Category Archives: teacher reflection

Time. 8 Minutes…

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I’ve been pondering since Spring Break – why am I just now feeling really connected to my students?  Its bizarre-ishly late in the school year.  When I used to teach on 6-period day, It was early in December/January before I really felt my students trusted me – would take those learning risks I tried to encourage.  So why was it mid-March this year?

We had a debate in our school over scheduling earlier this semester, we have been on a 7-period schedule this year.  One teacher remarked the difference between a 6 and 7 period day was only 8 minutes per class and that we couldn’t gain much with 8 minutes.  But  I feel like my room is a revolving door, kids come in, kids leave, another group comes in, then leaves, etc.  My closing activities have dwindled to a little of nothing.  I am not effectively wrapping up the lessons.

So, I looked at the numbers – 8 minutes a class, 5 days a week, 34 weeks = 1,360 minutes divided by 55 minute class period is 24.7 class periods.  That’s nearly 5 weeks of instructional time.  Whew. No wonder I am so far behind in my units.  We also had 8 non-traditional instructional days – though students were not in the classroom, there were learning tasks completed.  But again, that’s 8 more instructional periods.  So I have missed between 6 and 7 weeks of instructional time with my students.

Wow.  Now, I see why it was mid-March rather than December / January to feel connected and trusted by my students.  I’m just now really able to see their thinking, predict their approach to a problem, getting them to step out on a limb and try – even if they aren’t sure.  Its only been recent weeks that some have gained the courage to ask the questions in their heads…without fear of judgement from classmates.

Sidebar thought – This is not a complaining session, but a reflection on the year so far… I’m not advocating for a 6 period, but grades 10-12 in our building had a modified-block schedule that was the best of both worlds.  Two yearlong periods, with 3 semester blocks. Ninth grade had its own wing and had 5 periods with a single semester block at the end of the day.  The debate was to go to a school wide modified – say 4 year long periods (minis) and 2 semester blocks for lab/hands-on learning/CTE/electives while still having an opportunity for year-long courses for core classes.  However, it was stated our faculty would be perceived as was not wanting to dig-in and do the hard work required on the 7 period.  I respectfully disagreed with this statement, no one in our faculty was trying to get out of work – only trying to find a solution that would support better opportunities for our learners.

How might I adjust for next school year?  What are things I can actively change in my classroom and approach that will allow me to make quicker connections with my learners?  And so now, I begin to think about summer reading, professional growth opportunities…

Reflecting on the Year #junechallenge 3

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As I begin to read through responses to class/teacher evaluation for Algebra 2, most are encouraging.

So much of distress I felt this year was due to outside circumstances – as much as it was within my reach, I tried to keep my classroom going.  But it was difficult and draining at times.

How can I continue to offer a classroom that’s inviting, open-to ideas and encourages students to work through challenging tasks?

1.  There must be a relationship established – I feel it takes several weeks, even months to establish this.  Students must trust that you are there for them.  You must reassure them they matter.  Your actions must confirm your words.

I think of a couple of students in particular this year who pushed back – often in the beginning of the year.  I continually had to remind them they were valued and help them see they were learning.  One in particular lashed out during class and refused to participate in a task they felt was not helpful.  The other refused to work in a group of students because that wasn’t “how she learned math.”

In the end, they both experienced success.  Maybe not at the level the state deems readiness, but such big strides moving their thinking forward and growing their confidence.  Each will experience success in life because they are hard workers and they have seen that failing at a difficult task does not define them as a person, but their response to that failure is what builds them.  It was rewarding to watch them pick up, look for ways to improve and after some more effort, smile at the final result, realizing how far they had traveled as a learner.

Taking time to listen to my learners and their ideas – allow them to know I value their thinking.  I need to consider this while building learning tasks and make sure to allow for time to do this.

2.  There must be variety – routines are important but continuing the exact routines all year long becomes mundane and boring.  For example, I like students having a task to begin class – but I also know that changing some of these up every few weeks keeps their interest peaked a bit.  I’m not sure I will have every single thing listed here, but some of my favorites:

Estimation 180, Counting Circles, Visual Patterns, Would You Rather?, Krypto, Math Dice, Flashbacks, Time-Distance Graphs, StatRat from USAtoday.

We were supposed to implement Leader in Me this past year.  Again, one of those things that could have a huge impact, yet, if no follow through, it sizzles out.  Which makes me sad.  One quarter, I used Make a Difference Monday.  I copied articles from What Do You Stand for? (Barbara Lewis) – students read, then on a post-it would respond briefly to a prompt I had on the board pertaining to the article, but relating back to their life / choices.

Test-Prep Tuesday was essentially flashbacks to pre-algebra and geometric concepts – intended to help students study for upcoming ACT.

Fast-Five Friday was a flashback of big ideas from the previous week.

Some ideas I want to add for next year:

Graphical Data is presented, but students create the questions.  Understanding data displays is so important – so I hope to build a file of examples to use here.  Now I need a cool, catchy name for this structure.

Function Junction – using the NAGS format, I will give students one of the models, they must fill-in / create the other 3.  Possibly even use a railroad/train format in graphics that connect each model: Numerical/table of values, Algebraic / Equation, Graphical, Sentence / Context description.

Literacy and Vocabulary strategies are important to me.  I feel several of my students struggle with reading and comprehension, so I am hoping to build a structure to help them link new terms to prior knowledge.

3.  Communication with home is vital, yet I continue to fail at doing a good job.  I start with good intentions.  Do parents even know who I am?  Do they know my views on education?  Do they feel I am approachable?  Again, it will be a goal to make positive strides to utilize home as a resource and support.

Painting a Bridge

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In my Algebra I, we are looking at parent functions. Students said this week was quite easy, they felt they were doing 3rd grade work.  But I assured them
recognizing the parent equation and making connections to the parent graphs may seem easy, but it’s a lead-in to more intense math!

We’ve done several data collections throughout the semester, mostly linear, a few quadratic and exponential.   But today we took a look at rational with Painting the Bridge, which is embedded in a MARS lesson. 

Students are asked to sketch the relationship x:# workers and y: # hours each works to complete the given job.

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Those are a good overview of what we saw.  I allowed students to ask questions about things they wondered about others’ graphs.  At first glance, a couple of the graphs may look odd, but given the chance to share thwir thimking, student reasoning made perfect sense in the real world.

Though I didn’t have an actual student create this graph, I included it on the board.

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I followed the suggested questioning in the MARS lesson, which led most students to some A-ha moments.  What does point Q mean? Points S? Does it make more sense for the graph be solid or dotted? Why?

As a data collection to follow up this discussion, we picked up erasers. One student held a cup in their dominant hand and picked up one eraser at a time and placed it in the cup, we timed.  Then another student helped.  Continued adding workers and it eventually became too crowded, they were dropping erasers and slowed them down.

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We compared the shape of our scatter plot and decided maybe exponential or quadrant 1 of a rational (inverse) function.

The calculator power regression resulted in
y =76x^-1.  Which gave us a chance to discuss that -1 exponent.  How it meant the inverse of multiplying by x, which was to divide by x.  So we graphed y=76/x. Nice. They were seeing the connection to our Painting the bridge discussion. 

Oh wait, how many erasers were we picking up? 78. Not bad, huh?

My goal is to give them a concrete data collection for which they can access and connect back to the math.

To end the day, they asked if they could draw a graph on the board and everyone guess the parent function name.  Sure.   They were on task and engaged so I was fine with it.
They began graphing the endpoints of their graphs,  so their classmates were finishing the graph and naming the function. It was humorous. But again, they were engaged.

I love these kids.  They were my favorites today.  It’s been a tough semester at times, but I want to end these last weeks strong. I want them to leave our classroom having grown in confidence and changed their attitude toward math.  That’s my goal. 

Modeling Systems

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Sort of a rambling post. But trying to make some sense of my thinking…

I always appreciate posts from @emergentmath.  This particular post made me pause, I had just completed the MARS task, Boomerangs, he references.  We are in the midst of our systems unit.

I used Mary & Alex ‘ s suggestions with beginning systems without the algebra.  Conversations were great, students’ strength in reasoning was evident.

I plan to use Geoff’s suggestion for a matching/sorting activity this werk for students to see the benefits of each type of tool to solve systems.

But where I struggle is with this standard:

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I am experiencing some pushback from a handful of students who are able to reason and solve a system without actually modeling it algebraically.

Their reasoning is correct.  They verify their solutions and interpret them correctly.  They can sketch a graph yet “refuse” to model as a system of equations.  I struggle because “their math” is right on.  I realize places where algebraic models can help but I honestly can’t tell them my way is better…yet the standard says…

It feels almost like I am punishing them if I make them model it algebraically.

Then I have others who are not sure where to start.  The equations model provides them a tool, yet they will not embrace it.

How do others handle this situation in your classrooms?

I use graphical, alongside a numerical table of values, with solving/verifying with the equations, letting them see their own connections eventually.

My biggest goal for systems is to provide enough modeling for students to actually “see a context” to connect/make sense of a naked system of equations.

This is where I believe skill/drill has ruined the power and beauty of math.  Finding an intersection point but what in the world does in mean?  It’s a point on a graph. Whoopee.  Why isn’t it all taught in context as a model?

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? 

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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.

My Experience with Counting Circles #julychallenge Post 14

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Still addressing 14 ways of thinking about good teaching from this post

2.  Plan goals for both the long term and the short term.

My number 1 goal is to help students grow – personally and academically.  My wish is that they leave my classroom believing in themselves, more self-confident than when they entered. 

Ideally, I do want every student to reach proficiency, but I am also a realist.  When students come to me with *ACT-PLAN scores in the 10-14 range, proficiency is not an immediate goal…growth is, pure and simple.  My class becomes the stepping stone to reach proficiency.  Students in this range generally have major gaps in number reasoning.  They are just now beginning to develop understanding and knowledge of assessed skills.

Last year, I wanted to use accessible tasks to begin each day…Counting Circles, Number Talks (pg 4 of link) and my post, Estimation180, and Visual Patterns were staples in my Algebra 2 classes.  Students in these classes ranging from ACTPLAN scores from 10 to 23-wide range of abilities and varied confidence levels.  These tasks were approachable for all students and I feel helped in developing number sense which allowed several students to make significant gains on thier ACT.

Counting Circles (Thanks to Sadie!) was very popular in both classes.  We literally got out of our desks to create a “circle” around the room. Yes, it seemed trivial at first, but I was able to see student confidence grow as they strengthened numeracy skills.

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My Routine
We have a starting number and a number to count by.  In the beginning, I choose nice numbers, then some that required a little more thought.  Eventually, I allow students choose our counting number and starting point.  I would have expected them to take the easy route.  Not at all.  They like to challenge themselves.  We also countdown.  I like to write their responses on the board for them to visually see the patterns.  When a student makes a mistake, I try to not point it out, but rather, allow students to have opportunity to voice their concerns with a response, respectfully, of course.

After going so far around the circle, I stop and ask, What will _______ (a little further around the circle) say next? 

We usually get a couple of responses, so I allow them to explain their process then, as a class, they determine which one makes more sense.

Also, I like to ask…who will say ______ ?

Side note: Later in a functions unit, while looking at finite differences, a student explained, this is similar to what we were doing with Counting Circle the other day!

Our First Counting Circle – Count by 10
I began with couting by 10 on decade numbers, by -10 on decade numbers, then on numbers like 11 or 14, counting by 10 in both directions.  It was a great way to model the routine.  Students are comfortable with it.

Next week, we counted by 2s, up and down, starting on positive and then a negative.

Several students are all in – they’ve got this!

Then by 5s.  On 15, 70, -85 then numbers not ending in 0 or 5…. 37, 128, -89. Both up and down.

I began using single digit integers then a few double digits.

Next week we worked with decimals +3.7,  starting with an integer, then moving to devimals 11.2.  One student this particular day was quickly running through their numbers.  When I asked their strategy, they responded….its easy, add 4 then count .1 back 3 times.

We also use fraction expressions as well.

I already know my stronger numeracy students-those with “high status” in class (Ilana Horn).  So do their classmates.  What I love about counting circles is choosing different students to explain.  Struggling students pick up on numeracy techniques as explained by their peers.  They are able to see those high-status students’ thinking and realize, “I can do that too.”  Its a win-win.

Yes, at high school age, I have students who don’t want to participate, but with a bit of coaxing, they come around. It becomes a game.  Classmates encourage those who struggle.  We don’t laugh or make fun.  They celebrate when ‘that’ student experiences success.  Most of all, they smile.

Generally, it takes anywhere from 5-15 minutes depending on number choices, discussions, size of class, experience with the routine.

Suggestions:  pre-cal count around unit circle, elementary use money as a context, what others can you share?

Long term goals and planning changes with each group of students.  Having access to learning routines like these allow me to tailor toward each groups’ needs.

*In Kentucky, every student takes the PLAN during sophomore year and ACT during their junior year as part of our state accountability model.  To measure student growth from state data, students are grouped by their PLAN scores, then compared to others in this scoring band.  Once the ACT scores are available, they are given a percentile rank from within that initial grouping.  I, the teacher, can view this and whether they had high growth, expected growth or below expected growth.  The state assigns me an overall rating and this will eventually become 20% of our Certified Evaluation plan.  The other 80% is determined locally and by student growth and proficiency goals I personally set for my students early in the school year.

Time Capsule Teaching #tbtblog #julychallenge Post 13

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This tweet made me wonder….

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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.
I was learning about standards based grading.

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
July 16, 2012 #made4math Monday

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

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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!

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

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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.

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

Get to Know Your Students pt 1 #julychallenge Post 11

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As I read this piece, 14 Ways to Think About Good Teaching, I thought…I want to do it all!  But that’s a lot.  Wait a second, I do some of these things.  So, here goes…

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

Its my belief this is a vital part missing from many classrooms.  There are 2 important factors here-to know your students as people and as students.

Have a real conversation with them.
So many times I have had conversations with students who feel disconnected at school.  There is a very cost efficient  solution.  Its free.  Take time to talk with them.  Have a conversation about something outside of school.  What do they enjoy?  What’s their favorite food?  What are they interested in?  What are they most passionate about? And if they are not sure, well, help them realize it.  Listen intently.  Ask questions.

Encourage them.
I like sharing life lessons in class.  There are moments when they need a brain break from math.  A perfect opportunity to share some insight.  Of course some may think my advice for life is corny, but years later, its those things that stick with them.  The hand…was shared at a conference, I think an ACT Bootcamp, Jennifer McDaniel, but she used this in her class in helping to develop a different mindset in her students.

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Thumb- Efficacy – This was a new term for some students.  So we discuss other words its similar to, what they mean, hopefully making a connection for them.  In the end, they must believe in themselves.  If I convey my belief in them, this strengthens their I can do this! attitude.  Thumbs up!!!  You’ve got this!!!

Pointer-Consciousness – Be aware of our actions. We need to pause and consider the outcome…is it what we intended?  But also, if we are truly learning, its not supposed to be easy.  There are some things that will be tough and will require us to think, struggle before arriving at a solution.

Tallman – Craftmanship – Take pride in our work.  Stand tall and be proud knowing we have given our very best effort, not matter what.

Ring – Flexibilty.  All things in life will not go the way we want.  We must not get bent out of shape and react in frustration.  But pause, look for options and make a decision that will move us toward our goal rather than keep us stagnant.  Those loops life throws at us require us to be more creative and allow us opportunities to learn and grow.

Pinky – Interdependence – If there’s a will, there’s a way.  I tell my students I am there for them.  But I can’t be fake.  They smell fake.  I am sincere when I look at them in the eye and offer my pinky as a promise to support them as needed in their journey.  When faced with a challenge, we cannot give up.  We should consider our resources, school, teachers, friends- surround ourselves with peers who will push us, challenge us to grow and better ourselves, so that we can have a positive impact on our school, community.

Afterall, if it were not for my students, what purpose would I have.  It would not be much fun teaching in an empty classroom.

Let them know #youmatter.
It was a Thursday morning.
First period.
The upcoming seniors were freshmen.
A student sat front and center in my room.
She was wearing a clothespin.
A hug clip.

So, what do I do? I get a sharpie and a pack of clothespins (Yes, I had them in my room-I hot glue them to block walls for displaying posters, vocabulary, student work.)

Anyone who needed a hug, got a hug clip that day.  Nearly every student got one.  The idea, wear it.  When someone asks what it is, tell them.  Offer a hug.  Pass on your hug clip.  They do the same.  I saw several hug clips throughout the next few days.

The next fall, while sitting in my room eating lunch, I heard the news about the tragedy at Sandy Hook.
It rattled me.
I cried.
That afternoon I stopped by Mighty $ and picked up some new hug clips.  I wanted everyone of my students to know the next day how I appreciated them.  Loved them.  I wanted them to know #youmatter.  They are the reason I get up and come to school every morning.

I reflect on the years I felt most connected to my students.  Its those who I took the time to have real conversations with, those I was most intentional about encouraging, those I verbalized my belief in.  I didn’t just hope my actions spoke it.  I told them, too.  Teenagers need to hear it as well as experience it.  Good, healthy, positive relationships. And now, I realize these are non-negotiables for my classroom.

Investing a little time to get to know your students as real people – will pay huge dividends in the end.

APSI Beginning Statistics Day 2

Standard

So much information. Landy Godbold, our instructor, is so good at story telling…I get wrapped up in discussion of tasks that I forget to jot down key points and big ideas.

1. One of my favorite tasks todays was when we were asked to sketch box-plot with varying lengths in each interval.  Then we had to create a possible histogram for that same data.  Thinking was going on.  You could see it on our faces.

I believe we don’t ask our students open questions like this enough.  An add on…create another possible histogram for the same box plot.  For some, actually creating a set of data was the approach. 

My question for students…Can 2 different sets of data actually result in the same box-plot?  And let them explore.

Create 2 data sets that match a single boxplot yet have vastly different histograms. 

These are not as simple as I would have expected initially. 

2.  Another task today was with a single set of data.  We created our histogram using zoom:9 feature.  Then we were split into 4 groups and asked to graph using different xmin values.  Great point.  I knew it was possible but did not expect such a big difference in our resulting graphs.

3.  In a group of 4, each person ran 1-var stats for their specific data set, (mckenzie set) then asked to sketch possible graph using our descriptive stats.  Then we were asked to create an actual histogram and compare the 2. 

image

Please dont judge  my sketches…these are all from memory since I was too absorbed in discussions to write down actual examples!

The thing I appreciate about our class, I am being asked to look at things through a new lense.  I am thinking.  I am learning.  I like it. A lot.  Hoping I can learn enough between this week and TMC to help my students find their own success!