Monday, February 25, 2013

Mathematical Practice Standards

Completed one part of our “homework”--analyzing one of my Algebra lessons using the Practice Standards Rubric (here).  I had to see how my lesson fit all 8 of the practice standards:  
  1. Make sense of problems and persevere in solving them
  2. Reason abstractly and quantitatively
  3. Construct viable arguments and critique the reasoning of others
  4. Model with mathematics
  5. Use appropriate tools strategically
  6. Attend to precision
  7. Look for and make use of structure
  8. Look for and express regularity in repeated reasoning

It was challenging to think through all of it in the context of one lesson.  It made me feel incompetent because I felt low in many areas, but I kept reminding myself that it is impossible to address all of the standards in one lesson. 

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Classroom Assessment for Student Learning

I borrowed “Classroom Assessment for Student Learning” (by Rick Stiggins) from another teacher at the high school and began reading it.  I feel as though it is a good foundation for both our district professional development and this project.

I want to improve the quality of my learning targets as I continue to develop units.  To ensure that they are at a variety of levels, that they align well to the standards, and that my students can understand them.  I also want to make sure that my assessments are clearly aligned to those learning targets and the instruction I have given.  I felt that this book would me to be able to do some of these things.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Day 1

I attended day one of our Tiered Algebra 1 Action-Research Project.  We got an overview of the project including the components that will be involved:  Iowa Core Standards, Standards-Based Grading, and Tiered Instruction.

We spent a lot of time discussing the tiered instruction because that is the newest idea for most of us.  This is based off of RTI, or Response to Intervention, a method used to keep students performing at grade-level and provide assistance when they fall behind.  There is not much information published about implementing RTI at a high school level, especially for mathematics, so we took a look at the basic structure of the program.

We will provide three tiers of instruction.  The first is universal.  All students receive the first tier of instruction.  The second tier is for some students (10-20%) that for a lack of a better phrase are "chronic mathematics strugglers".  These students need to receive an additional 30 minutes of instruction everyday in small groups (7-10 students).  The third is for a few students (1-5%) who have IEP math goals, with additional mathematics instruction written into their IEPs.  These students will also receive an additional 30 minutes of instruction everyday in even smaller groups (1-3 students) with a special education instructor).

Oh to think of all the scheduling issues this creates!  Thankfully our math department had already been discussing the need for intervention and brainstorming ways to make it work.  All that brainstorming with this guidance for how best to help those students allowed us to see this not as an impossibility, but a challenge we would have to work around.