2017-06-01 – Day 22 – Report Cards

Following a great recipe from The Classroom Chefs, I wanted to give my students the opportunity to grade me and to make a note to warn my future students what to expect from a class taught by me.

My premise is simple, the students were asked to fill out an anonymous template that graded me from A to F, but I also required that whatever grade they gave me, they had to have a reason(s) for it. Although I had tried similar ideas in prior years, with the Chefs’ this explicit process, the differences in results are stunning. The chefs had warned us that the results may not be what you expect, and some of the results my

The chefs had warned us that the results may not be what you expect, and some may be quite surprising….there is a lot of truth, both in the positive and the negative of this comment. I am so happy for the experience and learning a lot about perceptions from this experience. Growing is sometimes painful, and that is how we get better.

2017-05-23 – Day 13 – BreakoutEDU

An amazing teacher was inquiring about the use of BreakoutEDU having heard about it at some point. A “little birdie” in the form of one our equally amazing technology TOSAs let her know I have some of the boxes and am willing to demonstrate.

She reached out to see if I’d be available to showcase it, and we set up a time a few weeks out. Today, was the day we chose and the time, so we set it up and got it ready to go.

On a fun note, I am incorporating more of the digital locks, and using SnapChat to create more of the clues, like the one below, adds a lot more personalized fun.

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One of the things that I absolutely love about BreakoutEDU is how it engages students to challenge themselves and work through difficult mathematics without feeling like it. Although I have run many games multiple times, I love that every game is unique. Running the same game, with the same class, minutes apart still produces a different experience and that is so fun.

On this day, with this group of scholars, we found that the teamwork was good, the communication worked, and the breakdown of connecting the ideas of individuals to the whole created opportunity for students to find their First Attempt In Learning (FAIL). We debriefed what went well, and what could have gone differently, we then planned what we might do better this next time and we ran the same game, picking up where we left off.

Students were more determined the second time and knowing the majority of the game, they went back at it for 20 minutes (they had 25 minutes the first time).

With time running down, they were still a little behind, and the teacher was sure she wanted them to experience success (which is usually a good default, especially the first time, I would be less likely to be flexible again). So we paused the time to clarify questions a couple of times and provide guidance to help students be successful.

Pulling together in the final few moments, the students were really good at working together to breakout of the game.

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2017-05-22 – Day 12 – Creating My First 3 Act With Friends

On the Twitters, what started out as a general comment about snacks and a shared love of eating said snacks had lead to a collaboration of creating our ever 3 Act Math Task. The collaboration is awe inspiring and I’m looking forward to this new endeavor.

I even asked the master, Mr. Dan Meyer, and he gave some excellent advices as we build this piece together! It’s very, very exciting and the growth to start giving back, after using these amazing tools created by others.

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2017-05-18 – Day 8 – Rich Task Routines & Fraction Splats

One of the charges my district has taken on requires that we work toward improving math instruction at the 5th-grade level – this grade level has been identified as a severe turning point in the performance and mindset of learners toward mathematics. We are working on ways that will improve instruction and learning experiences so students feel differently about mathematics and themselves.

One of our approaches is incorporating rich tasks for our students to access. The Rich Tasks provide both a better math experience and promote a growth mindset in mathematics.

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The process I am testing is trying to tease out if the students can make connections between their thinking and others. In addition to sharing their thinking and being able to perform some complex mental arithmetic with everyones’ favorite F-word, fractions. I was gifted with two extraordinary teachers that let me try this approach with the amazing Steve Wyborney’s Fraction Splats. I have had huge success in grades 3 through 12 with the fraction splits, so I knew that wouldn’t be an issue, but the questioning and format may be a challenge. The results shown in the video below show the comparison of previous Rich Task Routines with the new version. What do you #NoticeWonder?

Overall, the day felt very successful, the students seemed highly engaged in their learning, and sharing out their thinking. The valuable conversations and having students point to and demonstrate their thinking is huge. The connecting to other people’s thinking may need some direct instruction on, and multiple reps before students are reliably able to tackle this piece.

 

2017-05-14 – Day 4 – Summer Learning

I have been wondering what my learning journey would look like over the summer, and I found my answer today thanks to my amazing #PLN. Starting with Margie’s (@pearse_margie) posting of great summer reads, I first thought about all the books I read without really learning from over the summer. My second thought was a book study would be a great way to make this social and provide some folks to process with, making the learning a truly engaging experience. Then my thoughts went to #MathConceptions, as I was thinking of a slow chat concept over the summer, this would be the perfect way to implement a purposeful slow chat….but what book? Of course, the answer was right in front of me, I read The Writing On The Classroom Wall a year ago, and it has several key ideas I’d like to pull out again. In addition, there seems to me an idea about this idea and misconceptions that are often present in our instruction we could address through the lens of the book. Now just getting sure we’re all on the same page and there are enough people willing to share their thinking…

…Update, now we might even be led by the author! The incredible Steve Wyborney (@SteveWyborney) is willing to jump in and support, maybe lead, our discussions! Oh the learning that will occur, this might be the best summer yet!