Cup Stacking

This was AWESOME!

It was my first of the Team Building Tuesdays in Room 1090.IMG_4361

It went so well with the students. We got to talk about being the members of the body of Christ while working in a group to see how different we all are. The kids loved it, got moving and were able to see how hard it is to work in groups sometimes.

This was my good thing for the day. The students had fun, they built up our class community, they learned about dealing with life issues, they ended the period in small group prayer, and best of all, they learned about being a part of the body of Christ.

Here is the link to the activity that we did.

 

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PBL and Math Class

The Director of Innovative Teaching and Learning Director at my school sent me a Twitter message the other day about PBL and math. His honest question got me thinking and writing, and although I started using the response box on Twitter, my response got so long that I began a document so I would not lose it all if something happened. Much of my influence on the topic comes from Dan Meyer, though the #MTBoS and Twitter have certainly contributed far more to my understanding than I could ever imagine or cite here. (I simply cannot remember all of the places I have read on the topic).

His question from Twitter:

I’ve been wrestling with this question, but I don’t teach math so I can’t answer it. It’s easy for me to take anything I teach in video production and apply it to a real life task. I basically give the kids the role of video producer, cinematographer, or writer, and they’re off to the races. I teach them the skills necessary to create a product and we’re good. Is the same thing possible with math classes if students were given the role of engineer, builder, or analyst? PBL isn’t always popular in math classes b/c teachers say it just doesn’t fit, but it boggles my mind why this is the case. Aren’t there a host of professions that rely heavily on math? My kids aren’t Steven Spielberg, but they’re getting the simple version of what it’s like to be a real life director. Is there potential for math classes to offer the same thing? Thinking outside the box.

My Lengthy response that wouldn’t fit into the Twitter message box:

I completely see where you are coming from to give you context on what is going on in the math teaching world right now, here is how I see it from my research over the last couple of years.  There is a big debate/push/investigation going on in math right now (see #MTBoS) about what it means to incorporate “real world” into the math classroom. On one hand, you have word problems that deal with real world situations and has Ss talk about and solve problems that have “real life data” in them. This type of situation is dependent on providing interesting/relevant information and has students working to solve a certain type of problem using “real world” situations. The problem is that it is often “fake world”, that is, stilted to interject a mathematical concept that either defies logical problem solving reasoning or forces mathematical reasoning in a way that does not scaffold student understanding. On another hand, you have a fostering of mathematical thinking that comes from the analysis of created situations to have students deduce mathematical thought processes gradually. It emphasizes  a 3-Act structure to “hook” students and have them make conjectures about data, later evaluating their thinking which is followed by a shift toward an algorithm or specific mathematical approach. One blogger used the analogy “if ‘Algebra Skill X’ is the Aspirin, how do you create the headache?” – an emphasis on leveraging intellectual need to use math to solve a certain situation, artificially creating a need for math using relatively “real-world” contexts.

To execute these “real world problems” there is a need to have a certain amount of skills development in order to execute the mathematical procedures needed to solve the problem. Word problems are often a supplement to the actual goal of learning “skill X”, and are, therefore, usually an afterthought (it has traditionally been in my classroom). Teaching word problems is always tough because it is messy, so the simpler option is to teach the algorithm and be done with it. Once students can do the skill, we tend to stop teaching it because it seems to be a step backward to go from “being able to do 25 problems and get the right answer” to “not being able to solve a word problem”. There is a disconnect between the skill and the need to solve a “real world” problem.

A PBL approach ( like your producer example) would give students a problem/project to work on that could, in theory, use all of the skills that we have learned in a given unit. Certainly, there are many examples of professions that use math all day every day to do what they do, but these professionals have an entire bag of skills from which to draw, whereas we are building a repertoire of skills for students to draw from when they get there. It seems to be a cop out to even say this, because it  sounds like I am saying that our approach negates all relevance of math in the real world up to the point of an engineering degree. To say that there is no place for PBL in the math classroom up to the point of designing a bridge is preposterous, but there are issues in thinking that PBL could replace what we currently do. There is such a vast number of skills that comprise “Algebra 1” that taking time to do a project to prove proficiency in a certain set of skills would take a very specific project and a lot of time that I don’t think would be feasible in many classrooms. Not impossible, but difficult.

My uneasiness as a math teacher is that if I give them a project to work on that COULD possibly use the skills that I am aiming at, the one project would not give them enough practice with that skill for me to feel comfortable with them being proficient to build upon it for later classes OR to allow them to pass a test like the ACT or SAT. At the very least, how do I determine if a project is worth taking 1-2 weeks when that time is lost to teaching other skills? There is uncertainty in taking that risk and I think many of us are nervous about leaving huge gaps in understanding for later teachers to fill in (often to the detriment of their content). Alas, the aims of the current math classroom are more of a list of skills to be mastered than a contribution to a larger knowledge base. Solving a “big” problem is not a priority, it is the ability to solve all of the little problems that prove proficiency in skills that is the priority. Fostering mathematical thinking along the way is my answer to the question of “where are we going to use this in the real world” because frankly, many of the skills that they learn are somewhat irrelevant, save for a select few people that end up taking a given class in college or end up teaching it to high school students. Our emphasis should be on making them think like a mathematician and seeing the interconnectedness of the skills as part of a larger body of work, not just doing a bunch of problems, but I have students to prepare for the next class and they have to have certain skills. To teach them perseverance, attention to detail and a proactive, positive approach to problem solving is my “real-world contribution”.

The short answer to your question is this: it is really messy to do PBL in the math classroom and the projects detract from the efficiency of learning skills, of which we have a lot in the math realm. Typically, the shortest route to the right answer is the best way because although we (should) value alternate solutions, chances are that we are not going to be inventing anything new in the math world, so the skills are taught as-is. The application of skills to situations is fine, but to take time to do a project and solve a problem inhibits the process of learning the concrete skills necessary to “be successful” in math, at this level or the next. PBL would/could be great, but the lack of practice to learn all of the algorithms necessary to pass many math classes and be successful in subsequent ones is problematic and is a huge damper on PBL in the math classroom. Not to diminish the aims/objectives of a science class- but doing a PBL to learn the Scientific Method is a huge plus, and one that lends itself to many of the aims of PBL (student voice/choice, group work, problem solving), however, the aim of learning the quadratic formula iis far less suited to PBL and the investigation needed to understand the depth of the material you would be studying would be a significant tangent for a skill that should take about 2 days to “completely learn”.

Much of this sounds jaded and negative, but simply put, the math classroom is in a state of flux, and I don’t think it is going toward PBL. My feeling is that much of the “rote practice” or “drill and kill” model is being supplemented with activities that are trying to teach the concept of “mathematical thinking”. This type of shift should create learners that think about situations mathematically and connect what they have learned with application to a “real life” situation, but I don’t know that math classes will go the way of Project Based Learning, if anything is a fit, I think it would be Problem Based Learning, but even this is a hard sell for many that value efficiency and memorizing processes to the model of deducing processes using patterns or discussion. While this fosters deeper learning, it is a process that requires patience (and time) which few teachers feel they have given the sheer breadth of material that they need to cover in a year.

 

Common Core is trying to help this problem by shrinking the number of skills that are learned, but until a student has gone through CC for many years, the fruits of this system will not be realized and it must survive the scrutiny of teachers that have students with vast knowledge gaps in the meantime. All the while, ACT and SAT still rely on a form of math test that requires the ability to see math as many skills that can be done as algorithms, and though they are trying to shift, they cannot go too far away from where math has come from and remains in colleges today – a set of problems that require certain processes to solve. The most efficient way to learn how to wire a light switch is to wire 15 of them at a workbench, not build a house, though the house is what we would desire as our end goal.  While it would be fun for a kid to build a birdhouse to learn how to measure distances, a worksheet with 12 segments on it that they have to measure and write the length next to is just more efficient, and math teachers are all about efficiency.

If I assume for a second to try to create a math scenario like the producer scenario that you give would be to have a student be an Accountant. All the skills that go with being an accountant involve math, but we as an Educational community have a class for this – Accounting. You just have to be in college to take it, so you have to go through years of math classes to get there. With the goal of teaching Algebra 1, I suppose a good goal would be to be an Engineer – teach the skills of parabolas and lines with the goal of contributing to a bridge project that the class is making. Along the way, you may use the skills that you have learned, but not all of the skills necessary for building a bridge fall under Algebra 1, nor are all the skills of Algebra 1 going to fall under the umbrella of bridge building. This sentiment is true for video production as well (you will not use the Ken Burns effect in all movies), however, the design of the bridge matters little in light of the question “how do I use factoring quadratics to solve this?” because you just won’t, so we won’t put them in a situation to build a bridge that doesn’t use the skills necessary to master Algebra 1. The process of making a movie, however, could involve the Ken Burns effect, and having that tool in your bag could be useful later, options are good and they could contribute to a masterful project somewhere along the line, factoring, however, is really only useful for one thing – breaking down bigger problems that could show up later in your math career, making them easier to solve. Many of the skills of math are self-serving – they “help you solve problems later in other math classes” (a response that is classic when answering the question “when will I use this in ‘real life’?”). Truly the PBL for Algebra 1 is passing the AP Calculus exam – to conquer that, you have to be a master of all things Algebra. If you mastered all of the skills of building a house, the test would be building a house. High School math is a house of Calculus, and mastering all of the skills along the way is extremely self-serving in this way, the math is a means to another means in our short 4 years.

In closing (sorry this is so long), I love the Engineering class that we have for seniors. It allows them the opportunity to use math and science to build and do things, however, it would take a brilliant design for a course to teach all of Algebra 1 with projects. The practice and demonstration of skills is necessary for the math classroom, especially in foundational courses, so the structure of teach, practice, evaluate, repeat is too easy and too efficient to abandon at this point.  Even if the design were there, it would be a hard to implement as it is more work with less tangible progress. The less formulaic teaching of mathematical thinking that can come through the math classroom is a more realistic goal at this point and it leaves less to chance in terms of what is taught, and I think it is the uncertainty of leaving the teaching of skills to chance that terrifies me (and other math teachers). I suppose this essay (which is what it has turned into) is a mix of my experience and my frustration with the situation. You hear people say all the time “I use math in my job all day”, but I just don’t know what that looks like for a class, but I am sure that there is no person whose job title is “expert Algebraist” (except if they are a teacher). There are, however, writers, Biologists, movie producers and historians. The skills of math seem somewhat separated from the application of math in the classroom for a variety of reasons, and I think it boils down to the uncertainty of a guarantee that the skills will be better taught using the project as opposed to a “traditional method”. The teaching of intangible skills like attention to detail, perseverance and communicating strategies can be effectively taught alongside of the skills and are not in any way a question mark for the math teacher. PBL could certainly have a place for certain sets of skills, especially in the lower levels of math (elementary), but high school math is so specified (self-serving) and broad (the number of skills), that it provides a unique challenge to find a balance of gimmicky and helpful when it comes to projects. It is a hard sell because it “doesn’t fit” but I think that is because math teachers like things neat and orderly (we have to, after all, it is math!) and PBL seems very open-ended for the specific skills that we are teaching given the sheer number of them. Again, it seems to be a cop-out, but if I had to guess, I think “doesn’t fit” is a kind way of saying “we don’t want to spend time on something that won’t as effectively accomplish our aims as what we are currently doing”. I guess that’s a little more than $0.02, but it is something that I have been wrestling with for a while now as well.

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And I am going back…

And we shall see how this goes…I am excited.

As I have been pondering this whole situation, it occurs to me that there are about as many ways to run a class as there are classes to be run…wait, I guess that is the truth, there are as many different ways to run a class as there are class runners, er,  teachers, that is.

I guess I have been wrestling with the notion of who I am as a teacher, and who I want to be. Really, I guess the impetus for this question asking has been me looking into the future and wondering where I will fit in, and how I want to be remembered. Its not a “will they dedicate the year book to me” kind of wonder, or a “maybe I’ll have a building named after me” kind of thought, but just really asking the question, “how will I be remembered?” and “what did I do to prepare students for the future?”.

A couple of days ago, I was talking to a colleague of mine because I had this bad taste in my mouth from an interaction with a student…it wasn’t a bad interaction, but it just left me feeling, well, weird. I don’t really remember what was said, and I don’t remember how it ended, but I have the strongest of feelings burned into my brain from that conversation.

I remember feeling empty.

I still do.

This is not a self-serving “its all about me” moment, but I felt mostly useless after this conversation.

The student called me a vending machine.

No, not really, but they might as well have. The vending machine they described was not one of those awesome vending machines with too many good choices – no, this was one of those run down ones with the Big Red gum and York peppermint patties in it (I hate mint and chocolate, except in ice cream…I digress)

They literally stopped in the middle of asking me a question about their homework and said, “Never mind, I’ll just ask my tutor”. So I pressed them a bit, and found out that they love their tutor, their tutor helps them, their tutor is there for them, their tutor listens to them, they help them understand what I am saying in class, they decode the hieroglyphics that I give them and label “homework”. I was shocked, the student walked away to go to tutoring and I sat in my chair, flabbergasted.

In my students eyes, I am a vending machine of information and assignments…for all other inquiries, help or compassion, see tutor in room 6.

I got jealous. I want to see the look of satisfaction on their faces when they “get it”. I want the “AHA!” moments. I want my collaborative work environment back.

Not that it has been all bad. I have had successes with students and have had times to tutor kids. I have had times when there have been kids in my room nonstop for hours on end. Usually, only on test days – VERY stressful test days. To the point that I wanted to lock my door and cover the window.

So why do I want more of this? The difference is simple – test days = stress time. Stress time = I need something from you. Mr. Seris = vending machine once again.

I want a day in and day out cultivation of trust and encouragement that helps students learn to persevere, work hard and collaborate. I want more time to help students learn to learn. Learn to problem solve. I want to trade some of the stress for some opportunities to teach students to manage time and solve hard problems.

Right now, from where I sit, my students’ mindset is thus:  Teachers = Villains, piling on homework and wielding a red saber of oppression on assessment days., Tutor = Advocate, a knight in shining armor to help them navigate the difficulties of the struggle that is school. I want my kids to know that I am on their side and I am working for them, not against them in their daily struggle to manage their lives and balance their work.

I want to help kids in a way that I know how. This may just be my way.

We should be on their side, and there should be no confusion about that.

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Why I ditched the flip…and why I might go back

For the better part of 3 years, I curated online curriculum for the subjects of Geometry, Prealgebra, 7th Grade math, Trigonometry and Statistics. Videos, Note Guides, a website, all-in dedication to the flip. I checked student notes each night, did homework in class, encouraged them to re-watch the videos and worked with them to take control of their own learning. At times, I even assigned units to them, giving them a deadline for taking the assessment, but leaving it up to them how/when they got the videos, notes and assignments done. It was a lot of up front work, but I felt it was the right thing for them.

I don’t really know what changed, but about 2.5 years ago, I fell out of love, so I ditched the flip. I guess I let it turn into a simpler way to lecture and I grew fixated on the problems of students not watching the videos, note-copying and in class management issues with an open work environment. I just got tired of the  issues that came along with teaching learners to be self-motivated. Students were still working together in class, I was still able to circulate and answer individual questions, but I just did not feel that time was being maximized for learning, so I sort of jumped ship on the idea of the flipped classroom.

In the midst of all of this, I changed schools, and along with it, my classes. I now teach College Algebra for Seniors, a group notorious for skipping video lectures, copying notes and working harder at getting the answers than working to actually understand the problems I assign. This seemed like the perfect time to go back to the direct instruction method. Controlled classroom…check, elimination of frustration from lack of video-watching…check, no notes to look at…check, better learning environment for students…check?

Under the heading of “college readiness”, direct instruction and “drill and kill” homework assignments have become the norm. I know that they will be ready to take notes and learn from their college math professors once they get to a college or university. Once-a-chapter quizzes and end of chapter tests are my modes of assessment and learning is taking place, so there is no need to change necessarily, but I am constantly reflecting on the needs of my learners, so I want to try to do what is best for them.

My trepidation in my classroom, and the cause for this resurgence of “the flip” comes down to this…”work days”. Work days – simple enough concept, the lesson takes a day to get through completely and the material is difficult, so we have a “work day” the next day. Assignment due at the end of the period, students work the whole time, me available to help and answer questions – a day of great work. Suddenly, those students that have pristine homework and no questions accompanying their mysterious 100% on the answers from the previous night have questions and I get to see where they are struggling. I get to hear them articulate their issues and actually help them with their math instead of just talking at them for 45 minutes, naively believing that they found all of the zeros of that quadratic (real and imaginary) with no issue. We are talking about math with each other…actually talking about math.

And I loved it! It was reminiscent of old days when we would have discussions during the process of solving difficult problems in class and the students would brainstorm ideas about how to solve them. An atmosphere of problem solving, not just “answer getting” was evident in the room and it was a refreshing change from what I felt was going on with student homework. Over the first couple of months, I have sensed that student homework was more of a research project, a la

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than an exercise in problem solving, which led to comments like “I/they do so well on homework, but it doesn’t translate to the test/quiz”. To be clear, I am not accusing anyone of cheating or dishonesty, but solving problems is hard work, and when given the option to try and then look at the answer, one can fall into the trap of, “oh, yeah, I see where they got that” or “that makes sense” in consulting the answer before actually solving the problem. Doing problem sets in class is not a cure-all for the convenience of answer-finding (certainly having a peer/teacher tell you all of the steps to a problem can lead to a false sense of confidence in “knowing how to do a problem” just as easily) but the oversight and culture of problem solving that can come with working in class on problem sets is a step up from the work that occurs in the hallways of schools 15 minutes before the bell rings. With our backs to the wall, how does one get the job done? This is not to say that no students do their homework, or that some never do their work, but the ones who get it will get it whether they are in class or out of class.

In my six months removed from the flip, have the issues with students watching videos, not working in class or using others notes to get a grade for watching gone away? Certainly not. Products like Zaption or Educanon can help with the viewing part, and video lecture is still a lecture and a student is still a student. Will class still be a juggling act of oversight and culture building? Absolutely. I want students to respect both the process of learning (lecutre or not) and also the art of solving problems. In the current system, I feel that I am spending my valuable time with them doing most of the talking. To be blunt, I am the one doing most of the work. Students are left to the role of sponge in the seat, sent off with a list of problems to wrestle with amidst the pile of other homework that they are assigned. In my opinion, the most crucial part of learning, the doing, is left for them to do unsupervised and unassisted. Teaching grit and perseverance is difficult and celebrating success is marginalized in this system. I feel like I am teaching at a driving school and using my time with them to read them a book on driving so that they know how to drive when they get home.

So, why might I go back to the flip? In my mind it comes down to this -how do I want student to spend the valuable minutes of class with me, WATCHING me do problems or DOING problems? Is the flip perfect – definitely not, there are better ways to teach and I will explore them as the opportunities arise, but in my current situation, I am seriously considering spending my energy on the management, the oversight and the culture building in the flip system so that I can reap the benefits of more personal interaction with students and DOING math.

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Checkers

I am writing this to satiate my desire to document my ideas…though I never do. It goes by the wayside far to easily and I wish I had a more complete record of my attempts to bridge the gaps between good pedagogy and gimmicks with technology.

Here goes one…

We are playing checkers tomorrow to re-introduce (thank you, Spring Break)  translations to 7th and 8th graders. Should be fun, hopefully it sticks. I already used Geogebra to show translations, and it sort of got lost…probably should have started with checkers.

Round two of Translation introductions tomorrow, thanks Spring Break!

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#MTBoS

I love Twitter for Education.

I  love the MTBoS. I love the ideas (I mainly gather others ideas than scatter my own), I love the banter and the great collaboration (again, I am a consumer, not a producer).

But…I hate how this community makes me feel sometimes.

I am teaching Solving Systems of Linear Equations on Monday to my 8th graders.

I have a shiny new book, a list of steps for teaching the process and a great set of worksheets to round out the week.

Enter MTBoS.

I hate that I feel like there are a million better ideas for teaching this than I have.

In all seriousness, though, ultimately, I love that I am pushed to do better for my students because of the body of crowdsourced work and collaboration that is out there.

Thanks guys, and gals. You push me to be better.

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Should I have used Instagram?

So, I gave this project called the “Find-a-gon” project for my geometry classes. They were supposed to go out and find polygons that fit into certain categories. It is a multi-part project that we will use for the rest of the year to showcase knowledge of shapes. Here is part 1:

Part 1: 

(find one convex and one concave of each from the first 7, ONE from the convex group must be regular)
*Triangle
Quadrilateral
Pentagon
Hexagon
Heptagon
Octagon
Decagon
Circle
Right triangle
Acute triangle
Obtuse triangle
Part 1 Guidelines:
1. Shapes must be found not made, they may not be taken from an image search or be any “textbook” images.
2. You must use a drawing program to “mark up” the shapes with its attributes. (how do I KNOW its obtuse?)

Obviously, you cannot find a concave triangle, but that just opens up a discussion as to “why”. The point of the project is to get kids to find and show knowledge of Geometric vocabulary.

In the past, I have had them present their favorite 2, or ALL (not recommended) shapes. It is a good way for them the “speak math”, get up and present and showcase some work.

This year, I added a twist – they would have to submit their favorite to me and their classmates would vote on their favorite (most interesting/creative). I used a Google form and embedded them into a website:

Screen Shot 2015-01-28 at 3.33.01 PM

I think they liked it. They voted and talked about the photos, even caught a couple of mistakes. There were no names on the photos, so it was anonymous. I think they liked seeing if they won. They all asked who won and when I told them, some seemed disappointed (and one excited, obviously).

I just wonder if I should have tried to use Instagram. I think it would have been gimmicky, but maybe not. I REALLY wish I had a way for students to submit pictures to me and display them as one big group, anonymously or with names added for ease of display/grading. That is another post for another time (called, “why I wish I could program computers/apps”).

Was the work worth it for this activity. It probably took me 10 minutes to get them all ready to vote. I don’t know, but I think it may have been better than trying to cram this assignment into an Instagram package.

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Current Grades

Whose problem is it if my electronic grade book is not up to date?

I mean that to say, if I do not put in the grades that students rightfully earn in a “timely fashion” is it wrong for their grade to drastically change in a matter of minutes this close to finals? Is it unfair to them?

I think back to my own experience, not knowing what my grade was until the end, not having 24/7 access to my grades and not having the ability to tell if a teacher had graded an assignment. My position was always to “do my best” and to keep track of generally where I was in the grade spectrum. We got our progress reports or midterm grades, but I guess fear of not ending up with the grade I wanted made me try my best on every assignment.

I know that is just me, and others were blindsided by bad (or good) news, even to the point of not caring about figuring out their general grade because it was too much work, or they just didn’t care.

I guess it is because I feel that the responsibility for student grades falls on me and not the student that I am writing this. It is the busiest time of the year, and yet, if I forget to put in a grade that a student earned, it is my fault and it is not fair to the student if I put it in and it drops their grade. I end up feeling guilty for factoring THEIR work into THEIR grade. This type of emphasis on the teacher keeping the grades updated does encourage student engagement in the grading process (and keeping track of their progress), and it is nice to be done with grading when the last assignment goes in, but I feel that in many ways, it encourages students to point to the teacher if there is a problem with their grades. (i.e.- if I would have known sooner, I could have worked harder…studied more, etc.)

I guess this is a bit of a rant, and I don’t mean to sound like I am against keeping grades up to date. I believe students should take ownership, I believe that the idea of electronic grade books is good. I believe that as a teacher, I should keep my grades up to date, even though it is a lot of work because it helps students be successful. It keeps families in the loop. Sometimes, though, it puts a lot of emphasis on me as the teacher. Timely feedback vs. time available, that is the name of the game. I have students refreshing their online grade book right after they turn in their quiz, hoping that somehow, I have graded it in the 5 seconds since they turned it in.

In times like this, I often think of the quote that I read once, it said, “there is no substitution for quality instruction”. Part of quality instruction is meaningful feedback. Perhaps I need to assign less work and spend more time giving better feedback. Half as many column in the grade book, but twice as much meaning in the grade… Perhaps I should be leveraging the grade book as a tool for students.  Steer them away from the question, “what is the minimum that I have to do to get/maintain my 70%”, and toward questions like, “what can I do to get to that 90% from the 86% that I have”.

Help students maximize their potential, not minimize their effort.

Maybe this online grade book can be useful after all…

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What a great looking worksheet!

I love the look and feel of a well organized worksheet. A box for every answer, appropriately scaffolded, increasingly complex problems that culminate to the “word problem” section. As a math teacher, this is like a zen experience.

But as an educated math educator, it is anti-progress, and shamefully, it is my default at times.

I think my problem is that I don’t know where to go to find consistently good math resources and I don’t have the energy right now to make them.

I have a storehouse of math educator blogs, tweets and websites that have awesome stuff on them, but sometimes, going with what the book has seems wrong, but it is all I got.

I am in a moment of weakness. I literally Googled “writing linear equations from a table worksheet”, feeling guilty and boring in the process.

I fell asleep at the keyboard myself, but I have to convince my students that it is good practice? hardly.

I must get better than this.

And yet, here comes tomorrow…

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Summer

It is still summer. For 1.5 more days. I am savoring it, believe me. With our son that came in May and all of the hours that we have been able to spend with him, it is going to be tough to go back, so I am savoring the time that we have left before meetings and classes, students and iPads.

Though, as I sit here, I am getting the itch to do something. We have adopted the Big Ideas Curriculum from HMH for this year to use with the Middle School, and the thought of teaching Systems of Equations to 8th graders seems daunting, but I am genuinely, excited…

I know that I will eat these words in 2 months when I am overwhelmed with stuff to do, but I think that this year, I may try a 180 blog, more projects and perhaps some 20%-type time. Maybe do some student blogs and work on the functionality of my learning space. I want to chronicle this year to hold myself more accountable for doing meaningful class work that makes kids think and helps them really own their learning.

I am savoring the summer, but scheming for the fall. I think I may like this teaching thing…I think I may even miss it…though I do enjoy the summer…

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