Before the sessions began I got to meet some awesome teachers from the elementary school level. We talked math – how exciting. I always get jazzed when I meet elementary teachers who are into teaching math since many lean more towards literacy. It was interesting because they struggle with students understanding that squares are rectangles just as much as I do at the high school level. It also makes me think about my own almost three year old who is learning shapes and knows what a square and a rectangle are and will be expected to know that sometimes they are the same about 7 years from now. It was a great way to start the day.
Formative Assessment Potluck
I get the opportunity to discuss formative assessment as related to math often in the PD that I participate in. However, this discussion included a variety of grade levels and subject matter. I loved that the discussion began talking about Dylan Wiliam’s book, Embedded Formative Assessment. At the South Cook Math Initiative we have done a ton of work with this book so it was awesome to see the work cited at another venue.
Some of the ideas from this session that I liked included:
– sharing a Google document with students during class and everyone is editing
– hold up a Plicker as an exit slip
– use a plicker for attendance as students enter – put the plicker on the back of their ID….just random thoughts
– have students come up with their own questions for my Kahoot
My Favorite Four Letter Word: Math
I actually proposed a session for the first time – and this was it! I was so nervous that I would be the only nerdy math kid to show up and to my surprise, I was not :).
One teacher talked about how they were teaching time at the grade school level. Students went home and took pictures of time pieces along with the time they went to bed and then the students came in the next day and sorted themselves.
Standards Based Learning and Grading
I began this school year with two goals, standards based grading/learning in my classroom and flipping my classroom. Although I made strides toward both of these goals, I did not achieve them by any means. This made me sad. However, I do two things: this is definitely an area that I can improve and that this is a process. This discussion was invigorating and reminded me why I wanted these goals in the first place. Even though I know the goals are lofty, I have new plans to work toward them in this last month of school and work during the summer to make them a reality for next school year. I love the idea of students having a better understanding of what they know and can do with the content and putting the emphasis on learning content as opposed to earning grades.
A quote that will stick with me came from Garnet Hilman who when she talks to math teachers she says, “if you put a number on the top of the paper, your students are focusing on the wrong numbers on the page”
Flipping Your Classroom
I was debating on whether or not to attend this session and am glad that I did. On the docket for my Algebra I class next week includes a flipped lesson. I’m pretty proud that I made my own video for it and I am primed and ready to go. I just need to get in there and get my feet wet because I know that this model will work great for some lessons. Additionally, I hate copied homework or blank homework.
An idea from someone who has already flipped their instruction was to “flip your parent night”. He sends home an “assignment” for his parents to watch a humorous video on how flipped instruction works and parents come to his parent night session and he starts with a Q&A session. Since the parents have already been “prepped” by watching the video, they already have a taste of what their students can expect.
I loved the experience (I always do). I would like to get more involved. I think that I will start with working on getting one of our district professional development days to follow more of an EdCamp model. I’m always inspired after EdCamp and I wish I could say the same about our internal PD.