Thursday, July 28, 2016

Presenting Desmos... Need Feedback Please!

Hello #MTBOS!!

I'm super excited and extremely nervous for my FIRST EVER presentation to a group of teachers at our summer institute. I have been just a teacher in the crowd for several years now at our summer professional development and this year I thought it was time for me to step up my game. I figured what doesn't kill you only makes you stronger. I'll be presenting two different sessions; this blog will focus on my session called Teaching with Desmos. I'm looking for feedback on my presentation slides. Do I have enough information? Is the transitions between ideas smooth? Is there anything I could explain better? Am I forgetting any really important information?

Teaching with Desmos

You can find my slides here. There are tons of links as I will be providing them with the slide presentation at the end of the session so that can continue to learn more after we meet. Thanks ahead of time! Looking forward to some constructive criticism.

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Creating "Classroom/Student" Morale

I read a blog post recently by Elissa over at misscalcul8 on creating an environment and activities in your school that help increase teacher morale and I want to do the same thing but for my classroom and students.

So what is my plan...

Step 1 - Make a bridge between home life and school life
Call home to speak with parents about upcoming year and request two things: a family photo to remind students of their support system and a letter of encouragement to the child to be presented in the first week of school.


Step 2 - Take a class photo
The first week of school I want to take a photo of each class to post in our room. I'm thinking maybe on the first day have them make posters with encouraging messages and then we can hold them up in our photo. My idea is maybe have the journalism teacher take the photo of each class out on the football field.

Step 3 - Create a class twitter page (If approved by our county -- prayers please)
I want to have a place where our students can share math beyond just the four walls of my classroom. I want them to create a professional learning network like the #MTBoS is for us.

My thoughts are that instead of homework I'll give out one problem per night maybe in class or over twitter and students that want to join in can and post their problems to our class account. The next day I want to use those problems to choose "my favorite no" problem to reinforce error analysis. I'm hoping that students will see this as it's ok to make mistakes and the point is I want them to try. I might use the slogan "no one ever learned to ride a bike without falling off" in my class this year. I want them to get away from the fear of answering wrong and working closer to being confident in the attempts.

Step 4 - Choosing at least one good thing and calling home about it weekly (maybe 3 students - start small and work my way up over time)
It is so important to call parents to tell them that their child did something good but often times we get overloaded and only call when a student has done something wrong. I want to change this now instead of later. Make time Christie!!!

Step 5 - Make scheduled tutoring a priority
One semester I called home every few weeks to ask parents if their child could stay after school for tutoring and I want to do this again. Our school now has title one funding and we are using a portion to fund after school tutoring for EOC and ACT prep. If possible I want to see if I can bring in more students from my other classes to get help.

The biggest thing is just being their for my students. They need to know someone is in their corner and not going to give up on them.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Explain Everything & 3 Act Math Lessons

For many of us we get lost on technology and how to use it in our classrooms daily. Here is one way that I use mine so that maybe you can be inspired to research ways that you would like to use your resources.

The technology that I currently have in my classroom consist of:
1 Brightlink Board
1 iPad
1 Apple TV
1 Dell Laptop

This past year we were lucky to receive title 1 funding and this coming year as well so I may be blessed with more technology in the future. Here is a breakdown of how I use my technology currently. But I'm always looking for new ideas so if you have any please comment below!!

On a basic day I use it as my whiteboard from my iPad since we have AppleTVs to send the information wireless to the projector. I like having the option to record anything that I discuss up on the board. My plan this past year was to record multiple problems but I got busy and forgot most times. I'm hoping to record more often this coming year so that students can watch our lesson multiple times if they need extra time or practice. 

I hate textbooks (I always have -- too wordy & too much information for someone that wants to go straight to the point like me). So, I make my own student guided notes and I use explain everything to upload the pdf files into the program and annotate on top of them. I save these files and put them on the internet on my topic list page that students that review or copy if they were absent for the lesson. 

My newest venture with Explain Everything is incorporating the 3 Act Math Lessons that were created by Dan Meyer and others. I created multiple slides that I can scroll through when I'm ready to jump over to the next act. I also created slides (Notice & Wonder) that goes right after the video or picture in act 1 so we can communicate and document what we see and are curious about. Depending on the math that we will use I might have a slide that uses the internet to pull in desmos to calculate our mathematics then screen shot the final image into the video to save. After we have determine our solutions we will jump to the next slide which has act3 the answer. I found that in solving many of these 3 act problems my calculations were not exactly the same as the answer and so I put in a final slide (Actual & Calculated) to discuss if our answers are different why might they be different. I'm happy with the product because it seems to give a smooth transition between acts and the discussion in class. I'm always looking for ways to implement my teaching and resources so that students do not get distracted or get off task as quickly. I hope this set up will avoid some of those issues. 

Here is a video I created with a 3 Act Math Lesson created by Nora Oswald on Super Mario Bros.

Another idea I started while teaching summer school was to use the iPad to take pictures of student work and upload them into Explain Everything so we could annotate over them. I really like this because I focused on student mistakes and trying to teach them it was a process not a bad thing. I want to stress this so much next year because so often students are afraid to mess up. I want them to realize it's the analyzing their mistakes and fixing them that is so important. If they never mess up they can never analyze. True joy in the math classroom comes from struggling and perseverance.