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This is the year!!

I cannot believe the first quarter is coming to a close it seems like school just started. So many wonderful things have occurred in my classroom! In my head I have composed reflections but I have not quite made it to the computer to share. I will definitely come back to share what has been happening in my classroom (one experience is absolutely awesome!)

This summer at NCTM’s institute in Atlanta I was inspired to be a better teacher by focusing on student learning and conceptual understanding. I have vowed to be a better teacher before only to go back to my old ways. This year I have done much better at sticking to my goal! Although, there have been a couple times I caught myself going back to the same boring routine the difference is this year I am committed to making my classroom a community of learners.  I recognize this is a lofty goal especially because I teach (academic) Math 3 which is comprised of 11th and 12th graders so trying to get them to cooperate and work together in teams and talk out loud about math is not an easy task, but I am not giving up!!

 

I have to implement a “rich mathematical task” for my class Interactions in the Mathematics Classroom. The timing for the task falls right in the middle of the rational’s unit which made trying to find a rich mathematical task a bit difficult. I made the decision to use technology, Desmos, to help students determine the vertical asymptotes and the horizontal asymptotes. I created an activity named Quotient of 2 Polynomials and Asymptotes. While building this activity I tried to keep focused on the learning and what it is I want students to understand after this activity? This led to many revisions and a lot of time researching and reading anything I could find about rational expressions, their graphs, and the asymptotes.

 

I feel pretty good about the activity! But is it a “rich mathematical task?” I am not sure. Did I provide too much scaffolding? Does it provide multiple entry points? I am worried students are going to tell me they don’t know what they are supposed to do and give up.

to be continued . . .

Linear Programming

At the beginning of every new school year I make a vow to prepare lessons differently to engage students, get them talking about math, and help them to work collaboratively. But I get stuck and I feel pressure to keep up with my PLT so I go back to what I know and fall in line with my PLT. Now don’t get me wrong I have added and improved interactive notebooks over the last couple of years, added some differentiated activities through mazes. But too many of my students don’t understand what we do in class and fail assessments just reinforcing their fixed mindset that they can’t do math!

So what is going to be different this year? How am I going to keep myself from falling into the same pattern as other semesters/years? One reason is I am going to be accountable through this blog and the other is I have been given a great opportunity to participate in a program at NC State. I spent last week working with some great math teachers in our district creating rich-mathematical tasks, learning how to launch them, and discussing activities that can be used for formative and summative assessment. The best part is we will continue to meet once a week and the book for the class is Jo Boaler’s Mathematical Mindsets. I am excited to make the changes and grow in my profession!

I created a desmos activity for day 2 of the linear programming unit. Day 1 students are given the task “What’s it worth?” from nrich to review linear systems. I need your feedback on how to improve the desmos activity. Here is a link to the activity in desmos, Linear InequalitiesScreenshot 2016-08-18 13.37.12

 

Summer Learning!

I love summer for a number of reasons, but one of the best is the opportunity to grow and learn math! This has been a summer of aha moments that I hope will translate to changes in my teaching but most importantly how the students do math in the classroom.  I am going to do my best to share my journey and hope I can get advice, help, and guidance from the wonderful MTBoS community that I have followed for inspiration and hopefully my journey will add some value the discussions at large.

This summer goals for learning include reading Jo Boaler’s Mathematical Mindsets, attend  NCTM’s 9-12 Institute  in Atlanta and the GAFE Summit in NC. The NCTM Institute and the GAFE Summit were within days of each other resulting in brain overload! Thank goodness I can take my time reading and enjoying Mathematical Mindsets!

The following is the short list of most important take aways from the NCTM’s 9-12 Institute:

  • Procedural Fluency through Conceptual Understanding
  • The most important single factor influencing learning is what the learner already knows. Ascertain this and teach her/him accordingly.
  • Learning is a change in long-term memory.
  • Distributed practice is best for long-term memory.
  • The uncomfortable fact:  Students do not learn what we teach.
  • Teachers spend twice as much time grading as planning – needs to be reversed!
  • Change DOING math into THINKING with math!
  • Finishing is more important than covering!
  • Change Show Your Work to Show Your THINKING.

This is not everything but I promised myself I will keep my posts short otherwise I will never hit that publish button! I hope to hear from you as I share contemplations, plans, and outcomes of the changes in my classroom.

Boaler, J., & Dweck, C. (2016). Mathematical mindsets: Unleashing students’ potential through creative math, inspiring messages, and innovative teaching. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.