Monthly Archives: January 2018

Accountability – Reflection on My 2018 Spring Goals


A full week of school – the first weeks, though one was fairly productively – in and out with snow days, well – no consistency.  We were out the entire week last week – with MLKjr Day and the snow / cold temps.  So this week meant collecting and giving feedback on NTI day assignments.  Not my favorite task at all.  One class was fine- I had about 4 students having to redo assignments because they were not proficient.  The other class, I had about 4 students needing to redo, and 9! Students who did not even do the first assignment.  Phone calls and emails home…  ugh.

With all of that – we sort of got back into a routine.  So I felt it was time to reflect on my semester goals.  This post describes my goals as a result of a conversation with @misscalcul8.  Here’s the jist:

For the Spring 2018 Semester, in my 4th block Algebra I class, I will increase (currently, I do not link them in my plans) my planning of formative assessments for each learning target listed / linked in my unit lesson plans.  Twice per week, I will take time to formally reflect (written) the student work and devise a plan for next steps.   Currently, I only informally reflect / plan next steps, without formal documentation in my plans.  I hope this work will lead to better quality formative assessments that are truly at the level and integrity of the standards.

Over the course of the Spring 2018 Semester, I will develop a list of common Latin / Greek roots as related to our content in Algebra I.  Through the collaboration of my colleague, I will develop and implement a weekly system to help students learn and make connections within the content to the roots, etc.   The list, weekly quiz results and study tools will be documented in lesson plans.  At the end of each month (January – April), I will reflect on our progress, analyze the impact on student learning and adjust, continue.  This list should grow throughout the semester.  List to students, implement study tool, report student progress.

I will revisit Small & Lin’s book More Good Questions for ideas on creating Open Questions.  As part of the formative assessment tools, I will begin to include these on a weekly basis in our lessons – for feedback only and incorporate on every unit assessment (after discussing with my content team teacher).

12718 reflect goals2018

Where Am I?

As part of our NTI PLC time, we spent time building a document to list each of our learning targets, CCSS for searching resources and link FAs documents / describe the task for each.  This was not necessarily “IN” my weekly lesson plans, but it is a living document that can easily be linked to.  I can quickly copy/paste the linking information into my lesson plans.

As part of this task – my colleague and I met, devising a system for naming our resource files as we upload them to a shared folder.  We agreed on 3 letter abbreviation for BIG idea of the unit, then use 2 digits for the learning targets.  For example, FUN 01 means intro to functions, learning target 1.  This way we can record in the IC which target that “grade” is addressing for parent and student communication.  Students receive a unit organizer at the beginning of the unit with ALL of the assessment targets listed.

Inside each folder, she suggested having sub-folders:  one for lessons, INB foldables, example for notes, practice tasks like matching or sorting;  one for FA tasks;  Summative and projects folder which will also include a unit pre-assessment and multiple versions of the unit assessment.

We have just a few more things to have everything addressed in our current unit.  We think this document can easily be added to and edited as we go through the units – adding new things, etc.  Targets highlighted in red if we need to create a better target quiz, we can quickly scan to see where we are and what we need to do.  We have a lesson plan outlined for the operations with functions target, but need to create a TQ.

Since starting our document, we have found an example from the Springboard resources that can serve as a skeleton for identifying and relating key features to the context.

FA pic 5

From Springboard, Algebra I


I have done nothing with the Roots list in vocabulary.  Every unit organizer has listed vocabulary – so I am hoping to use these as I begin to develop this list.

I used one open question for a TQ this week and gave immediate verbal feedback to students with high give/thumbs up or questions/coaching.

What can I celebrate?

Getting on the same page with my colleague.  We have a plan in place.  We’ve started organizing our current resources and agree as we continue in the semester, we can easily add and adjust.  I like our system for highlighting places that need work and the ability to share found resources as we use them.

I was very purposeful in the FA used in class this week.  Even with the deltamath and desmos tasks in the lab on Friday have given me some conversation and lesson material as we move on this week.

What can I improve?

Ensuring that I have time built in for students to act on the written feedback.

Getting started with those root word lists.

Purposeful planning with the open questions – allow students to become comfortable with this style of questioning – you can tell its unfamiliar for some of them – but using strategies like “3 things” notice/wonder will help them build confidence in sharing their thinking.  I am already seeing more details in what they are writing and sharing.  I know this sounds silly, but I have noticed eyebrows raising as I put the task out there – almost as if they welcome the opportunity to think and share their thinking.

So where are you in your goals for this school year?  What are your goals?  What are you doing to be accountable to them?  Where are you?  What can you celebrate?  What can you improve?

Reflecting on Formative Assessments


Every Story has a Graph / Target Quiz

Earlier this week, I gave a short Target Quiz – just one big idea.Students were given three scenarios and asked to create a graph to model the situation.  Out of the class, there were 4 students I felt I needed to pull over to the side for some one on one time.  I found they were often drawing the “shape” of what was happening rather than comparing the distance from home to time.

tom hill

The one most missed had Tom walking up a hill, quickly across the top, then ran down the other side.  Yes, most kids draw the shape of the hill.  As opposed to the distance continuing to increase as he ran down the other side.

Whiteboarding Examples / Non-examples

The second Target Quiz was on whiteboards – students had to create an example of a graph, set of ordered pairs and a table of values with a function and not a function in each example.

tq3 fun

I laughed as one table was begging me to give “real quiz” and take a grade because they knew that they knew!!  As I walked around the room, observing, asking questions – there were 3 students with some minor mistakes and 3 who were really struggling.  Upon questioning, they were able to identify when the example was given, but unable to create examples on their own.  With some “funneling”  – they were able to get examples of each, but I have them * to keep an eye on and requiz next week.

Deltamath Practice – immediate feedback from tech;

Teacher observation & questioning

We had a very brief introduction to writing domain and range of graphs in interval notation.  We spent some time in the computer lab today practicing this on   I appreciate the immediate feedback they are able to see if they miss the question.  Also, how he has programmed the many different options for defining domain and range.

dom ran

Many misconceptions were cleared as we learned whether to use the endpoints or extreme values (if they were not the same).  There was discussion about the open circles and closed circles and which inequality symbols were correct to use and when.  And yes, a few realized they were mixing up the x and y for domain or range.  I look forward to practicing this skill Monday after their experiences today.

Desmos Activity – Inequalities on a Number Line – Matching Tasks

For my other class, we will be solving and graphing inequalities next week.  So while in the lab today, we worked on Desmos – Inequalities on a Number Line and Compound Inequalities.  The first task was a good review and learning opportunity for the direction of the symbols.  I still had some students exchanging those up.  Most were correct in open versus closed circles and what that meant in symbol terms.  Though I did not make it to all of the students in the second task – I was trying to catch students on the two sorting pages of the first activity as they were going through.  For some it was as simple as a brief discussion about why one was the correct choice and comparing it to their wrong match.  There are about 4 students still having troubles on the first task.  And several have not completed the last task.

I feel like looking at their responses, I can use their examples as discussion pieces while we are looking at our notes next week.

I almost feel like there were not as many issues in the second task.  However, I still have several that have not completed them yet.  But I feel like using live examples from their work and discussing maybe two stars and a wish they would have for each student – may help them steer away from making their own mistakes.

I love the real time feedback I get as a teacher and how I am able to grab kids before they move on too far and help erase some of their thinking and replaced it with correct ideas immediately.

Someday – I’ll get to have a classroom lab… I hope.  Until then, we will keep on doing what we can.




Heartbroken. Angry. Apalled when I see those on social media making these tragedies about something other than they are. Heartbroken. I’ve cried – as a mom. I’ve cried – as a teacher. I’ve cried – as a friend of first responders and medical caregivers. This post by a middle school Social Studies teacher touched what […]