Saturday, July 22, 2017

New means new...

The anxiety is starting to sink in.  I'm not looking forward to coming back to work.  I've been enjoying my time off way too much.  But a purposeless life is...well...purposeless.

I'm toying with the ideas of interactive notebooks again.  I'm also contemplating seventh graders--they're a giant ball of hormone-fueled crazypants and I'm not sure if I want to be on this ship.  Too bad I love my teaching partners.  Can't have it all, amirite?

I used the personality inventories from Sarah Rubin at Everybody is a Genius with success in the past,  but last time, it didn't quite work out for me.  I'm blaming hormone-fueled crazypants.  I've been borrowing heavily from pinterest and other math bloggers out there, and I'm incredibly thankful to them, hence the need to post what I've been doing.

I'm going to start with these introductory pages from Karrie at Mrs. E Teaches Math, but I modified the first page a bit to suit my needs.  I've decided that I'll be grading their notebooks this year (marginally, it's just to increase buy-in), so I included a preview of what they'll be graded on and a signature line.  The facing page will be a table of contents for their units.  



The next pages will be my syllabus, whose formatting I took from Everybody is a Genius.  Then the math biography, that I borrowed from Math Equals Love, and an exercise in goal setting.  I'm hoping to focus a lot on the power of positive mindsets (yes, I'm on the Carol Dweck/Jo Boaler train). I'm finishing off the introductory pages with Mrs. E's Tips for Studying Math.


Each unit will have it's own table of contents and list of objectives.  I'm not quite sure how I feel about such a large tab sticking out of the notebook, but I think I'll live.

The seventh grade standards start off with a unit on Ratios and Proportions, including percents, but I think that's sillypants.  I'm going start the year off with Number Systems so integers will be first on deck, followed by fractions.  After I've figured out what I'm doing, there will be a post with foldables and stuff.








This is my notebook...
Smart Goals
Integer unit page
SaveSave

Thursday, May 5, 2016

More extra credit thoughts...

So, if I grade by standard, what is the standard of the extra credit?  What is it that I value and what am I trying to promote. Essentially, if this is the carrot, what's the horse?

I've been thinking of what it is I value.  Team work, persistence, being complete, thoughtful and thorough.  Not just showing work, but showing reasoning and justification.  So in terms of extra credit, I believe that it can only be achieved in certain weighted grading categories.

I'm pretty sure that next year's grading weights will be:
•  5%  Participation
•  15%  Homework
•  30% Quizzes, exit tickets, and learning logs
•  50%  Tests and projects


Extra credit will only be available in the participation category, and only through team points.  I'm estimating that a team will generate about 15-20 points per week.  I think the lowest a team can score will be 15 points, and the highest will be 20 points, with a potential for up to 3 extra credit points per week.  Participation points will be awarded when a team is randomly asked to share their responses, on a 3-point rubric.
1.  Bravery.  Thanks for trying
2.  Correct answer.
3.  Correct answer with justification and academic language.

One team would probably get called on no more than once a day, and they can earn a bonus point if the entire team did their homework, so 4x5 = 20.  If I make a lower-bound at 15, it shouldn't hurt their grade too much if they with a subpar team, and they can have extra credit with a better team to make up for it.  If I give them up to 3 extra points as a team, I think I won't get push back from parents who are only interested in independent work.

Thinking this through makes me feel a lot better.  I think I'm content.

Thursday, April 28, 2016

I've been thinking about extra credit. Again.

The last time I contemplated extra credit, it was because I wanted stuff.  I still can't do it.  I can't shake the feeling of grades for sale.  But now, now I'm doing it as a carrot for increased team work.  Getting my kids to talk to each other in meaningful ways have aways been a challenge, and giving out team points always struck me as a little unfair because I want my students to be in control of their now destiny (and I don't want to hear any guff from my students' parents about that either).  This year, I've ameliorated that by including the team tests with all other quick assessments.  But that isn't increasing the level of team work.  My current idea:  allow extra credit, but only in the group/team work/participation category.

Stuff to ponder.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Highlights from last night's #connectedTL slow chat

Q1:  What's an example of a useless math question?
  • Lame question: "Any questions?" Better: "What questions do you still have?" Best: "What question might someone ask?"
  • Unproductive Struggle: T says you can only do it 1 way--my way, even if another path works better for Ss

Q2:  How can Ts transform classrooms into "empowerment centers"
  • We can turn Ss into content creators! Empower them to value the journey, not just the destination! 
  • Provide time and space to explore, create and discover on their own & with one another with opportunities to share
  • cultivate growth mindset culture, embracing struggle, PRAISING perseverance, & giving opportunities for Ss to teach Ss & T

Q3:  How can teachers make the mistake/learning process real for their students?
  • Model, model, model. they can see right through an imposter, so just fess up and admit you don't know everything
  • Perfection isn't the goal. /Growth/ is the goal. /Risk-taking/ is the goal.
  • Ts need to model recovering from mistakes so Ss can see that.
  • Ss need to have opps to fail, opps to struggle, opps to be successful, over time, not a prescription, sequenced
  • Must create a culture where a wrong answer isn't the end of the process - Failure as First Attempt, but certainly not last
  • Process over product. Say out loud, "I don't care if it's right. How did you get there?"
  • make them aware of this productive struggle process & praise the hell out of it when they bust through.

Q4:  How can math teaches make students' voice more prominent?
  • when my Ss were reluctant to contribute I loved asking for "wrong" answers/approaches/ methods Always jumpstarted the convo
  • Don't repeat them when they're quiet.
  • "Maria, louder and slower. We can't hear you up front."
  • Provide open ended prompts where Ss explain thinking, Ts provide opps for Ss to share out in multiple ways

Q5:  How are @timsmccaffrey's "Tail-les problems" a shift in math curriculum?
  • @ddmeyer
  • In a word, ambiguity.  Students aren't sure what the problem will ask, so they're letting their own curiosity go wild.

Q6:  How do we build confidence in math (especially with low-performers)?
  • embrace mistakes. “Ooh that’s a good mistake..we can learn from that!” 
  • Celebrate every wrong answer.
  • Give props for "wrongest" answer (risk-taker). Let groups revise and present together.

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Reference Pages

In my quest for the interactive notebook that works for me, I've got myself cutting and pasting like a mad woman.  And I love it.  I previously posted a working series of introductory pages and reference pages. But now that I've covered up the reference pages that comes built into the book, I'm in search of actual geometry reference pages. I know it sounds crazy. I swear I saw one on math=love or everybody's a genius, the Sarahs had to have something, they have everything. But alas, I either can't find it or I made it up, so I'm off to actually make one now...

Friday, July 31, 2015

my spatial challenge...

I have to admit.  I'm a spatial retard.  Entirely stupid when it comes to objects in motion.  Which makes it incredibly difficult for me to teach geometry.  Proofs , theorems, and static shapes are no problem.  It's when I need to move them that I encounter issues.  Translations, reflections, rotations (aerate!!!!), and dilations, oh my!  I'm a map turner.  If it weren't for things moving, I would have finished my engineering degree.

So, now that I've admitted to myself and the world that this is my special spatial challenge, I've got to do something about it.  I've always done their homework to look out for potential stumbles, but with the new Common Core standards, Geometry includes a lot of transformations.  I'm struggling so much with them, that I'm wondering if either (a) I'm cut out for this particular assignment, or (b) this will make me a better educator.  I'm leaning towards and hoping for (b).  I will definitely confess my secret to my students.  I believe that this will allow students to relate and feel hopeful toward their own challenges, and feel sympathetic toward me when I completely bungle something.  Plus, they always get a decent giggle out of the similarity in the words spatial and special.

Stupid rotations.  Stupid reflections.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Grading...

My grading policy has changed so many times throughout my ~15 years of teaching.  When I started out, fresh out of college, I graded everything.  Which, in hindsight, I find incredibly silly.  I thought to myself, if the kids were doing it, they deserved to have it seen and graded.  Wiser me now says, it just needs to be acknowledged.  How I've graded homework (just homework) in the past (in chronological order)
  • Collected daily and graded
  • Collected daily, √, √+, √- for completion
  • Homework quizzes (one random question per assignment weekly).  Students would recreate their completed homework onto a homework quiz form.  
  • Have students self-grade themselves for completeness, and collect it on test/quiz days (this was for high school though).
  • Collect one assignment per week at random, grade for completeness or correctness.  Whatever strikes my fancy.

Last year, I implemented a cooperative team system, where teams get participation points if they all have their homework for the day completed.  This year, in addition to their team points,  I think I will be collecting a week's worth of homework, giving a complete/incomplete (all or none) point, and grading 3 random assignments per packet at five points each, for a total of 20 points.  There will be a template that they'll get on Monday, and turn in on Friday.  Here's to hope and cheers to change.