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.

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