Mishmash of stuff going through my mind this week:
Desmos Function Carnival
Confession: I had not been to the computer lab at school for 10 years because the last time I went nothing worked. The second day of school is normally picture day, so I thought I might venture into the lab again, since it was already a wasted day. (Of course, they rescheduled picture day.) I tried out the Function Carnival with PreAP Precal and Algebra II w/ Trig. I think both classes had much success and enjoyed it as a nice way to ease back into math. I have 52 minute classes and some finished with 15 minutes left, many with 5-10 minutes left, and a few were working until the bell. Since we ran out of time for class reflection, I wish I had made a worksheet (or google form) for them to do about what they noticed/wondered and, maybe for Precal, describing what type of graphs they had seen. If you’re trying it for the first time, I would definitely recommend having a tablet device of some kind. I brought in my own iPad, so I could use the teacher dashboard and monitor as I went to talk to kids. Once they got to the final screen, I could also quickly check their graphs and have them work on ones that could be better (or congratulate them for being very precise). I think this Friday (the for-real picture day) I will be trying another one–maybe the penny lab?
Giving Up Control
I’ve been tweeting with the group work guru herself, Ms. @CheesemonkeySF, about doing talking points tomorrow. I asked if I should monitor the “NO COMMENT” rule and she replied:
She went on to say, “So many…don’t delegate this authority and, as a result, they don’t actually gain the benefits of the group work they believe they are using. If you want kids to go deep you have to set up a structure in which to trust them. And you can’t test trust cautiously!”
AAHHH. But it’s scary to give up my authority. I like feeling like I’m shepherding these little lost sheep to safety. I don’t know if I can trust them because I’ve been both surprised and disappointed at what they can do when left to their own devices. What if they just stand out in the rain with their mouths open and drown? And if they can be trusted, how does that change my role as their teacher?
Also going through my mind is a tweet from this week about how we need to build relationships with our students so that they will do anything we ask just to please us (or something to that effect, maybe it was walk through fire just because we asked?). I do not have this type of relationship with my students. Yes, most of them come in and do their work and I don’t have many behavior issues, but I don’t see this ever happening in my class.
Is that ok? If it’s not ok, what can I do to change it? Is there some code word like “BaaRamEwe” I need to use like Babe?
Pretty Happy Things
Man, things are getting a bit deep around here. Let’s look at some pretty things for Made4Math. Some of you may have seen my notebook at TMC14:
I made it using my Silhouette machine. It’s like a Cricut, but instead of using cartridges you design things using its software. That means it can cut ANY font, and a lot of other cool stuff, too. If your school/district has a teacher resource center, you may want to talk them into buying one. It can cut paper, cardstock, vinyl, heat transfer, stickers, all sorts of things. For the notebook, I cut it out of pink vinyl and applied it to a black notebook. Some other people wanted to get in on the action, here is Susan Craig’s (no relation)
I also have this one from last year:
And as a special offer for reading this far, I will send a notebook-size (or clipboard-sized) vinyl cutout to the first three (3) people to leave a comment. You can choose from above (I also have “Whenever I’m sad, I stop being sad and start being awesome instead.”) or if you have a favorite quote, I would be glad to make a new one!
Inspired by my FNL notebook, let’s end this post with a little Coach Taylor motivation:
Listen to me. I said you need to strive to be better than everybody else. I didn’t say you need to be better, but you gotta try. That’s what character is. It’s in the trying.