Category Archives: #blogitbingo

Looking Back 2016-2017 (part 1) Independent Practice

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Looking back over the 2016-2017 season.  (T. Kanold referred to the school year as a season…in a recent training).

As I think on the past year, I will admit it was not my best yet. But I did have several areas of growth and also some targets for growth.  I intended this to be a reflection post over the entire year, but it seems it has evolved into a discussion of homework / independent practice…

My professional goal was to be more intentional in lesson / class closure – as not to have the bell ringing, students hurrying out the door as I am yelling do _ #’s on _ page for HW.  As well as trying to be more intentional with assigning independent practice with the idea of lagging.

In two of my classes we utilized Springboard Curriculum.  There was a lot I enjoyed, some things I learned and a few things I will adjust this next season.

For most of the year, I did a fair job of lagging homework in these two sections.  On Thursday / Friday, assignments for the following week were made, based on the lessons we had completed in the current week.  I used the activity practice sets at the end of a lesson provided in the workbook.  This was not the actually mixed practice I was hoping, but springboard does a good job of varied level of questions within their practice sets.  Not too lengthy, some skills, some reasoning, some application/ modeling.  The sets due on Tues – Friday of the following week.

This would allow students to be proactive and work over the weekend, should they have a busy schedule coming up the next week.  When an assignment was due, I would ask them to turn and talk with those in their group, comparing answers.  I walked around the room and made note of those with complete work, also paying attention to the conversations – and allowing me to decide which problems needed some extra attention as a whole class.  I found this structure from @cheesemonkeysf to be quite purposeful.

E shares step 4 as stamping and collecting every two weeks – for what is essentially a 100% effort grade.  Years ago, I used a stamping system.  A dated library stamp, on test days I would collect a crumpled set of assignments, flip through, counting the number of stamps and report a score for homework.

A few years later, I created a “stamp-sheet” on the back of our unit organizer. The front included how big ideas connected back to the unit concept, with a unit schedule, critical vocabulary and our assessment standards.  The back of the page gave students self-assessment skills for focus and an assignment log I included.

IF complete and on time, students received a stamp..IF complete and late, a circled stamp.  As I learned about formative assessment, I attempted to modify the table as a tool for students to track their learning.  Here is an early version of that:

self assessment

I plan to revisit this idea and implement something similar this school year.  I have tried multiple other things in recent years with little success – somewhere along the way, I let students get away with not practicing.  Somehow I need to address HW/practice in the self-assess column with a structure that is efficient and purposeful.

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Its imperative for students to get some independent practice.  My intention is to make it purposeful, engaging and non-negotiable.

Dr. Kanold referenced Steve Leinwand’s idea of independent practice as brief,  8-10 problems with 3-5 of  most current, a couple from a previous lesson and finish the set with a spiraling from less current topics / skills.  I attempted this for about 9 weeks in my other classes and then I got “busy” and gave it up-falling back to my “old ways”.  Again, I shall revisit, reflect, refine and re-instate.

I give myself a A-/B+ on the lagging homework, B on giving assignments ahead of time, but need to be more intentional in not allowing students to opt out – I failed that aspect.

I also had 3 other classes not using the Springboard Curriculum that I did a poor job with independent practice outside of class.  I lowered my expectations and failed them miserably here.

So overall a C-.  Some aspects in place but much room for growth.

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Self-Care, #5Habits & #HEART! #blogitbingo #MTBoS

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My past few weeks have been spent reading and chatting 5 Habits with a close friend.

Just last week, after a two day training with Dr. Kanold and a tweet from Casey, I decided to download HEART! for some reading with travel time on the road.

And this morning, I tried to get a walk in before the rains from storm Cindy set in while listening to Cult of Pedagogy.

Two things from the podcast…

If you want to know what your future life will be like, take a look at your life today. 

 I took this as, if my life right now doesn’t look how I want to see myself in the future, well, there are some choices I need to make.

This went right along with a quote Nicki Koziarz shared in 5 Habits: 

What you want most over what you want now.

And the beginning of our training with Dr. Kanold was about naming our vision and using it as the guide in our decisions.

Many will say, yes, Pam, this is common sense. Maybe. But apparently it’s a message I needed to hear at least 3 times before I actually heard it.  

The other thing that was shared in the podcast:

I dont like to think of myself as busy, but fruitful, productive, accomplished.

I would like to see myself as more efficient, intentional with my time.  

Anyway, just a quick reflection for myself of how 3 different resources are overlapping for me today.

Looking forward to this free webinar from Angela Watson, Teachers You are a Priority too! on June 28.

HEART! has been both convicting and motivating.  I have completed 80% of the book, finished Risk last night and beginning Thought today.  I am very excited to see how I will use what I’ve learned to have an impact on student learning in my school.  

I am sending myself a text for mid-September for accountabity.  Hopefully I will have a positive blog post for follow up.

What reading / resources / training have overlapped for you recently?

Newly-Ed #blogitbingo #coherentvision

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Old. New. Borrowed. Blue.  Commitment.

The past 2 days have filled my brain to overflowing.  I left GRREC both days feeling… alive.  Overwhelmed.  But alive.  That sounds weird, I know.   But I was not surprised, just saddened, with the a statistic shared from Gallup:

Only 31% of our teachers are fully engaged in our schools.

The people who are supposed to be engaging young minds are not engaged themselves.  And I was one of them.

I’m not sure what happened, how I ended up in that place, when it happened.  I”m not even sure I knew I felt that way until yesterday.  My realization began with this question posed on the opening slide of our 2-day venture.

Are Your Best Days Behind You or Ahead of  You?  Chicago Tribune 2002

I left yesterday with a smile on my face, excited to call home and share some of what I learned with someone!  And when I looked so forward to returning to our session “Leading and Sustaining a Coherent Vision for Mathematics Teaching and Learning” – I knew this was a turning point for me.

Defining our vision.

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Is our vision coherent?  What we hope to become…but we must be patient because it may take a while to get there.  These are the non-negotiables, our professional duty.  Are we compelled by our vision?

Do we mean it or not?  Do our actions / ways honor it?  Does our instruction / behaviors advance our vision?  We agree to the vision, do we hold each other accountable?

I was reminded of a reflection our department did several years ago, what we wish to see in a dream math student and what actions can we take to support students to reach our dream student?  Here was our poster from 2014…

dept vision dream math student

Like so many other things, I’m not sure we ever had follow-through with this task.  But I wonder how differently our reflection would look if we repeated it today?

Here are a couple of examples of other groups’ work on Monday… They used the acronym DRIVE and SOAR.  Other groups used CARDS (school mascot) and MATH.  He shared one with Math Teachers lend an EAR:  Equity, Assessment and Reflection.

My big takeaway – that we arrive at consensus, an image / tag that we can quickly share / refer to with parents / students / other stakeholders.  Then we make every decision – based on our shared, defined vision.

Within the discussion, Dr. Kanold defined consensus as – everyone’s voice is heard but the will of the group prevails.  If I’m honest, I cringed.  Am I willing to let go of new things I want to try and do?  What if an idea is outnumbered?  What if I never get to try anything new?  So I presented a question on our parking lot.

His response today – we are constantly in action research in education.  Part of the team can try a new idea.  But our agreed upon vision becomes the authority.  IF we want to try something new, we must ask IF it advances our vision?  Does it exceed our opinion?  Why?  Provide evidence / research.  Try it.  Compare.  If it works better for student learning, everyone agrees to use it.  If not, then stick with old way.   In the end, I (we) have to sacrifice my opinion(s) in an effort to advance student learning.

Over the next several days, I plan to revisit my notes and share a summary to reflect / process / plan considering these big ideas from the past couple of days:

  • Instruction / Planning Whole group vs Small group discourse
  • Check for Understanding vs. Formative Assessment
  • Common Assessments & Tools to evaluate quality
  • Homework
  • 4 Critical Questions of a Collaborative Team Culture
  • My Intentions for the upcoming year…

On a 1-5-10 scale of Stinky, Good, Great – I will give our #coherentvision days a 10!

 

Do you have a successful PLC?  Please share some things that made it work for your team!