Last week several TCS staff members attended the annual GISA (Georgia Independent School Association) conference. While this conference featured presentations ranging from fundraising to staff development, the large majority of presentations were by teachers sharing their work and classroom ideas. I presented the functional math curriculum TCS has been developing for the past two years. The presentation discussed the importance of including processing and logical thinking skills in a functional math curriculum.
This developmental approach to education is becoming more mainstream as educators work to prepare students for a changing, technology-dependent economy. The keynote speaker at the conference, Tony Wagner, Harvard professor and author of Most Likely to Succeed (among other books on educational reform) spoke about the need for schools to support problem-solving and independent creative thinking skills.
A great interactive activity suggested by one presentation, “Which One Doesn’t Belong” (available free online and as a smartphone app: http://wodb.ca/), challenges you to find multiple solutions to a problem–there is no wrong answer! These are great puzzles to do at home with your student. Make sure to ask clarifying questions and challenge them to find the different ways each shape or number would not fit with the group.
— Sarah Champ, Senior Teacher