Sunday, August 25, 2013

Section 1.1 of ISN

I just posted about what I thought my ISNs were going to look like.  This post is here and was written in July, but I didn't publish it until just now.  I guess because I was a little bit scared.  Anyway, as a follow-up to that post, I would like to share what our ISNs look like now that school has actually started.

Section 1.1 Set-Up
As part of our first day lesson, students created 5 numbers about them (I wrote about it here).  Then this week we turned it into their back cover of their notebooks, like Kathryn (not me :) blogged about here.  I didn't give the kids too much time to do it, so we were kind of rushed, but it helped that they already had their numbers picked out.  Here is mine:
 I'm working on covering all their notebooks with packing tape this weekend...what a job!

The first thing we put into our notebooks is on page 5.  I want to do a "title" page on page 1 and a table of contents on page 3, so I had them tape the syllabus onto page 5

And their first foldable was glued onto page 6.  This is about classroom expectations for different ways that we learn in class.  We filled out the inside one part at a time so it wasn't so overwhelming!

The on page 7, we started our first section.  I decided to name all of my sections with an essential question.  Mine aren't great EQs, but hopefully it will put pressure on me to continue improving them :)  So on page 7 we taped in our tab and title:
The tab goes onto the back (so onto page 8) for extra support.  Then also page 8 is our pocket for the section.  So beautiful!  Students have pretests in there already!

On page 9 we put our section TOC and score tracker.  I put the dates into the one that is in my notebook.  But as I said in earlier posts, I use this same template for each student.  I might show off my gradebook in more detail once I get going.  Here is a place for students to track their own scores.
Those things will be at the beginning of each section:  tab, pocket, and score tracker.  We should be able to set them up a lot quicker from here on out since students are more familiar with it now. (I can hope at least, right?)

Section 1.1 Notes (Part 1)
Next comes our notes.  I ended up deciding that it was OK to have input on the left and output on the right.  Hopefully no one will be too upset.  Here is our first page of "real" notes.  Learning target at the top, vocab words flash-card style, and a student-created list of words to use when describing levels of accuracy and precision.

We did a station activity and students had to discuss all 6 stations, but only write a response to one.  Then they handed them in.  The next day I gave them back with comments.  They glued their original onto the next page and wrote a better response below based off of my comments.

We have one more page of notes started.  Here is what that page of notes looks like:
I have an idea about what we are going to do on the next page, but it's not fully developed.  I better get going on that as it will be part of tomorrow's lesson!

Thanks to everyone whose blogs about their ISNs inspired parts of this post.  Your ideas sat in my head for a long time before I could put them to work in a way that I felt was best for me.  I am super excited about the notebooks and how it is already helping with organization!  Students haven't yet asked me for any new copies of things I've handed out :)

Oh wait, I forgot to share how we are storing them.  I am letting students keep them in the classroom.  Mostly because I decided I didn't want to fight the homework battle any more so I will not be requiring students to complete much homework this year. I picked up a trick from our language arts teacher and loved that the notebooks fit in.  Here is a pic from before school started:
Now all the folders have tabs with student names.  I put them entirely in alphabetical order based on last name and placed the tabs in a certain spot based on which period they are in my class.  Easy to find what I need quickly :)  They put their notebooks in before they leave and pick them up again on their way into class the next day.  It is also wonderful for getting needed papers to students who were absent...just slip it in the folder!  But if using to store notebooks, you do need quite a few crates so they are not overstuffed.  I have 4 for 87 students, but I think another one is in order...

Thanks for reading!

Saturday, August 24, 2013

My Perspectives

When I decided I wanted to become a math teacher, I had a certain perspective of what math education looked like and what it involved from teachers, students, parents, and administration.  Throughout my years in college, I continued to have a very similar perspective.  Maybe a few of my ideas were challenged, but my overall perspective of mathematics education was the same.

Then I became a teacher.  I became a teacher in a specific school, to a specific group of students, working with specific coworkers.  Some of my views were challenged in a way that allowed me to actually wrestle with the ideas.  I began the slow process of changing my perspective.

Then I became a proud member of the #MTBoS.  I still had my specific school, students, and coworkers, but I had more.  I had constant access to a community dedicated to math education.  Many of my views were challenged in a way that allowed me to actually wrestle with the ideas.  I began the quick process of changing my perspective.

My love for math education has allowed driven my perspective of math education to completely change.  And I love my new perspective of math education just as much as my first perspective.  Maybe I even love it more.

Monday, August 19, 2013

#Made4Math - Teacher Lesson Plan Book

Here is my best #Made4Math post ever! (I spent many hours on this.)


Just this summer I have become a teacher who can create the things she needs.  And I am finally here to share about my lesson plan book that I created!  Following the advice of master creators @druinok and @algebrainiac1, I started in powerpoint.

Here is the cover:

Isn't it SOOO beautiful?!?!  Then I put in some important docs behind the cover:  my schedule, the school's schedules, district calendar, a sheet protector for me to put class rosters into, and the phone extension list.

My font is Socially Awkward from
My background is from ColourLovers, following the directions from @mathtastrophe posted here.

I have three sections, the first is a calendar and lesson plans.  I actually pretty much copied the calendar from what @druinok shared here, but wanted a different set up for lesson plans, so made my own.

Following each month are weekly lesson plans.  One 2-page spread for each Monday of the month.

The "other" is where I will likely put in attendance.  I had a place I did that last year, and I didn't want to lose it, and I think it will work well there.

I also used white and purple paper, switching every other by month.  I thought it would be easier to identify where I was that way.  And it makes it beautiful.  (I have a ton of purple paper anyway...)
So here's September in purple :)

Next I have my curriculum... I have had many posts about that, so I think I'll skip ahead to Meeting Notes!

I modified my meeting notes pages depending on the meeting type.  Here are a couple examples:  we have faculty meetings once a week, and they are usually about a 1/2 hour.  I thought 4/page was okay and allowed me one page/month.  Easy to know all weeks are accounted for (ignoring the fact that some months might have 5 Tuesdays).  

Our Tiered Algebra Meetings are once/month for the entire day, so I knew I needed more space.  But we also meet as a school once/month, so I made it two/page, with the back blank for a workspace if needed. Still easy to make sure the whole year was covered.

I have more meetings, so there are more pages, but I didn't want to bore you with them all, so check the links at the bottom if you want.

When I had all my beauties printed off, I headed to Office Max.  I had my cover and the section covers laminated, then they added the back and bound it with a spiral.  I am thrilled with the outcome.  (It cost about $1 for each lamination and $5 for the binding.) And the Office Max worker was wonderful.  It was fast and he knew what I wanted and didn't make me feel crazy!  Then when I went to pay, the girl at the till was asking me about it because she's a pre-service teacher.  It was awesome to be able to share it with her!

And now that school is here, I have been using it and I love it.  I'm so proud taking it to meetings :)

Here are the files if you are interested.  It is at least a starting place if you want your own!  You should be able to download the originals documents from these links.
Calendar/Lesson Plans
Meeting Notes


Saturday, August 17, 2013

Day 1 Lessons

Build up:

I had all summer to plan my first few days, but I just couldn't find the perfect thing.  At my school, all teachers are required to hand out the syllabus day 1, but I didn't want to spend the whole time reading it.  Last year I focused on procedures at the beginning, this year I wanted to focus more on relationships with my students and math.  I have heard from all my blog-reading that it is OK to save procedures for a few days.

So I set out to search for some good lessons.  While watching the #globalmath session My Favorites (you can view it here), I got lots of good ideas.  I knew right away that @misterpatterson 's Spaced Out sticky note lesson (you can find it an other lessons here) would be AMAZING for my intervention students.  It would address number sense and the usefulness of Algebraic thinking.  It is a perfect fit with my first unit as it also asks students to create an expression for a situation.  There were lots of other great ideas, so I followed links provided by @jreulbach to look at what other people have done on the first day. I ended up really enjoying the By the Numbers introduction that I found from @AmberDCaldwell here.  I thought I could tie it into the decorating ISNs I have seen.

So here's what I did:

For my topics/intervention classes, I modified Spaced Out to meet my student's needs a little bit better.  Here is a link to the document I used:  Spaced Out (modified by me) .  I gave a brief introduction to myself and the class and then had the students begin working.

Spaced Out (modified by me)
I really had to clarify the rule about the space on the ends being the same as the space in the middle.  It seemed a little hard for them to understand, but once they figured it out they started going.  No one was super excited about it, but when they got close and I told them they weren't being accurate enough, then they started to get that determination to succeed.  I only had 1 group (out of 4-5) in each period "pass" level one on the first day.  I made them write notes to themselves so that they would be ready to go on Friday.  For the most part on Thursday the only assistance I gave was checking their measurements and asking questions like:  What have you tried?  Why didn't it work?  Was it too much space or not enough?  What are you going to try next?

After watching my students working through levels 1 and 2 on Thursday and Friday, I wish I had added a level between 2 and 3 that was something like this:  A table is 300 cm long, how much space will be between the five sticky notes?  Hopefully that would push them toward think algebraically instead of just through guess and check.  We will finish it up on Monday.  I set them up at the end of the day on Friday with a hint about calculating the space rather than guess and check; I'm hoping that will get things moving a little more quickly on Monday.

In my Algebra classes I used a Mrs. Freed By the Numbers matching activity to introduce myself a little bit more.  Here is what they saw:
In their group they had to assign a number to each description.  After we finished I asked them to think of 5 numbers that describe them and share them with me.  That was their "exit ticket" on day one.  Hopefully on Monday we will turn their 5 numbers into the back of their ISNs :)

I did also introduce ISNs and give them their syllabus.  I showed them how it folds up so that we can tape it into their notebooks.  Looking forward to doing that with them on Monday when I set the deadline for having a composition book!

Thanks for reading about my first days!

Monday, August 12, 2013

#Made4Math - Labeled Binder Clips

Here we go! Another #Made4Math Monday post :)

My project this week is very simple, but also very helpful.  I'm sure some of you could take this and do way more, but I wasn't up for that this time.

My inspiration came from these beautiful binder clips I have had since I student taught.  I believe I got them at Office Depot.  
They are amazing because they have the days of the week printed on them!  They are really good for using when I make copies ahead of time.  But most of my daily paper managing is class to class.  So I wanted ones that had different period numbers on them.  Specifically 4th, 5th, 6th, and 7th.  So I got together some supplies:

Binder clips, stickers I got at Dollar Tree, a box cutter (scissors might work if they are really sharp), and a sharpie.  From here, you can probably figure out what to do.  I put the sticker on the binder clips:
Folded it down each side:
Cut along the edge as straight as I could (repeat):
And labeled them:
Then do it for however many you want.  Here's my finished product.
I'm not exactly sure how useful they will be, but it took all of 15 minutes to make, so if I want them I have them.  I use my day ones all the time, and I think I still have them all, so that's a good sign!

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Day 5

Today (well, yesterday by the time this is published) was Day 5 of our local Algebra Project.  We spent almost the entire morning discussing AAIMS as we will (hopefully) be using the Concept Analysis test as both an Algebra 1 Universal Screener and probe.  I'm hesitant about its potential for effectiveness as it is not written for Common Core Algebra 1, but I'm trying to stay positive.  We are getting to use it for free, which is pretty awesome.

We also talked today about what we wanted the structure of our Tiered classes to look like.  This was really hard for me to think about for some reason...all I can really say is opening, middle, closing, but I think they wanted us to develop a little bit more of a structure with options for fill-ins in certain areas. I'm still not sure where I'm at with it, even though we discussed it before and after lunch!  I know that I'm going to include LOTS of error analysis in my Algebra classes this year.  I hope that it will help them to become better mathematicians, but I don't really feel like that has much to do with structure of the lesson..  I also hope to assess each individual student in my Topics classes (tier 2) each day formatively, but our AEA staff recommended even something written from them to assess (formatively) daily.  I hadn't necessarily thought of needing something written, but maybe that would hold me more accountable to getting that formative assessment on an individual level.

We read a summary of guiding principles for intervention time.  The summary included the following:  scaffolding, explicit instruction, multiple strategies, gradual release, student interaction, meaningful practice, assessment & differentiation, vocabulary & language, and learning targets.  It was nice to have that summary because now as I plan each lesson/unit for my topics classes I can just look through that list almost as a checklist.  "Am I doing this?"  It will be good guidance if I get stuck as well!

We also looked at a rubric for Best Practices in Grading.  I really like this rubric, although I don't know who created it, so I can't credit them!  (Sorry...if you are reading this and you created that rubric, please send me a message so that I can credit are awesome!)  The rubric seems aligned with all the grading research I've read so far.  I don't really have any disagreements with it at this time.  It was also reaffirming to have the changes I've decided to make reflected in the rubric in a positive way.  Progress feels good!

We completed a what do we need list.  We put down everything we could think of because they said it was our only chance to get what we need.  We feel like we've made a lot of changes in our district for this project, changes that many other school are not making, so we also want the support to make sure that it will be successful.  It is important to me that this is beneficial to students.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Unit 5 LTs (draft)

Well, here I am again, asking your advice on my learning targets!  But the difference today is that this is the last time :)  Here you go!


Section 5.1:  Graphing and Interpreting Quadratic Functions
                Standards Addressed:  F.IF.4, F.IF.5, F.IF.6, F.IF.7, F.IF.8, F.BF.1
5.1A:  I can find the intercepts and extrema for a quadratic function (in any form).
5.1B:  I can graph a quadratic function using the intercepts and extrema.
5.1C:  I can interpret the meaning of intercepts and extrema of a function used to model a situation.
5.1D:  I can calculate and interpret the meaning of the slope between two points of a function used to model a situation.

Section 5.2:  Comparing Functions
                Standards Addressed:  N.RN.3, F.IF.9, F.BF.3, F.BF.4, F.LE.3
5.2A:  I can compare properties of two functions (in any form).
5.2B:  I can describe and identify translations that determine function families.

5.2C:  I can find inverses of linear functions (in any form).

  • All but three of the standards in this unit were addressed previously in unit 2.  In this unit they are to be extended to quadratics.
  • I kind of would like to throw 5.1D in with 5.1A and C, but I couldn't get the wording right and so then I questioned whether it actually fit or not.  Thoughts?
  • I honestly feel like this was the easiest unit...maybe that's because I'm to the point where I'm not as worried about perfection as I was at the beginning...?  Maybe that means this unit is awful...?
Once again, I ask for your feedback.  I want to know what needs to happen to make these awesome for my students.  I appreciate you taking the time to read these!  Thanks, and once again remember...ALL DONE!


Monday, August 5, 2013

Unit 4 LTs (draft)

I still have a million thoughts whirling around in my head about Unit 3 based off of comments and twitter conversations, but onto Unit 4 I must go!


Section 4.1:  Polynomial Operations and Modeling
                Standards Addressed:  A.SSE.1, A.APR.1, A.CED.1, A.CED.2
4.1A:  I can add and subtract polynomials.
4.1B:  I can multiply polynomials.
4.1C:  I can create equations to model situations and use them to solve problems in the context of the situation.

Section 4.2:  Zeros of Quadratics Algebraically
                Standards Addressed:  A.SSE.2, A.SSE.3, A.CED.4, A.REI.4, A.REI.7
4.2A:  I can find zeros of quadratic functions by taking the square root.
4.2B:  I can find zeros of quadratic functions by factoring.
4.2C:  I can find zeros of quadratic functions by completing the square.
4.2D:  I can find zeros of quadratic functions by using the quadratic formula.

4.2E:  I can solve an equation/formula for a specified variable.

  • Do I really need 4.2A?  I'm looking at A.REI.4b, which says students solve by inspection, taking square roots, completing the square, the quadratic formula, and factoring.  Well, that's a lot, so I feel like it needs more than one LT, but not 5!  And to me if you solve by CTS you are taking a square root...would basic square root equations build up to CTS?  I would prefer 4 LTs to 5 in that section...thoughts?
  • I'm a little confused about how I can fully meet A.SSE.3 and A.CED.2 which both have graphing components when most of the graphing standards aren't until Unit 5 (F.IF.7, F.BF.3, and many others).  We will likely do all our graphs by plotting points or using technology for Unit 4. 
  • Last year when we found zeros of quadratic functions we did algebraically, numerically, and graphically all together.  I'm a little sad that they are split up here.  :(  I like drawing all the connections, but it will have to wait to Unit 5.
Please give feedback by commenting below or tweeting me (@kathrynfreed).  I really appreciate how much everyone has helped me so far with processing these.  Every time I think my brain is over-capacity with thoughts on standards and learning targets somebody will make a comment that gets me thinking again!

For those of you who have been walking through this entire journey with me, there is only one unit left!  Hang in there!


Friday, August 2, 2013

Unit 3 LTs (draft)

I promised Unit 3 LTs by the end of the week, and I think I made it on time :)  There's nothing like cutting it close.  I had hoped to have units 4 and 5 done by this time as well, but we'll just have to see where I can get.

Here they are.  More thoughts at the bottom!


Section 3.1:  One-Variable Statistics
                Standards Addressed:  S.ID.1, S.ID.2, S.ID.3
3.1A:  I can create plots (dot, box, histogram) to represent data.
3.1B:  I can find and interpret the mean, median, IQR, and standard deviation.
3.1C:  I can compare the shape, spread, and center of data sets using the mean, median, IQR, and standard deviation.

Section 3.2:  Two-Variable Categorical Data
                Standards Addressed:  S.ID.5
3.2A:  I can create a two-way frequency table for categorical data with two categories.
3.2B:  I can find and interpret relative frequencies (joint, marginal, and conditional) in the context of the data.

Section 3.3:  Two-Variable Quantitative Data
                Standards Addressed:  S.ID.6, S.ID.7, S.ID.8, S.ID.9
3.3A:  I can represent data with a scatter plot.
3.3B:  I can find a line of best fit and use it to solve problems in the context of the data.
3.3C:  I can interpret the meaning of the slope and the intercepts.
3.3D:  I can find and analyze the meaning of the residuals and the correlation coefficient.

3.3E:  I can make inferences about correlation and causation.

  • It makes sense to me to study 1-variable statistics separately, so I'm mostly OK with the organization of 3.1.  We did get a quite decent twitter conversation on whether or not students should be required to calculate standard deviation by hand.  Any further comments on that are welcome.  Thank you to those who already participated and gave me ideas.
  • I had planned on doing all two-variable statistics as one section, but there is a lot there!  And it seems weird to me to have 1 standard on categorical data when the rest are on quantitative data.  Hard for me to make that fit well.  There is so much with the quantitative data though that I couldn't combine them.  I hate having 5 LTs in one section (it feels so big) but I feel like I still haven't done the standards justice.  Also I think Section 3.2 being so short will provide an opportunity for a different structure of class.  Maybe we will do a project assessment instead of a test
Please, please, please leave your thoughts in the comments or tweet me (@kathrynfreed) Like I have said with every other unit, I really truly want to make these the best goals I can for my students.  I appreciate all of your feedback whether praising my awesome-ness (not usually) or giving me advice for improvement (usually), I really like how you guys can always make me think more--even when I think my brain is dead!  Thanks for that!