#MTBoS Sunday Summary

My week:

Algebra II w/ Trig

We took our first test, which was a GREAT segue[1] into growth mindset and overcoming setbacks.  Although they didn’t knock it out of the park, I had fewer really low grades than previous years, so that’s a good sign.  This is usually a tough test and I think I need to either (a) break it up into 2 quizzes or (b) actually follow the notes that I leave myself every year that say “DO MORE DAYS OF ____”

Then into functions with this beautiful Note-Taker-Maker[2] that I stole bits and pieces of from everyone, but I think mostly from mathequalslove.

Capture1.doc file here

Friday we did the ever-popular graph stories, but I made it into a worksheet because I do not have time for scissoring.  They worked in groups and I paired groups up as they finished to discuss answers.  Then when everyone was done I brought out the talking dog.

No, it didn’t actually talk. I’ve been having an issue with students not listening to other students talking, so I thought I’d take a cue from GWWG and Mr Healy and start the rule that you can’t talk unless you have the talking dog.

So the dog was passed around as we explained and discussed our answers to each graph.  And what do you know?  It worked!!  Not 100% of the time, but they were listening a lot more than before. Some of the kids had great explanations, too, including “we first thought it was this graph, but then when we met with another group, we realized….”  Win!

PreAP Precal

Holy moly, definitely some ups and downs this week with discovery learning.  All of the kids are working super hard at trying to figure out what I throw at them, but they are lacking in (a) math skills and (b) seeing math connections.

We spent about 1.25 days on translating linear equations to discover our “new” point-slope form: y = m(x – h) + k.  Worksheet here.  It went really well and was a good lead-in to piecewise (“isn’t it so much easier to write the equation of this guy using point-slope since we don’t know the y-intercept?”)

We also spent 2 days on average rate of change, worksheet here. (I’m pretty sure I stole this from someone, too–I really need to work on documenting my sources!)  The first side of it went great, but I need to reword it so they understand we’re doing the exact same thing on the back!  Just calling it a different name!  Really!  That’s it!  Then I wonder to myself, would they have made better connections within the same time frame if I had lectured for 20 minutes on AROC, definition, formulas, etc, then let them work with applications of it for 1.5 days?

So even though it may get me kicked out of the MTBoS, I think I’m going to stick with introducing a topic as a class first, then letting them loose on going deeper, rather than letting them loose to discover the topic but running out of time to go deeper.  Plus, I think based on this: zone(poster available here) I’ve been in the panic zone as a teacher way too much this year and need to scale it back to be in the learning zone.  I need to keep reminding myself I don’t have to try everything that I learned at TMC during the first month of school!

[1] I’m not going to lie to you; I just found out last year this is word that people are using when they say “segway” as in, “Using (person, birthday) as a function example allowed me to segway into mentioning I don’t like Starbucks.”

[2] Notetakermakers (or “NTMs”) are what I call my graphic organizers.  Yes, I make one for each section.  Yes, I do use a lot of paper.[3]

[3] Dude, I don’t know why the superscript is showing up as just tinier script.  I’m using “sup” and everything.  Here’s a subscript example: [1] which looks to me exactly like the superscript.  Sometimes I hate everything about wordpress except for the fact that I get to use “megcraig.org.”

4 comments on “#MTBoS Sunday Summary

  1. Meg,

    This is great! I spent much of last year in the panic zone for exactly the same reasons. I came back with TMC with so many ideas and I wanted to implement them all! Instead of going into panic mode, I burned myself out and I was exhausted by January.

    The one piece of information that I got from grad school was that you should only try to change about 10% of your class each year. More than that and you’ll be overwhelmed.

    Of course, Alex says that you should only make HUGE changes because small ones will end up getting swallowed.

    Clearly, I don’t know anything except that we all have places where we can improve.

    Thank you for sharing this.

    • Yes, I’m thinking of what Alex said, too, but then like you, I think that if I can’t make it until the end of the school year that’s not helping anyone, either! At least now I think I won’t have a panic attack when I lecture with a voice in my head repeating, “the worst way to teach is to talk.”

  2. If you’re interested in finding a good balance with the way to introduce tasks and activities (providing enough support to engage everyone without giving too much of the thinking away), I highly recommend you find the article “Launching Complex Tasks” from the August 2012 issue of NCTM’s Mathematics Teaching in the Middle School. (If you’re not a subscriber, search Google for it – you’ll find a copy someone shared in a Google Group, among other places.) The article is only a few pages long but the “launch” has good research behind it and has been used with hundreds of teachers. Good luck with the school year!

    • Very helpful article…I think I will be printing out the chart of questions to keep with my lesson plans!

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