Sunday, October 19, 2014

Week 10: 3-2-1 Summary

Sunday Summary

3 accomplishments

-Monthly meeting with the bosses (superintendent and associate superintendent, yikes!) went well.  Our team is doing well, and teachers across the district have positive things to say about the work we are doing.  There are four of us that are teachers-on-special-assignment in my district: Math, Science, Literacy, and BTSA.  I feel fortunate to work with this amazing team of teachers.

-A first meeting with a group of Algebra 2 teachers ended with an (excited) agreement to incorporate TWO common lessons.  Classroom here I come!  One of the lessons is by Dan Greene, via Sam Shah’s website under Virtual Filing Cabinet ->Algebra 2 -> Function Notation/Basics/Composition.  This is one of the most interesting resources I’ve seen lately for teaching some of the dryer math topics(function composition and operations).  The activity starts by giving students about 10 functions to use in order to complete a problem set involving function composition, addition, subtractions, etc.  Below are a few of the given functions.

So if a student is asked to find a(c(9)), they must use the definition of function composition to find the answer.  No memorizing here!  What I like is that there is almost no calculating, freeing up students to focus on conceptual understanding of function basics.   So c(9)=-2, then a(-2)=2, both found by interpreting given info.  What I LOVE is the multiple representations of a function (other functions were given as a graph or in normal function form).

The second common lesson we will teach will be similar to “modeling with trig functions” (previous blogpost).  Same idea about fitting a function to a set of points, but without a context.

 -I completed a four day coaching workshop.  We used the book “Mentoring Matters: A Practical Guide to Learning Focused Relationships” by Laura Lipton and Bruce Wellman.  I highly recommend this book for anyone that works with others in a mentoring capacity.

2 lessons I taught

We are starting to use the formative assessment lessons from MARS this year.  In the past month I worked with a Geometry team on planning and teaching “Parallel and Perpendicular Lines” and “Transforming 2D figures”.  It’s been a great learning experience, and while these lessons take  a bit of time to prep, it is worth it.  I hope to blog about these lessons sometime in the future in terms of challenges and what we learned, and hopefully I will have some words of wisdom as well (not quite there yet). 

1 possible kinda-out-there idea

Have you hear of an "idea dump"?  I came across this on Matt Vaudrey's website this weekend.  He calls it his idea bank, or a stream of consciousness for his classroom.  Matt sends you to his source for how to create an idea dump, which is basically a google form that accepts text messages as input.  The website entry is titled "Idea Dump": Quickly Curate & Share Creativity.  Wow.  I want to do that.  So now I am wondering how hard it would be to get a bunch of members of a department to join the same idea dump.  What would happen if we all texted entries over the course of a month about lessons or strategies that we were excited about?  The obvious answer is that we would have a bank of ideas to discuss and try.  I wonder though if this could be a strategy for bringing a team of teacher together.  Could this idea dump help us develop a shared set of values and a shared vision?  Could it help us prioritize next steps for the group?  Or maybe it would be too many or too few ideas to be useful.  I have no idea.  It's definitely worth running by a few teachers to see if there is any interest.

Don't forget to add your Sunday Summary to the linky at @druinok's blog, Teaching Statistics.

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