# Lagging Homework #MTBoSBlaugust Post 22

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So many ideas from Make It Stick and reading @henripiccotio and thoughts from @steve_leinwand regarding homework.

Here’s my first attempt.

Week 1 in class, I began with a look at Sol Lewitt to develop student questions, spent time with students doing Number Patterns, Open Questions like the Four 4s, Barfing Monsters to develop a sense of sharing ideas, tell me what you see, notice, wonder.  I attempted to build a space that allowed them to share their own thinking.

Yesterday, I passed out a booklet with 4 problem sets for the entire week, here are a couple of them.

Needless to say, a work in progress.  Each set contains 2 problems similar to our current in class work, 4 problems similar to last week’s work and 2 open ended questions (yes, they are a bit lacking, more reflection than open questions).

Today, I took some time before class to discuss self-monitoring on their practice.  This is the system we will attempt to use.  At the top of the sheet are #s 1-8.  When they complete a problem, they circle it.  If missed but a mistake, 1 slash.  If an issue, the draw railroad crossing, which requires us to pause and look both ways…proceeding with caution.  If correct, solid circle.

We discussed differences between a mistake (something they can correct on their own, they know how to do it) and misconceptions  (where I step in if there’s a gap in their understanding).

The idea is to have a system I can flip through quickly and only pause at questions with “issues” without having to check all 32 problems.  I have no idea how this will go.  I explained my reasoning to students with the understanding we can adjust as we go along.

Today I placed answers on overhead.  Asked students to put pencils down, check with colored ink, marking the correct answers in margins for later reference.  As I walked around to spot check, it was a quick way to see common issues and address immediately with entire class.

I plan to give it a few weeks, reflect and adjust if needed.

I’m hoping I can be brave enough to stick this plan through. In class engage, explore, explain.  Next week elaborate/enhance with focused practice.  Following week evaluate/extend.

I’ll let you know how it goes.

# Posting Learning Targets yay or nay

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Thanks to @JustinAion,  I got thinking…

It depends… on my class and the students and the activity…to determine if I actually post it.

However, when I do, I refer to it at the beginning, throughout the task – to remind students of the end goal, and again as a wrap up – whether reflection, exit ticket of discussion/summary to end class.  And I like to refer to it the following day as we begin the next lesson, just as a quick review.

I, personally, would prefer to have an overarching Essential Question for each lesson to use rather than a specifically stated target.  However, I sometimes struggle a lot with Writing EQs, would love a colleague to collaborate on these.

Here’s a section of the unit organizers I’ve used this past year (thanks @lisabej_manitou).

And a link to this file.
Unit Organizer
Functions Overview

I give them to students toward beginning of unit, we complete the words worth knowing for vocabulary (thanks @mathequalslove). Then read through actual targets.  When quizzes are given back or practice problems checked, students have a place to reflect/record thwir level of learning as well.  Because students have this in their INBs, I can quickly refer to them if not posted on the board on any given day.

# Agree / Disagree Post-its

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Students submitted an answer to an assigned question on a post-it note.

Post-its were placed around the room. Each person visited each answer comparing to their own.  If they agreed, there was a tally mark added to A, if not, to D.  A quick self-assessment, without me reading off every answer.

It eliminated having to discuss questions everyone got correct.  We could spend time on “issues” like #4.

# Personal Reflection 3-2-1 #MTBoSchallenge

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Our school district will begin using a new Certified Evaluation Plan this year.  The CEP has 2 major components: Professional Practice and Student Growth.  As part of the Professional Practices, each teacher is asked to consider various pieces of evidence and complete a self reflection which eventually leads to their individual Professional Growth Plan.

I will be completing my self reflection this upcoming week, which has had me wondering this weekend, what are my goals for this school year?

3 things I want to learn, incorporate, practice:
I have read about Flipped Classrooms since before I began blogging.  Watched a couple webinars, read several blog posts, articles.  Its always been of interest, but I just didn’t have take the time.  I have recently begun my first Flipped Unit in my Algebra 2s.  It nothing major, I have linked to videos readily available on You Tube, but have quickly learned if students are accessing on their school accounts, YouTube is blocked.  So I am now looking for possible places to host my own videos (eventually, I want to use my own).

My interpretation is either introduction or skills needed for problem solving which in turn allows students time in class for real application of math.  Following each video, I include 3-5 questions of the big ideas/takeaways for student self-assessment of the video.  When I begin creating my own, I intend to keep them around the 4 minute range, continue including self-assess questions.  For student who dont have access, they can come to my classroom prior to school/class and complete, but they are not allowed to participate in the days activities until they’ve completed the video or shown understanding to me.

Lesson Study – I have read some posts, been involved in a few informal twitter chats, even discussed the process with colleagues at TMC14.  I have located some resources through our PD360 I intend to utilize, but now, I have to find a friend and convince them its worthwhile to journey with me.

Talking Points -I want to ensure that every student feels like they can share their ideas and be heard.  Talking Points is the key for me developing this culture of learning.  I look forward to learning more, sharing with my students and implementing this as a classroom norm.  Here is a place to start.  Severval MtBoS have implemented them as the school year began.  I will share my experiences soon!

2 things I want to continue improving:
Literacy in Math Class- Whether reading, interpretting/deciphering informational text, writing, reflecting on their learning, verbally communicating or strategies to help studentsconnect vocabulary to prior knowledge…communication is a key skill they can use elsewhere.  Last spring, I participated in a webinar based on the book Vocabulary Their Way.  I sincerely feel providing students with similar tools will enhance their learning across all discilpines.  I plan to use some of the structures I’ve learned from Kagan resources and develop some of my own activities for student interaction with peers.

Standards Based Grading – about 5 years ago, I became very interested in aspects of Standards Based Grading.  It just made sense.  I had read, researched, even implemented some successful approaches.  I have heard through the grapevine, theres a possile push for our district to move this direction.  Even though it has not come from an official administrator, I’ve heard teacher conversations outside of vertical meetings that sounds like it may be on it’s way.  I am uber excited.  I have been looking for some good quality resources to share, should the time arise.  @mpershan shared a link this morning for a couple of good resources.  Scroll down to Garry Chu SBG.  Although, I think the Jeff Harding’s video following it gives a fun analogy to show how ridiculous some of our grading practices are-supporting Why we should consider SBG, then Mr. Chu shares some great ideas on How to implement.  I look forward to getting to move on this journey again (finally).

1 thing that’s Imperative in My Planning…
Standards of Mathematical Practices Yes, I am very familiar with them, yet I have not been so intentional in my planning and inclusion of them.  I had a major a-ha last year that I had missed the boat when first becoming familiar with CCSS.  The SMP should have been the anchoring foundation prior to transitioning to CCSS.  As I plan this year, I will be intentional and very explicit in providing students opportunities to use them.  But also in asking students to reflect on their uses of them.  I look forward to reading NCTM’s Principles to Actions, hoping it will guide me in this goal.  Another resource I plan to revisit is Making Thinking Visible.  I read it a couple of years ago, but feel it provides quality routines to enhance student learning that support the SMP.

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For years, I have tried to share a related article as appropriate with my classes.  Often times it was a news article related to a data collection lab.  However, I feel more impact for reading in math class is from informational reading with graphs/data related pieces.

One day each week, I plan to use a “Laker Literacy” article (named penned by data team in school wide iniative last spring) or  Stat Rat (Graph or Data related piece).

I asked students to number the paragraphs 1-6.  After time to read, they were instructed NOT to answer the questions on the back, but rather as they read each question, make a note of which paragraph from the article could be used in helping them respond to that question.

We will be using the article and questions next class.

# Card Tossing & Spiraling Curriculum #tmc14

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Awesome session Mary and Alex!  Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

The session focused on their experiences with Grade 10 Applied students ( Canada).  The entire course is activity based which allows students to not miss out on big ideas as they would in a traditional unit by unit aligned course.
Students have repeated opportunities to experience big ideas. The tasks are rich  with multiple entry points and different approaches to solving.  It’s a collaborative environment with accountable talk.  There are fewer disciplinary issues with increased engagement.

Each 6 weeks a mini – exam over entire course up to that point takes place.  Questions are in context and tied to activities they have completed.

We began with beads and pennies on our desks and this task… Cole has 2 smarties and 3 juju bed for \$.18 while Noah has 4 smarties and 2 juju be for \$.20.  They shared that systems are presented this way – no algebraic forms- for the first several weeks of class.  I, personally, can see how effective this strategy could be.

The next activity shared was Sum of Squares (he doesn’t refer to it as Pythagoras Theorem, yet – or did he say ever?)

Students are asked to cut all squares from side length 1 to side length 26.  Each square is labeled with side length, perimeter, area.  Then they build with them.

Basically students explore and eventually they focus on triangles formed with question, are there 3 you cannot make a triangle with?   Which combinations form different types of triangles. Begin looking at 3-4-5 triangle families, similar triangles (Kate suggested dilations here), discuss opposite side and adjacent sides, then give them a TRIG table and allow them to figure it out.

Compare side lengths with perimeter, or side length with areas.  The possibilities of math concepts are endless.
We ended the day with Card Tossing by collecting data, then using rates to make some predictions.

Video of Alex & Nathan picture below is only a screenshot.

@AlexOverwijk downed by @nathankraft 75 to 72

Each person in the room completed several trials of tossing our cards for 20 seconds.  We found our average rate of success, then determined who we thought might beat King Card Tosser.

Alex asked us to predict how long they needed to toss if he gave Nathan a 35 (?) card advantage so it would be super close and exciting.  Our prediction 38 seconds about 75 cards. Many ways of making the predictions were possible. Not to shabby, huh?

This task was fun, exciting, engaging.  Definitely on the to-do list.

This approach is definitely something I would like to consider, if administration will allow it!

# Math and Kentucky Program Reviews (Art, Writing, PLCS)

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In Kentucky, we have Program Reviews for Arts/Humanities,  Writing a nd Practical Living / Career Studies (PLCS).  My interpretation… the idea is to ensure all teachers across disciplines are integrating concepts, strategies into their classrooms on a regular basis in efforts to make connections with student interests and enhance their learning experiences.

I have used many routines from Making Thinking Visible over the past two years to improve writing-to-learn and writing-to-demonstrate learning opportunities for students.  I feel they will tell you our reflection and analysis of work through writing and discussion makes their learning stick more.

As I plan to revisit these routines with @druinok and some other stats peeps, I was exploring this and ran across Artful Thinking.

Definitely check out the Thinking Routines and Curriculum Connections links for some insightful resources that can help other content areas find purposeful, quality connections to art for their courses.

Finally, a tweet from @approx_normal the other morning provided these awesome classroom tasks focusing on Career Technical Education.

Hope this provides some helpful information for teachers looking to make connections in the areas of Arts, PLCS and useful thinking routines to help with Writing implementation.

# Time Capsule Teaching #tbtblog #julychallenge Post 13

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If I created a timecapsule of my teaching strategies…what would I think when I opened it?

I read the post, Time-Capsule Teaching and within a few moments I thought…what was I blogging about 3 years ago?  I searched back and thought I hadn’t actually started yet, but there it was…

July 17, 2011

I was new to the blogosphere.
This was my 2nd post.
TMC did not exist yet.

After much reading and discussion with close colleagues and many hours of processing what I had read, I knew SBG would be more effective in communicating student learning.  My grades prior to this had been filled with fluff, things unrelated to actual student learning…the reason some students had good grades but were not achieving at the same level.  Initially, that’s why I started blogging was to record my journey through sbg.

2 Years ago

It was the 3rd week of #made4math.
These lovely pencils for my classroom.

I did this again last school year. 15 pencils almost lasted until Christmas break.  All in all, I put out fewer than 36 pencils for the entire year.  My daughter helps decorate-cheap flowers, pipe cleaners, feathers-whatever she finds in the craftbox to make them obnoxious.  Students no longer ask me, they just borrow.  It is easier than me taking time out of whatever task I am on to hunt them a pencil. I have a mini clipboard, students signed their name and crossed it off when they returned.  Obviously, some were not returned but that’s about 1 pencil per week.  Its worth it to me, fewer interuptions, I don’t get frustrated if the same ones are borrowing a pencil everyday. 🙂

The same post I shared this handy paperclip box that I just filled with paper clips before APSI last month!

1 year ago
July 23, 2013
A Reflection Tool for PLCs from @TJterryjo “I have a dream…”

Basically her PLC was asked what characteristics a dream math student would have (in green).  Then, as teachers, what they could do to create that dream (in blue).  At each PLC, they “dotified” what they had seen in students and themselves to see if they were moving toward that dream.

This is something I wanted to do but let it go.  This is on my to-to list for our first departmental PLC this school year!

Join in!
Pick a year. Any year.  Read a post and reflect…
Not been blogging that long? Pick a favorite blogger and read one of their posts from 3 years ago…
Throw-back Thursday Blog #tbtblog

# Get to Know Your Students pt 2 #julychallenge Post 12

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Get to know your students, especially how they learn and think.

Taking my lead from this post, my intent is to consider how I can improve or implement the 14 ways discussed.  In my last post, I shared how important I feel it is to know our students as real people.  This one is to share #5things that impacted my classroom and helped me know how my students learn and think.

My 3 years with Kentucky Leadership Network and my experiences with #MTBoS have changed my mindset.  The work with KLN introduced me to a new set ideas and #MTBoS allowed me to explore with others and develop a new frame of reference as I seek to grow as an effective educator.

I cannot be grateful enough to all those who have challenged me and help me grow.  But as I think of the experiences that have opened my eyes to see better ways I can consider my students as learners, these are the ones that first come to my mind.  #5things for getting to know how my students think and learn…

Wait Time II
I learned about this routine from 75 Practical Strategies for Linking Assessment, Instruction and Learning (Keely, Tobey 2011).  A simple adjustment.  Yet it forced me to really listen to my students.  You can read more on a previous post, here.  Basically, it allows  the students AND teacher to process a student response.  We were all told in undergrad to wait 3 seconds after asking a question before calling on a student.  Some people actually think this deters the class flow.  I disagree. The idea with Wait Time II is to wait again, after the student response.  It allows the responder to consider what they said, the classmates to process what was said and the teacher to consider next steps, questions, etc.  A bit uncomfortable in the beginning, but once I explained the rationale to them, they got it, as did I.  Waiting and listening adds value to what students are saying.

What Makes You Say That?
Making Thinking Visible, (Ritchhart, Church, Morrison, 2011)
A chat with Liz Durkin challenged me to consider ways I could implement these routines into my high school math classroom.  It was the question “What makes you say that?”  that helped me begin drawing out student thinking.  What were they seeing? What evidence supported their statement?  With this routine, I began learning new ways of seeing problems myself.  Students’ ideas, strategies and approaches are way more intuitive than my own.

Notice and Wonder
I was first introduced to Notice & Wonder with Max Ray’s Ignite talk sharing The Math Forum’s simple, yet impactful strategy.  You can read more in Powerful Problem Solving (2013) as well.  When I pose a problem, scenario, graph, students may not readily know where to start.  But they can tell me what they notice.  Its a starting point.  Everyone can share something.  When we listen to what others are saying, that ignites other ideas as well.  And they begin sharing their “I wonders” which are great transitions to explore more.  Its great.  Its simple.

This routine carries over to standardized tests as well.  Students shared how they didn’t know how to approach certain problems on ACT or their EOCs, but they looked at it, thought about what they noticed, connected it to something they knew and was able to at least make an educated guess.

Friendly Class Starters
After reading What’s Math Got to Do with It? and completing the Jo Boaler How to Learn Math course last summer, I knew I needed to find ways to invite students to think differently about math in my classroom.  Some major a-ha’s and sad realizations as to why so many kids are down on math.  I began with things like Number Talks she presnted during one session.  Amazing how many different ways students can see / approach a single problem.  When I invited them to share their thinking, they owned the math.  This past year, I implemented Counting Circles, Estimation 180, Visual Patterns as well.  These resources were primarily used as bell ringers to get students in math mode. However, there were days it lead to deeper, richer discussions and I was flexible enough to go with it.  My students’ confidence began to grow.  Their number sense was developing.  They were sharing their reasoning without me asking them to.  I saw some big gains on benchmarking and standardized testing for several students and I attribute them to these “friendly” and accessible resources.

Small Groups and Discussions
When I completed my initial National Board Certification in 2002, I quickly realized small group discussions provided a definite means to seeing student thinking.  It was a chat last summer, that made me realize I needed to quit butting-in.  I would hear a misconception and jump to add my 2 cents rather than allowing them to reason out if they were correct or needed to adjust.  I was stealing their learning opportunities! Yikes.  I began listening more-offering questions rather than telling them the direction they should go.  It was frustrsting for some students.  They despised me answering their questions with questions.

5 Practices for Orchestrating Productive Mathematics Discussions (Smith & Stein, 2011) is a quick read that offers samples to incorporate into your classroom. The 5 practice provide structure to help you develop discussion based tasks rather than step-by-step inquiry lessons.

Another valuable resource for me are the Formative Assessment Lessons provided by Mathematics Assessment Project.  Most lessons follow a similar format to the #5pracs.  I used to struggle offering questions that would move learners forward.  Though some disagree with scripted lessons, this resource supported me with sample questions for specific student misconceptions.  As a rssult, I began asking better questions on my own.

Another aspect of the FALs is the way they suggest grouping students, not by ability, but similar thinking – whether it be similar misconceptions or approaches to a problem.  This supports what I have been reading this summer with Ilana Horn’s Strength in Numbers (2012).  She presents how social status in the classroom may actually hinder student learning and achievment.  I believe grouping students homogenously by approach and thinking puts them on equal playing fields to share and build their ideas.

By observing student responses and listening to their discussion, I am able to select and sequence ideas for them to share that will allow more engagement from the class as a whole.  Students are able to listen and view strategies similar to their own, but also consider new approaches which in turn builds their own skill set and toolbox for thinking.

The common thread is to not to do all of the talking, but to sincerely listen to my students and their thinking.

# 5 Things I Can’t Live without in My Classroom #julychallenge

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Thanks to @druinok for making me ponder what 5 things I cannot live without in my classroom.  All have simplified or improved myclassroom in some way…

Shoe Organizer – I use mine to store calculators and clickers.  I didn’t have a picture from my current room, this is from my old classroom.  I actually have 2 of them-numbered to correspond to calculator labels.  They are clear, which allows me to stand at my door and quickly scan to determine all have been returned before dismissing students.  I have seen teachers storing measureing tools, tape, gluesticks, markers, index cards, even rulers. Possibilities are endless.

Filetastic – from Mardel’s – hanging file organizer. Great to store extra copies, etc. A great purpose of unused wall space.  They are lifesavers for anyonr in a small room space.  Keep an eye out, sometimes you can catch them on sale!

The BEST Pencil Sharpener EvvvvveerrRrrrr!  Check them out at Classroom Friendly Supplies.  Here is my post and review-after 2 years, I love it even more! My students return to my classroom to use it.  It is amazing.  If you are an administrator, buy them for your teachers!  If you are a teacher, invest in one!!  If you are a parent, give one as a back to school gift for your student’s teacher…they will love you forever!  They added a couple of new colors as well.

Stickers – Whether its to add some whimsy or a high five to student work or plain dot stickers to carousel and respond to Always, Sometimes, Never statements…I like stickers. And so do the students.  I use them to color code groups, assign specific tasks.  And just this week, created pinch cards for RYG self-assessment.

Sticky-Notes: I have no clue how many I go through a year.  Last year I stocked up when Mighty \$ had a package of 600 for \$1.  Yep, I thought it was a deal, too!  Whether its a stoplight quiz, exit ticket, flip for answers quiz, 2-minute student reflection…we do something with sticky notes at least twice a week.

Coming soon #5things I do with Sticky Notes in My Classroom!