My little story of open sharing

The great Alan Levine (aka Cogdog) has been collecting/curating “…moving, personal stories that would not have been previously possible, enabled by open licensed materials and personal networks.” I’ve always found these stories really inspiring and great support for the work around Connected Learning that we’re advocating for in VCU ALT Lab. I’ve also been waiting for my opportunity to have a story to share. At long last…

My little, immediate family has been carrying on a tradition, of sorts, annually around Chanukah. My wife collects candles from various locations and as remembrances of our travels. Since Chanukah is “The Festival of Lights” and celebrates the miracle of a single cruse of oil lasting 8 days when it seemed as if it would only last one, we use the candles (and a menorah) like ornaments; we place the entire collection of candles on the mantle of our fireplace. Like the decorating of a Christmas tree, we take candles out of the storage bin, one-by-one, and recall the story of the candle: When did we get it? Where did we get it from? What was going on in our lives at that moment? etc.

When we finished placing the candles this year, I took a picture and shared it on Twitter.






A couple of hours later, while we were in the Chanukah spirit, I shared another picture, this one of my son with some friends of his from 8 years ago. I love this picture for so many reasons, including how it portrays my own feelings of being the “lonely Jew” around this time of year.



And then, a cool thing happened…

You’ll notice that Aviva Dunsiger, a 1st grade teacher in Ontario (Hamilton, to be more exact) saw the 2nd picture I posted and declared it perfect for “Math Talk Mondays.” I didn’t know what she meant by it, but it sounded fun… Also, you’ll notice that Aviva then saw the 1st picture I posted and decided that it, too, would make for a good image for Math Talk Mondays.

The next day, I discovered what “Math Talk Mondays” is. Aviva captured it, and shared it back out via Twitter.

The rest is Math Talk Monday magic.

To recap: From Richmond, Virginia,  I shared fun pictures of family related to Chanukah. A 1st grade teacher in Ontario, Canada saw math in the images and decided to use it with her class. They used the photos as prompts for discussions about math, and learned a little about Chanukah in the process.

So. Much. Fun.


2 thoughts on “My little story of open sharing”

  1. Thank you so much for sharing this exchange here! The photographs were perfect for Math Talk Mondays, and my students loved discussing the math that they saw, while also learning about a new holiday. Like you, I’m Jewish, and at this time of the year, I often feel “alone” as there’s this collective celebration of Christmas. When I was in Grade 8, my mom got remarried, and now we celebrate Christmas and Hanukkah. I love being able to celebrate both festivities, but I also love sharing a little bit about both with my students. None of my kids this year celebrate Hanukkah or even knew about the holiday. Your pictures were perfect for teaching them something new, and helping them see math in a meaningful way. Thank you for both!


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