Reviewing Math with a Little Help from Our Friends

In February I was introduced to a new partner in Monterrey, Mexico.  Parul, a 7th grade math teacher, was excited to embark on a global adventure and we spoke about incorporating global word problems into her curriculum.  Having already created word problems on my end, I made sure to step back and listen to what Parul felt she needed to have her students get out of the project and I paid particular attention to the dynamics of the class and school as Parul described it.  Knowing that her school was just beginning to embark on global adventures I knew that this project could be important in gaining momentum and energy for the future of our partnership and certainly I didn't want to overwhelm Parul or have her students engage in meaningless work.

Parul's energy was wonderful. From the first skype call I had with her I felt like we were collaborating and truly listening to one another.  In the past, I have simply created word problems about San Francisco and exchanged the problems with other schools. We have completed them, taken pictures of each other doing  the work and left it there.  It was important to Parul that we engage with each other by sharing the word problems but also to take it step further in having our students meet via Skype.  

During that first call, Parul decided that the exchange would consist of 3 parts.  

1)  A mystery skype call where the students would ask questions of each other in the hopes of zeroing in on the school's location.

2) The completion of word problems with posters created that share an "I notice, I wonder and I connect to".

3) A follow up Skype call where we each chose 3-4 problems to debrief by sharing the way in which we completed the mathematics in the problem and explaining our poster and the notice, wonder and connect.  At the end of this call, time permitting, we would allow for further questions.

Parul and I had different age students and different size classes, which meant that it wasn't a one size fits all approach to the skype call.  My boys being younger needed more scaffolding and organization as they weren't able to be as off the cuff in certain regards and some were very shy.  Parul had more kids in her class then I believe found it challenging to get them all involved throughout the call.  In the end we realized that being flexible, honest in our communication, and understanding of the needs of one another and our students would result in an initial project partnership project that might build a good foundation for the future-at least I think so:) 

Thanks Parul and American School Foundation of Monterrey for working with us, I only wish we had more time.:)