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What do these three things have in common? Not a lot but you’ll find all three in this post so get ready for a whirlwind of ideas!

First off I just wanted to share with you some of my favourite blogs to read because this blogging community has been so awesome to become a part of! I really only read teaching blogs and running/healthy living blogs so if you were hoping for diversity you are out of luck…

Favourite teaching blogs

1. Runde’s Room – Between this blog and her teachers pay teachers store I’m absolutely hooked and living in a dream land whenever I’m reading. These are honestly the best most useful posts and ideas. So inspiring! And I cannot wait to put her interactive math journals to the test next time I have a math contract – stay tuned!

2. 2 Peas and a Dog – This is a great (Canadian!!) middle school blogger who has lots of awesome ideas to share. There’s also lots of “link ups” with other awesome middle school bloggers!

3. Teaching FSL – She is an awesome (Canadian again!) FSL teacher! I honestly wish I could be in her class most days. This is a go to place for me when I’m in need of lessons or ideas for teaching French.

Favourite Running/Healthy Living Blogs

1. Olive to Run – This one kind of bridges both categories because she is an awesome teacher too and sometimes posts amazing ideas for the classroom. She is also very inspiring for my fitness goals and has become a part of my support system over the past months – yay for blogging friends!

2. Hungry Runner Girl – Karley and I both love this blog! Janae is an inspiring, positive person who blogs about her daily life as a runner, blogger and mother to a super cute little girl!

3. Glitter and Dust – This blog is a new one to my “must reads” and I’m so happy I found it! She is a university professor in Oregon and blogs about life, running, and fitness. I love her honesty and felt a strong sense of connection when I first read her posts.

Aerobics and Math
Bet you weren’t expecting those to be under the same heading 😉

I’ve been on a fitness kick (yeah, yeah, it’s January… Me and the rest of the world) and I’ve been going to a bunch of different classes with a friend. Last week we ended up at a step aerobics class and let me tell you something… Coordination and I aren’t exactly on good terms. As I fumbled along in class – never really getting the hang of any of it in the whole hour – it got me thinking about the things that we struggle with.

I’ve always been one of those annoying people that just “get” math. I won math awards (Top Grade 8 “Mathlete” on Vancouver Island – woot!) and was often the one to help out friends in class. I think I’m pretty good at teaching math – I can explain things multiple ways, love teaching little tricks and hints, and I ask the big “why” questions to help kids reach deeper understanding.

And I have a lot of patience with math. I don’t mind spending time at lunch or after school to help kids get to that “aha” moment and I am happy to find challenges to keep other students engaged. I have also taken hirer level math that has really challenged me and made me think. But the one thing that I’ve never felt is that completely lost, confused, hopeless feeling that I see on so many kids faces when it comes to algebra or ratios or whatever.

So the other day in the middle of this step aerobics class, while I focused mainly on not falling flat on my face, I realized that I was having one of those moments. I was lost, confused and felt so hopeless. I couldn’t keep up. I couldn’t get it right. I thought I looked silly, even though I truly was trying my best to “figure it out!”

So if that’s how the kids are feeling then I think I get it now… Learning math involves risk and vulnerability. It’s scary to feel totally lost and it’s hard to ask questions when you think everyone else understands. Especially since traditionally math has a “right and wrong” format.

My new goal as a math teacher? To focus on encouraging the risk taking and mistake making. To continue to be patient and excited about math but to also show that making mistakes is how we figure something out. I want kids to flail around like me in my step class – not afraid to try it out even though you might look silly. Because exercise is exercise and learning is learning. Getting out there and trying is sometimes all that matters.

Any favourite blogs we should know about?

What do you think is most important when it comes to teaching math?

Meaghan