Peggy describes her evolution in the Math Forum conversation this way: "I began as a teacher looking for interresting and challenging problems and registered at the Math Forum as an individual. Then I liked the idea that others would give students feedback [on their problem solving], so took advantage of a trial membership. Finally I registered a class [giving my students online access to the Problems of the Week]. Having participated in summer professional development and online courses I as a teacher grew in respecting this online community that seeks to provide problems to challenge students, support for teachers and requires writing to communicate and share ideas when reaching a solution."
Not only does Peggy help support other teachers in their quests to become better educators by participating in and moderating online courses and workshops, her students are putting their problem-solving out there for other students and teachers to learn from!
This year, six of Peggy's students volunteered to be mentored by participants in Drexel's Master's of Mathematics Teaching and Learning, committing to submitting or revising a problem a week for eight weeks. In addition, almost all of Peggy's students eagerly submit their solutions to problems that are being mentored by our volunteer pre-service teachers. The students like hearing their thinking valued by other community members, and the pre-service teachers learn a lot from exchanges with real students. Peggy's students revise their work and write back to their mentors, so the mentors learn what kinds of feedback are most effective.
Peggy's students are especially proud when their work is shared with all of the students and teachers that use the Problems of the Week. They work hard to write clear, complete solutions that are highlighted on the Math Forum website. "This sends a boost of pride and excitement into the student and the class. Someone outside of the classroom choose to comment on their work. Even some of their wonderings were quoted. Michael H wondered if the temperature in a hot tub would really get 8000 degrees hotter if burning for 1000 hours. I assure you Michael knows what would happen to the water if it burned for 1000 hrs. But his musings lead to a discussion on domain and range for the practical application."
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