2017-05-26 – Day 16 – Finals Day

Wow, the day is almost over and the grading is done with all my finals. I always forget how much I dislike grading, especially when looking at student thinking. Today, we had our last of the finals, with one week to go!

Something that stood out today that I am so proud about with respect to my students. My HS students had two hard finals that challenged them, and I saw many using their devices to find out information on how to solve, examples to attack the problems. I saw students problem solving their finals, that was awesome. I also saw lots of great, long, and dedicated study today among all the students.

In my final period, I was worried about the 8th graders, they have had 3 finals at that point all day long, and math is last…they were in for surprise because it was probably as difficult as the HS for them. I heard students excited when they realized half of their final is on Quizizz (my students love this) and the other was more traditional. My 8th graders were solid for the entire time working to get through the challenge, and I was so impressed.

What I was also excited to see was lots of writing when students didn’t understand a problem. I saw #NoticeWonder on problems which made my heart all warm and fuzzy. I learned a lot today about my students and I am going to miss these classes in a week. Well, grading is done, the week is quickly wrapping up, and I have a 3-hour long run tomorrow.

2017-05-24 – Day 14 – 360 Math Collaboration Finals Review

State testing finished two weeks ago, warming weather, and multiple field trips all indicate the sun is setting on the 2016-17 school year. The looming giant of finals is the final hurdle many of our students are left with in ending this school year, and here we sit investigating this idea.

Getting students the opportunity to do the work, we covered examples yesterday, and today we are doing a combination of 360 Math (thanks, @edcamposjr) for the inspiration there and karaoke presentations when we are finished.

In Math 3, students used Flippity (thanks again to Ed for that tip) to form our groups. Each group was given 90 seconds to capture the 7 problems on paper 360-style around the room, students used mobile phones to take pictures of the problems, and then shared the with their group. Students broke up the problems, some students would solve 2 problems, others would solve 1 problem, in the 15 minutes.

When time was finished, random selection for each group assigned the problem they would build the solution to the poster. Their goal is to write a solution clear enough that anyone could present it, which is the next phase with the presentation karaoke.


The Math 3 students hit some of the road blocks I was anticipating, but this process uncovered a couple more as well. The students did not get to the point they were going to present, we will capture those tomorrow. Students did see me solve all 7 problems in 3 minutes, not emphasizing the quickness of solving, but the efficiency of ease of these problems the concept of multiple iterations of inverse operations. I do feel I needed to give them more opportunities, and I should have started with this approach on Monday, then used it to set the stage for any clarifications or additional input the students would need from me, not the other way around.

In Math 8, we followed a similar format as in Math 3, the students opened up with a Quizizz review, getting a single shot of the year. Next, we chose 7 problems posted on the walls, viz a vie 360 Math. The 7 problems were taken from review problems previously covered, with small alterations, each team was assigned a problem and given 10 minutes to solve. Their goal is to write a solution clear enough that another group could present their solution viz a vie Presentation Karaoke.

Getting students to present would go smoother is more reps, this is our first time trying this Presentation Karaoke. While herding cats is challenging, it is worth the effort in that students are really engaging in their learning.

One of my students stayed after to tell me that another student explained what “simplifying” means in a way that he now understands it. When students stay after to share about their learning you know something went well.

2017-05-12 – Day 2 – Guest Presenter Steve Wyborney!!

Our special guest today, Mr. Steve Wyborney, delivered a fun and interactive learning experience for my Integrated Math 3 course. The students got to experience a variety of wonderful questioning strategies, they were enabled to challenge their teacher and integrated deep mathematical thinking into the whole process.

Mr. Wyborney’s incredible sense of creating engaging and powerful learning experiences was on display today, challenging the students to think differently and to understand things in a variety of ways.

The learning was deep, the conversations were rich, and the time flew by, a perfect ending to a rather long week. On that note, I am also learning to use SnapChap to capture the learning, which is why I’m continuing this video sequence. I like that every 10 seconds you have to finish your thoughts, forcing you to be more concise and embeds the idea of practice perfect. I also like the idea of the silly filters, as it helps me get past the weirdness I feel when taping myself. Combining this with my desire to blog more, I’ve created a snowball of learning experiences for myself, and with Day 2 in the bag, I’m excited that I just might make it.

Mission Accomplished

As I publish this reflection, I fear that this moment may turn into something along the lines of another famous moment….


I am very honored to have met #IRL (in real life) the person that inspired this learning goal for me this school year: Having students produce a weekly learnings podcast for public consumption. Joe Young is an incredible TOSA for math and education and he shared this idea a long time ago, and when I had the pleasure of teaching two courses this year, I wanted to challenge myself and use this as one way students would show what they know.

Finally, this week, I found the magic recipe to making this happen, I assigned two students, one in each class to get the job done. Friday marked the turning point for me in doing some of the things I wanted to get done and continue to build on. Friday was also our first Mystery Skype with another group of students. While the connections prevented less opportunities for conversation, it was an entertaining and fun sort of thing.

While doing the Mystery Skype, we also produced our weekly podcasts for both classes. I loved the idea of having students interact with other students around mathematics and this public display showed a proof of concept.

All in all, I was very excited to have been able to edit, publish, upload, host, and publish to iTunes. I am currently waiting on a review of my two podcasts to be approved, and if that works they’ll be in iTunes. The Mystery Skype provided the opportunities for students to strategize their thinking and be able to try to problem solve.

The podcasts are linked:  Math 8    &/or     IM3

Well looking forward to another great week. Hope your week is as magical and moving you forward to meet your new goals.