of parity and fluency at YDS.
We are fortunate to have our own Master mathematics teacher, Danielle Sapiens, at Yavneh Day School. Being at this conference deepened our appreciation of all that she has done with us and our students for the past few years. With her guidance, and our fresh new outlook on math, we are excited to bring our learning back to our colleagues and our children!
~ Mrs. Schiff and Mrs. Ross