Friday, August 27, 2010

A gift from Dan

Dan (my hero) has shared a rubric for writing an engaging application problem.  Putting it here for inspiration and so I don't forget about it.
Rubric for Great Application Problems

I realized today that it may take some time to get my endurance back.  For the last two days of workshops, I've been completely exhausted by the end of the day.  It makes me worry that I'm not cut out for this... I think I'm just expecting too many amazing things from myself immediately.  It's okay if I gradually implement new ideas.  One thing I learned today is that I need to take care of my own well-being first or I won't be at my best.  That probably means scaling back my daydreams a bit.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Table of Contents

Thanks to my IRL inspiring teacher, Fiona Brendemuhl, I've created my own list of "Grand Ideas for the School Year".  Gathered from Fiona and my blog readings of this summer, I thought it would be beneficial to get them listed on my blog - it somehow feels like I'm held accountable for implementing them!

  • Teach Integrity - a big task, but I'd like to make it an overarching theme.  I hope to make them want to have integrity but to be able to take ownership when they stumble.  Lofty.  One of my parenting goals too.  Heck, they're all my kids anyway.
  • Integrate previewing upcoming lessons.  Like I've said, it will make instruction so much clearer for everyone.
  • Homework handling - turning in end-of-week packets, self-scored for completion, teacher checks a selection for correctness/method.
  • Modify interesting book problems to be less formula driven (example) and put together a sheet of 4-8 unconventional but doable problems to let students loose with... i.e. not give hints, direction, etc.  Make them do their own thinking
  • Use graphing videos in Precalculus (weekly?) Sweeney and Meyer
  • Keeping up with my reflection blog
  • Communicating learning objectives clearly
  • Greeting students at the door, asking about their lives - will begin to actually care.  :)  Meyer and others
  • Use the Rule of 4 - representing topics verbally, algebraically, numerically, and graphically
  • Use "clock partners" - each student has a clock with 12 possible partners - I tell them what hour for quick pairing
  • Keep reading blogs for inspiration and motivation
  • Have a chapter outline ready at the beginning of each chapter for each class
  • Including questions from previous tests on new tests
So much to remember - it'll have to be phased in.  We'd all be overwhelmed if I did all of this right away!

Back to School

Woke up early this morning and daydreamed about school starting and our new house (we move in October 29th).  I wanted to get thos brilliant sleepy thoughts down before they disappear like the contents of a dream.  Here's how it goes in my head...

First Day:
I write on the board, Wheel of Fortune style:  __    __ __ __ __ __ __
There's a part of your brain that I'm afraid doesn't get enough use, so I'd like to spend this year working on that.  No, it's not the geometry part, it's not the algebra part, don't worry.
__    __ __ N __ __ __
It's the part of your brain that requires extended thought.  It's the part that's responsible for figuring things out.  Not like, "How many letters are in the capitol of South Dakota" figuring things out.  That's too quick and there's really only one way to get the answer.
__   __ __ N __ E __
More like the part of your brain that could tell me whether states with a lot of letters tend to have capitols with fewer letters.  (I may work on these questions...)
__   __ O N __ E __

And my 2-year-old just woke up so this post is put on hold... oh, the suspense!!  This is my life!!
After the ups and downs of the first day of workshop, I'm trying to regain my enthusiasm.  Here goes!

Again, I'd really like to help you grow the part of your brain that figures stuff out when you're unsure.
__    __ O N __ E R
Even if you don't remember the formula for finding the slope between two points, with your new and improved brain, you won't feel stuck.
I    __ O N __ E R
The problems you work on don't have to be math problems, they don't have to have a point, and you wouldn't even have to have a final answer to make the process valuable.
I    __ O N D E R
I've often said that I don't care if my son turns out to be a math genius or a straight A student.
I   W O N D E R
I just want him to have curiosity and an interest in figuring things out.

Now that I type all of this out, I wonder if I will bore the children with all of the teacher-talk.  But, it is the first day and most teachers are probably reading them a syllabus or something.

Oh, did I mention that there is a cup sitting on each of their desks?  :)  We'll enter right into the cup rolling exploration courtesy of Dan Meyer.  dy/dan Glassware

At first, I was only going to do this with Geometry, but I bet my Precalculus kids are also in need of an unconventional problem without an obvious solution technique.  The best part is that I'm not giving them hints!  Again, my inspiration comes from Dan and many others' blogs that helped get me enthused for this year.  I want them to wonder, hypothesize, test, and if we get to it, come to a conclusion.  If not, I love the idea of just moving on.  Do we need an answer?  Couldn't we let it mull around longer?  It's the thinking process, not the answer that's important.

Getting to be a long post.  It almost sounds like I'm ready for Day 1.  Deceiving, huh?  :)