Reverse Quiz


As I was driving home this past week, thinking about a practice quiz from earlier that day, I wondered…
“What if I asked students to purposefully choose the wrong answers with support/reasoning they knew made the answer incorrect?  The goal, to get 0% correct…a reverse quiz.”

I’ve done similar things with mistake game, my favorite no, discussing our wrong answer analysis as small groups/whole class.  But maybe our next MC Monday will be this format.  There should be no green when we review our responses with Plickers.

I remember a discussion once with a colleague who told me that focusing on the wrong response would only confuse students.  I respectfully disagree.  I’ve seen how having students compare responses, similar/different allows them to develop understanding of the structure of expressions.  

I believe that this process and follow up discussion/students sharing why their response is wrong will allow them eliminate answers, which is a test taking skill.  

I believe it allows them room to take a risk and actually engage with the question.

If you have experience or suggestions, even links to research to support or otherwise, please share.  I look forward to seeing how this goes. #MTBoS30 Post 3


What a great day!


Students go to enter the join code.  Once everyone is in, I chose start game, it assigns students to groups…and even gives the group an animal name!

Students go join their groups.  Everyone in the group has the same question, but different responses.  The group must discuss and collaborate before making a choice.

There’s a progress line on overhead/teacher station.  When a group gets a correct match, they move ahead a point.  Someone jumping to answer first, they lose a point if incorrect…but can gain it back!

Lots of laughter, but seriousness too.  What I love from the teacher standpoint, the feedback- share stats with class…which terms they confused with others…An opportunity for immediate discussion, why one and not another. 

Click shuffle groups.  Go join new animal crew and play again! Everyone had worked with multiple classmates in just a few minutes.

Great tool for review and vocab. Wondering how else I can implement in math class!

#TMC16 Tools for Teacher & Student Reflection


Mirror, Mirror:

Tools for Teacher & Student Learning Reflections

PDF Slides: Mirror, Mirror TMC16 pamjwilson and video voice over

Links to posts of activities shared:

Getting to Know You Questions – First Days of School

High Five & Hug Clip

Engagement Wheel

2-Minute Assessment Grid

Representing Polynomials Lesson Open Sorts & Gallery Walk

Follow Up Group QuizAgree/Disagree Post-its

Musical Chairs



Rethinking Assessments


After my first assessment, I cut and pasted 8 problems that were missed most or even left blank and copied.  The following day, students worked in groups to complete those problems.

The conversations were great.  I attempted to ask questions of each group member to ensure they understood their peers thinking. 

As a whole class, we discussed why several had left certain problems blank. No attempt. At.All. 
It looked hard.
Too many words.
I was confused.
It didn’t make sense.

But after working on them in small groups, several shared how most were really very doable.  or at least the way ____ explained their thinking, ot made sense.  And how likely they will be to at least give effort on those “hard” problems next to me.

My issue was, when I asked them to complete a wrong answer analysis, only about half put effort into it. Some turned in nearly blank pages. Some turned in nothing at all.  An opportunity to learn/redo and nothing.  Yet when progress reports came out, they were upset to see they had only mastered 20% of the concepts.

They were upset that I wouldn’t give them points for just redoing and I was unfair because I didn’t let the entire class redo during class time.  They wanted me to assess their work (again) they had not even practiced/studied.


My next attempt, was a group quiz – sort of modified from convo with @druinok and a post from @fnoschese and this article.   A couple of days prior to unit assessment, I gave them an overview of problems from the learni ng targets for the unit, it was an opportunity to discuss, look in their INBs, even asked questions of me.  It was quick to grade using this method Agree / disagree post-its

Somewhat better results.  But still, pushback on the redo’s.  A student was mad and asked how I expected them to remember what they had done /didn’t do on a test from the previous week.  Yes, given on a Wednesday, absent make-ups the following day, an assembly, the weekend and I passed them back on Monday. 

Round 3: Given on Friday. Stayed after school and marked each one.  Compiling My Favorite No on 4 Qs for whole – class discussion.  A mix of Qs missed most often for a quick group quiz, using the agree/disagree post-its again.  This will address majority of analysis I need from most of them, then assign remainder as HW. Final version of unit assessment following day.

I am interested to see what happens.

Supporting Students During Instruction #eduread


Several years ago – in the beginning of discussions / learning of RTI,  I remember a curriculum supervisor making a statement – that we need a file of several resources – addressing goal concepts at different levels of understanding – that we can pull from as we have need to address intervention needs of our students.

With recent reading, this statement comes to front of my thinking.  The reading supports the idea of formative assessment – to catch students during the learning cycle and address their immediate needs.  This book date was 2010 – just the beginning of my own learning cycle and implementation of true formative assessment.


There are five steps outlined in Chapter 2

How to Develop and Deliver an Intervention Plan

  1. Identify mastery thresholds.
  2. Establish “red flags.”
  3. Develop on-going assessment measures to identify red flags.
  4. Select appropriate interventions.
  5. Monitor the effectiveness of each intervention.

I found a statement interesting as we were asked to think about “What are some of your current mastery thresholds?  How can you tell when students have moved from “almost got it” to “got it”?  The statement was to look beyond mastery thresholds tied strictly to academic achievement, but also as related student behaviors implied by the curriculum – such as participation, note taking, study habits and work completion. ( page 36)  I see this as the behavior may actual cover-up the understanding, if I am not carefully seeing beyond the behavior.

The establishment of red flags is helpful – after all, its human nature to cover up what we don’t know – so as a teacher, we have thought about/anticipated student actions, behaviors to help us gather data and making decisions on next steps during instruction.  Red flags are objective – intervention based on data rather than my opinion of who low-performing, gives students who are not prepared or embarrassed to ask for help.  Students may seem to be getting it by their behaviors but miss the mark on an assessment.  The red-flag system provides a safety net, per se’.

Four rules for establishing red flags:

  • unambiguous
  • hard to ignore
  • trigger an action
  • focused on academic concerns not behaviors.

Well.  I had to stop after reading this.  I needed to reflect on the next Think About…

What methods do I currently use to determine that a students is struggling?  What signals let me know they are falling below mastery?  Or signals that I missed in the past?

How do I tell they are no longer struggling?  Or even bored and ready to move on?

These are questions I really have not considered.  However, I do feel that I am a responsive teacher in the classroom.  I began really listening and paying attention to student behavior, actions about the time this book was published.  I started listening to my students rather than for the answers (Thanks, Max!)

Pausing during instruction – noticing their actions – how long do they take to engage in the problem/task?  The looks on their faces.  The conversations at tables – really listening to what they are saying – when I ask them to turn and talk.  I walk around the room and truly listen.  Ask questions specifically to their conversations – to dig deeper and see if they are getting it.

I search for common misconceptions as I walk around the room.  And I like to share – using Leah Alcala’s “favorite no” structure.  Ask, “What do you think this student was thinking?”  But I love to also use the Two Stars and a Wish/a Question.  What does this student know?  What question could we ask them to help adjust their thinking and see their mistake?

I initially thought I did not have a red flag list.  But pondering my teaching – I feel that the sequence and choice of examples I present during a lesson allows for a large portion of my red-flags.  I anticipate their mistakes and even give them some “wrong” work to analyze the mistakes as part of the learning task.  I realize this may not be enough, but it is a beginning.

Step 3 is an area I worked on with a colleague in Algebra I with intention last school year.  We took our units and planned at least one formative assessment for every learning target in the unit.  We tried to plan a variety of tasks.  We have some planned followup for some of the FAs, however, this is work to continue and build upon each time it is taught.  Having planning FA is so helpful.  Ensuring those FA are also connected to a specific red flag is even more powerful.  Giving an example that is often missed during a feedback quiz, allows us the opportunity to see where the group may be.  IF a large number have issues, we can address with the entire class.  IF only a handful have issues, its an opportunity to sit one=on=one and have a quality conversation.

Step 4 on selecting appropriate interventions is an area that challenges me.  Thinking of support and interventions differently – I am still not confident in this thinking.  But this statement seems to help – The most effective interventions provide a temporary learning support, are available to students on an as-needed basis and are removed when they are no longer needed.  So intervention provides the support. (?)

I honestly stressed reading this section.  It felt overwhelming and not doable.  I wanted to give up and quit reading.  Then I continued and the following list confirmed I was doing some things right.

Types of interventions discussed:

  • Student Conferences
  • Feedback
  • Concrete Examples
  • Graphic Organizers
  • Cheat Sheets & Cues
  • Memory Strategies
  • Summarizing
  • “Break Glass” Strategies – this was new to me
  • Tiered HW Assignments
  • Modeling Thinking Strategies
  • Task Breakdowns
  • Mandatory Extra Help (not punitive)
  • Peer Tutoring (we do a lot of “buddy checks” at our tables, allows students to ask a peer a question they may not be comfortable asking to the entire class)

But note these are not things I just did.  These are strategies suggested by colleagues, gathered at conferences, read from a blog post or found during a book chat reading.  These things did not just happen.  I purposefully planned them along the way.  Some worked initially.  Some failed miserably.  But most are in my toolbox and ready to pick up at any given time when I recognize a red flag.

I believe this merits a reminder from Steve Leinwand – It is unreasonable to ask a professional to change much more than 10 percent a year, but it is unprofessional to change by much less than 10 percent a year. {MT, page 582, may 2007

We cannot possibly learn and change everything all at once.  But it is a disservice to our students if we do not change at all.  Pick a new strategy or change up a lesson with an new approach.  What is it you want to do/accomplish?  What do you want to learn?  How might you apply it to your classroom instruction?  Research. Plan. Action. Reflect.  Adapt.  This is how you build a vast toolbox of quality resources and strategies.

Interventions should…

  • be designed to get students quickly back on track, addressing immediate needs but also keeping up with current learning taking place.
  • NOT be punitive, even if students are struggling because of their irresponsible behavior (not lying, I struggle here.  but I must find ways for students to recognize their choices led them to this point, discuss possible choices and the outcomes of each, help remind them the next time they are at a place to make a choice.  behavior interventions and academic interventions are not the same – although as teachers we see how some behavior leads to the need of the academic intervention.  this in my opinion is where relationships trump everything else – knowing your students, having conversations with them can lead to my understanding of why they chose the way they did.  and hopefully those conversations will continue to grow trust between us and allow me to help direct them to choices that will lead to a greater outcome.)
  • seamless and unobtrusive
  • systematic
  • temporary
  • minimal
  • specific
  • not be labor intensive (let me know when you figure this one out!)

At this point in the reading – there is a worksheet to help you in the process of planning red flags and interventions.

Step 5 Evaluate the interventions for effectiveness.  Again – reflection, analysis, adapt, action.

A suggestion made I want to make note of for my own reminder – is weaning them off of the interventions.  For example – if we allow students to use notes on a test, if we continue to do this the entire year, they become dependent on their notes and may not learn the concepts as deeply as we like.  One suggestion was to gradually withdraw.  An idea – Test 1, all notes allowed, Test 2 notes allowed during last half of the test,  Test 3 notes allowed during last five minutes of testing period.  Test 4 no notes.  OR  T1 all notes, T2 one sheet of paper, T3 5 x 7 index card, T4 no notes.  Either one shows a need for good note taking but students cannot be totally dependent.

A final statement made – is that interventions assume students want help.  When they refuse help, we need to know the way.  This falls back to knowing our students.  Relationships matter.

Thanks for allowing me to muddle through my thinking on this reading!  Have an amazing day.



Supporting Students Before Instruction #eduread #literacy


Getting back into the swing of the semester sort of bumped my reading to the back burner.  I am super excited about the opportunity to teach a section of digital literacy this semester, but I am busy planning and learning to stay a step ahead of my students!

Last night, @druinok and I were finally able to connect paths and chat on Chapter 1 of Robyn Jackson’s Supporting Struggling Students.  As I posted last month – this book and the ALM literacy training I have been a part of this school year emphasize the importance of planning.



The big ideas in our chat last night were –

Anticipating Confusion – there is a worksheet provided in the book which asks you to what concepts, content/processes or context you will utilize to present the lessons.  Then it asks you what common misunderstandings;  what prior knowledge and vocabulary will be needed for students to be successful and finally skills, thinking and organizational strategies the context will require.

I think back to my first years of teaching – I planned a lesson, examples to present in notes, practice problems and a mini quiz to assess where students were.  I cannot say for sure that I put this much thought into planning the lesson.  All great points to consider when I sit down to plan a lesson with the learner in mind.

Maybe this next idea arose in a chat – or did I blog about it already?  Activating or creating prior knowledge  – presented the idea that learning is like hook and loop tap – in order for it to stick, students need hooks in their brains on which they can loop new information.  When gaps occur – whether it be experiences, prior knowledge, lack of vocabulary, students do not have the hooks to hang the new information to.  The author suggested acceleration.  What?  I thought that was allowing learning to work ahead / condense information and let them work at a faster pace as in enrichment.  Same idea – except, there is simply not enough time to teach all of the gaps sometimes, so we must choose what is most important and find ways to help learners accelerate through what is missing, giving them enough to round out their background knowledge.

This is where I began seeing such a huge overlap between this book and my literacy team work with the ALM.

Strategies to activate prior knowledge – KWL outlines, Anticipation guides, Pre-reading plan, directed reading activities, word splashes, carousel brainstorming, statement strategy, paired verbal fluency, semantic mapping.  Several of these seemed familiar.  During our chat, @druinok shared that paired verbal fluency was essential pair-share or talk with shoulder partner;  the word splashes sort of like brain dump or generating a list but then making connections/showing relationships between the words.

Anticipation Guides – in math class?  What about offering 3-5 big ideas at then beginning of a unit / lesson in the form of Always, Sometimes, Never statements and allowing them to respond, share their claim and reasoning.  At the end of the lesson, revisiting the statements to see if they agree/disagree with initial claim and supporting with mathematical evidence from their learning.

I suppose the directed reading and pre-reading plan would be to offer “Look fors” as they begin the lesson / reading/activity.

The word splashes reminded me of a structure I have failed at using, but after revisiting our ALM resources and notes from training, I feel like I see a way to implement Interactive Word Walls.  When I tried them in the past, it simply became a stagnant display of text.  I am now wondering if I have students create an illustration the word  / expression makes them think of and hanging those on the wall.  Later, after some work, allow students to write the definitions in their own words and tape to the back of the illustrations.  As a class opener, review or even few minutes at end of class – Call on a student to go to the IWW, have them explain the meaning of a term.  The book suggested students at the desks should be reviewing their resources with the vocabulary.  The next student who goes to the IWW will choose a term and tell how it is related to the prior person’s word, then give a brief definition of the term.  And so on.  This accomplishes several things – students need to know the term, be able to show how it is related to other terms, it gives them a moment to review their vocabulary and listen to how others are making connections.

Strategies for creating background knowledge may be tricky.  There is simply not enough time to teach what we are supposed do, so how/when do I fill in the missing pieces?

Ideas:  movie clip, children’s book on the topic, link to website focused on information needed, analogies and mini lessons specific to skills and concepts needed.  This requires time and planning, but my thinking is – once I find a resource that helps, I add it to my toolbox and will have a set to choose from in the future.

Again – thinking what strategies and how to present the activation will need to be a part of the planning cycle.  Creating a list of background knowledge needed and how I plan to present those ideas to activate their thinking.

Often times students struggle due to lack of soft skills like organizing their learning, note taking, etc.  If I can provide them with a structure to help them organize their thinking – the author suggests explaining how this structure works in advance, previewing it and using it prior to the lesson you actually want them to use it with in order to help them develop an understanding of it and become confident in the process.

Chapter 1 ends discussing the vocabulary planning worksheet – what words will be used frequently, similarities between the terms, grouping and prioritizing ones of most importance.  Have a few different strategies planned to help students develop a basic understanding.

Only posting to help myself digest what I have been reading / chatting about – in hopes it will finally make connections for my math class and I can find ways to improve what I am planning for my students.


It Has Been a While… #eduread #MTBoS #literacy


Four and a half months, actually.

There is no excuse, except the season of life I am in.  My teenager is very involved with band and July – November is all consuming marching band.  And I will never apologize for making her time and activities a priority.  In just a few short years, she will be gone to college.

As for fall semester – it was a good one.  There were some new challenges I had never faced in the classroom and definitely a learning experience.  I did my best to be present for my students – to have conversations with them, to get to know them, to laugh with them.

My professional growth goal for this school year focuses on purposeful planning and implementation of research based vocabulary and literacy strategies in my Algebra I classes.  Being part of our districts Literacy Team using the adolescent literacy model from CTL lead to this focus.

I attempted an #educhat with the Robyn Jackson’s How to Support Struggling Students book.  Again, it seemed our family calendar and in person priorities stepped in.  However, I am still in the book.  As I read, I see so many connections to what we have heard in our ALM trainings this past semester.  The book compliments our training really well.

The introduction and chapter 1 emphasized what I already knew – planning and reflection are key.  Just a few take-a-ways from my reading and minimal chats:

4 Questions up front in the intro ~ Who are your struggling students this year?  How or why do they seem to struggle?  What have you tried so far?  What support strategies seem to work best?  First couple of times I read these, I brushed them off – not wanting to think on them, because then it was my responsibility to do something.  But wait, it is my responsibility.  And the sooner I address these, the sooner I can offer better support.

Why do students struggle in school?  …they lack either background knowledge or the soft skills needed to acquire and retain new information.  Wow.  This means I have to teach the content, fill in prior gaps AND  help them develop skills to help in their learning.  I’m not sure I am cut out for this teaching gig.  Anticipating their struggles, planning for strategies and lessons to help them overcome their struggles, a pre-assessment and time to reflect on who has gaps / what those gaps are and just exactly how and which ones we can fill-in – that will most benefit their learning during the lesson/unit.

One a-ha moment was using acceleration prior to the learning to develop foundational work, allowing the students to have some of the missing prior-knowledge.  The 3 key components suggested in the book for acceleration are:  activate / create background knowledge, provide / preview organizing strategies and teaching vocabulary.  Considering these, I have some ideas I am considering for my planning this semester.

Since vocabulary is part of my PGP focus, this section particularly grabbed my attention.  Marzano, Pickering, Pollock (2001) states effective vocabulary instruction has been show to increase student achievement by 33 percentile points.  These 6 steps are suggested in the book and I intend to consider these as I begin planning/updating my units and lessons:

  • preview vocabulary prior to the lesson in order for students to develop familiarity; this will be brief, informal explanation or description
  • share an imagery based representation of the new term
  • students describe or explain the term in their own words
  • students create their own imagery based representation of the term
  • students elaborate on the term, making connections to other terms
  • ask students to add new information to their understanding, delete or alter erroneous information

(Marzano, 2003)

I see utilizing quizlet, flashcards, google slides, LINCing vocabulary, frayer model, even etymology / connections with common roots during my planning this semester.  Something I feel is important here – introducing them prior to needing them, allowing them to become familiar and work with the terms before we actually need them.

Allowing them to make connections with words they already know, maybe not use the textbook definition on the Frayer models until after they are comfortable working with the terms.

Jackson’s book offers some nice organizers to use in the planning phases, along with examples to consider.  I feel the reading can be a bit overwhelming at first – like “I can never do all of this!”  But now, after stepping away for a couple of weeks, I have gone back and skimmed the reading, considered my notes and feel I can start with baby steps.

Planning is key. This quote –  If we want our students to succeed, we cannot afford to leave to chance what happens when they do not learn.

But taking the time to reflect and make purposeful adjustments is also key.

I am looking forward to a few more days of rest before returning to my classroom with a new group of learners.  But I am also excited about better planning and how it will lend itself to better learning opportunities.

March #MTBoSBlog18


A few highlights from the past weeks…

Wear Red 


Public Education Week!  Politics can be emotionally draining.  All I want to do is focus on my students, but our elected governor in Kentucky has been pretty harsh toward public education in recent weeks.  In my opinion, it has been bullying at its worst.  But I am proud of the work so many are doing to make the issues known.  It is our duty to contact our legislators and let them know how this will affect us and our communities.  I am very proud to be a public education teacher!!!

Box Designer


Last week in my class that uses Springboard – we were looking at a different linear model.  It followed the direct variation lesson a couple of days later.  I’m not sure I really caught on to this lesson’s BIG ideas last year or even last semester, but this semester – I had a couple of a-ha moments!

I’ve been stacking cups since at least 2002.  You can read about different experiences here (9 things) and here (Attend to Precision).

What I love about SB lessons is the minute details that I miss when I go through during my planning time – but that pop up when I’m observing the groups working.  This particular lesson had students collect data on heights on stacks of two different cups.

As they graphed the data of one style of cup.  It asked them to describe anything they noticed in the data / graph.  Then they were asked to write a linear model of their data.  So many simply wrote the equation h = 1.5 n, h height and n number of cups with their cup’s rate of change…  so as I used a ruler and “graphed” their equation, they saw they needed to adjust to translate the line up… or else the model would under predict the stack’s height.

On the following page, students were then asked to graph the line of their equation model.  Then how the two graphs were alike / different?  Such a simple little move – yet – it focused students in to discrete data – a finite set, continuous from the model – continuing even beyond the coordinate plan shown.

They discussed how the data did not actually have a y-intercept since it would not make sense to have 0 cups with a height – but they realized the y-intercept of the equation corresponded to the hidden part of the cup without the lip and even how their model needed the y-intercept, otherwise it would not accurately predict the heights.

A question about domain and range – was useful to compare how we might define a reasonable domain for the data and the equation.

As students continued, they were asked to define the base of their box using a square.  It was quite interesting to listen in as some suggested a base with side measure equal to the actual cup diameter.  Some quick a-ha’s from their discussions were heard.

As we wrapped up the lesson, one student in particular said to me – I like doing things like this.  When we do normal math, I kind of get lost and bored with all the steps, but this interests me and I’m able to reason out my answers and make connections to the math.  My reply… “this is real math”  the other is the “fake math.”

Green Pens!

green flair

I FINALLY got my green pens out.  I found that doing a quick retrieval quiz at the beginning of class from either the previous day’s work or from a couple of days earlier is a great place for these.  I kept my supply of green pens in my pocket and walked the room – observing.  I would eventually find 4 or 5 students who had the correct work / solutions and I handed them the pens and asked them to check / verify their classmates work.

What I liked – it gave them something to do for the 3 or so minutes others were finishing up.  I liked getting a variety of students to help.  Although I did not get to view every single student’s approach / work, this gives me the opportunity to visit students who have been absent and/or I expect to struggle and have one-on-one time with them.  A few even surprise me, stepping up and getting done more efficiently because they want to check others with the green pen!

I need to get some color dry erase markers to use when we are retrieval practicing on the white boards!

January #MTBoSblog18 – Formative Assessment Strategies


From Jennifer Fairbanks…

Happy Day – Our 1st one of 2018! Join us and blog today! Share anything you want! When you blog, tweet out the link.

Join us as we all blog on the same day – the 18th of each month!  Blog about anything.  Write at any time.  #Pushsend on the 18th.  Then, we will all have a plethora of good things to read.  We can use Twitter and the hashtag #MTBoSBlog18 to encourage and remind people to blog.  If you are interested, record your name and Twitter Handle, areas of interest/teaching/coaching, and a link to your blog’s website.  Don’t have a blog? 2018 is as good a time as any to start.  Take a risk and dive in! Or, read and add comments!

Hmmmm.  WElllll.  Okkkkkkk.  What do I blog about?  Here goes…

Our schoolwide focus this spring is on revisiting what we know about good formative assessment and putting it into practice.  Eventually, we will be encouraged to ensure we are utilizing the practice of PA on a daily basis – for those not already doing it.  After speaking with our SLC, we thought it would be a good use of time for our department virtual PLC – on our NTI (aka Snow Day) – to work on ensuring that each learning target in an upcoming unit has a quality FA in place.  And if not or if it really doesn’t measure what the target is intending, then plan a better one!

As we began building the document for Algebra I unit on Functions, I was reminded of so many great strategies  learned through the years and new strategies shared by others.  Most of these have been learned through trial and error, they didn’t “just happen.”  When trying new things, sometimes you need take NIKE’s advice and Just Do It!  See what happens, reflect and try it again!  So here is a list of a few things we ran across while working this morning:

  • Every Graph Has a Story

    When given a graph with no labels, numbers, etc. – can students devise a story that will related key features of the graph to the context of the story?

Here is @heather_kohn’s Ambiguous Sports Graph sports graph

  • Thumbs Up, Thumbs Down

Was reminded of this one by my colleague.  Basically, you can pose a question to the entire class, then ask for a Thumbs Up or Thumbs Down as to if it is true/false, example/noonexample, linear/nonlinear, function/not a function

  • Green Pens –

    I am super excited that my green pens arrived today!  I plan to use Amy’s idea for Bell Work, but integrate into independent practice time.  Students will have a brief practice page – when one finishes, I will check – if all good, they will receive a green pen and help me mark other papers.  After I have 3 or 4 Green Pen Helpers, I will have time to visit each table group for one-on-one help.


  • Give One, Get One –

    I believe the first time I ever used this was out of a Kagan book in Geometry.  In this unit, I plan to give students graphs of functions.  Before we begin, I will ask them to list 3 things they notice about the graph.  They will then have 4 or 5 True/False statements to respond to.  Here’s the GO-GO:  They will write one more True statement about the graph, then go visit someone else across the room, sharing / discussing their true statement, and receiving/discussing/recording their friend’s new statement.


  • White Boards & Summary Notes

    Individual to practice writing inverse function equations.  Nothing new here, I give them the function, they practice rewriting the inverse on the whiteboard, I walk around the room observing and noting…  Then I will address any common errors I see.  After reading this tweet:

debrief notes

and a discussion a few weeks ago with @druinok about student notes from the teacher – I was reminded…  we will discuss big ideas we noticed in our white boarding, then turn to our INBs and generate our own Summary Notes.  Since these are 9th graders, I will likely give them a few unworked Functions / Inverse examples to help them get started.  Once they have completed their Summary Notes, there will be some time later for independent practice.  Maybe even pull out those green pens again!

  •  Open Sort & Card Matching –

Years ago, I was taught about open sorts from a colleague who had attended John Antonetti training.  I plan to use this structure by giving students cards with several types of graphs, in the discussion with their noticing and sorting and support of reasoning – I am anticipating something coming up about dotted / point graphs and connected graphs.  In the debriefing of the sorting task, this will allow me to introduce / review the idea of discrete vs. continuous graphs.

The second part of this sort will be to place those cards inside the ziploc bag and get the other color cards out.  These cards will have various domains and ranges listed.  Again, in the discussion of their reasoning for their sorts and debriefing of the task,  I am anticipating someone sorting based on listed numbers vs. intervals, which will allow me to make the connection between the different notations for domain and range.

Finally, the matching task will be for students to match the correct domain and range to the correct function graph.  The best way for FA assessment to happen here – is to walk around, listen/observe and ask questions, never telling them, but helping them think on their own.

After some practice and discussion, I feel like this might be another great spot to have students create their own Summary Notes of the ideas shared / discussed.

  • 2-Minute Assessment Grid

Goodness, this may be one of my favorite student reflections.  You can read about it here.  You can copy the grid and have students fill it in.  However, I like creating a large grid on my board and giving students 4 sticky notes on which to respond.  Basically Students are asked to tell ! Something they want to remember.  ? A question they still have.  @ An A-ah – lightbulb moment and + One improvement they can still make / need ot study.

  • Class Closer Reflection

An easy, quick one sentence reflection – have students choose one of these sentence starters and complete it…  Something I’ve learned,…, Something I realized….  OR Something was reminded was of…

Follow-Up Action is what matters most.

As with any FA – its not about the strategies – they only provide a vehicle for the information you get from student learning.  What happens next is very dependent on what information you receive.  In class strategies, you must be present, listening, allow yourself a few seconds to think through their responses / questions before responding to them with a question.  With reflections, exit tickets, target quizzes, we have the opportunity to filter through all of their responses, looking for commonalities and misconceptions – that will help us plan our next actions.  Do we need to address with the entire class?  Are there a handful we need to pull to the side while others are completing bellwork the next day?  Is everyone on the right track and ready to move forward?

Goals for Spring Semester #MTBoS12Days Post 4


Saw Elissa’s tweet and wondered… which lead to this conversation a couple of days ago…

So, what were those SMART goals again?


So, to take this…  Be intentional with planning formative assessments, develop and focus on vocab with roots-weekly system, and… more open questions in assignments & assessments. Are those measurable?

Elissa’s question – how do you measure intentionality?  Hmmmm.  If its a goal, I should be intentional with it right?  So, how do I measure that?  By asking someone to review my unit plans to ensure that I am including these in them?  By weekly self-accountability?

All of these things are related to my planning – I constantly use formative assessments, they are just not formally documented in my plans as they should be.  How do I know they are actually assessing the desired learning outcome?

At the beginning of each unit, I have a Words Worth Knowing Vocabulary Survey – that I modified from Sarah’s here.  I walk around the room and observe students’ assessments of their knowledge of these terms.  Towards the end of the unit, we revisit and they re-assess, hopefully being familiar and knowing more than they did in the beginning.

Yes, they are exposed to the terms within the unit, but do they have a deeper understanding of the words?  When I taught geometry, I did a lot with the etymology of the words.  I am wondering how I can develop a list of latin/greek roots, etc. relating to our intended vocabulary?  And someone develop a weekly system like my science colleague to help students truly build a foundational understanding.  I started a list just before Christmas Break, but have not spent much more time with this task.

I have included open questions often within a daily task, and tried to include in unit assessments.  But not at the level to truly elicit student thinking and frequency I would like.

The focus of these goals will all be one section of Algebra I.  My other Algebra I class uses the Springboard Curriculum – a completely different order of topics and pacing.

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).

If I have a sheet in my planner for weekly reflection…  Suggestions?

goals 2018