Random Thought for Next Year
1) Each Learning Target has a 4 question FA attached to it
| || |
I sure hope I can inspire my students with the elegance, beauty and joy of mathematical connections this year.
Although my team found disaster, since our tower could not stand without our help, we did use a lot of communication skills, problem solving, mathematical sense, and creative thinking to try to make it work. I knew coming up with a simple version of this was the perfect way to introduce my students to the inquiry based model of math instruction they would experience this year.
For both Math 7 and Math 8, I first introduced the concept of WWK (words worth knowing) with the same word: Persevere. Most kids did not immediately know what "persevere" means. However, given the chance to discuss in small groups, in every class, a working definition was formed. I stressed this from the very first day as traditionally, it is a very weak skill most students have when working on difficult problems. That might be the reason "persevere" is prominent in the very first Mathematical Best Practice: make sense of problems and persevere in solving them.
From there, students worked in groups of four to complete the year's first performance task: Building a Paper Tower. I have three classes of Math 7, followed by two classes of Math 8. Given the more sophisticated Math 8 (Pre-Algebra) students, I altered the task slightly for them.
Math 7 Task:
Given 4 sheets of copy paper, and 12" of masking tape, work with your team to create the tallest, freestanding tower possible in 15 minutes. The tower must be able to remain standing for at least 10 seconds.
Math 8 Task:
Given 4 sheets of copy paper, and 12" of masking tape, work with your team to create the tallest, freestanding tower possible in 20 minutes. The tower must be able to support 5 pennies and the pennies must be at least 10 cm from the table. The tower must be able to remain standing for at least 10 seconds.
I created a table on the front board to display the results from each group through the day. Interestingly, each hour took it as a challenge to beat the previous record. So, the towers continued to get taller and taller. In fact, I expected the towers from the last two classes of Math 8 students to end up significantly shorter since they had to support 5 pennies. However, the tallest tower of the day was from Math 8 students. To me, this is a perfect example of raising your expectations of kids and they will meet those expectations.
The biggest problem is that the kids that hurt the most have developed behaviors that make it difficult for them to be loved or even make the most basic connections with adults. They are the ones that are most frustrating to teachers, cause the most disruptions, and require a disproportionate amount of our teaching time to manage their behavior. It's not easy to have a class of thirty kids, with 3-5 chronically misbehaving kids taking all of our attention away from the "real" instruction we're supposed to be providing. For so many of these kids, the struggle is having control and they will do whatever necessary to maintain control, even at the expense of embarrassment or consequences.
As an adoptive mom, raising a child from a very hurtful start on life, I've learned so much. There is no easy path to helping these children, and no easy answers. My husband and I learned very early on that it does, indeed take a village to raise a child and for our daughter, her village is very, very large. She's lucky.
As more is learned about the human brain and influences of stress, it's more clear that even neonatal trauma or stress can have profound effects on the lifelong emotional and behavioral life of a child. Very often, what seems like outlandish, defiant behavior is actually a symptom of PTSD, or related psychological issues.
While many of our students are not as fortunate to have the very large village that my child has, they are lucky to have US. For many students, school IS their village. If we approach behavior management from a place of understanding the behavior and helping these students manage their strong emotions, we can possibly avoid the downward spiral that prevents so many of these kids from escaping their circumstances through a meaningful education.
A letter from a teacher to parents about "that" kid in the class click HERE.
Article: "Schools May Be the Best Place to Address PTSD in Young People" article HERE.
A list of resources to help educators help students affected by trauma HERE.
The premise behind FuturePrep is to bring together a team of students to solve a real problem a local business needs solved. Teachers receive training in the Creative Process and how to be facilitators, allowing the students to drive the instruction.
The middle school program is one week long, with the team learning their Driving Question (problem to be solved) on Monday and giving a formal presentation of their proposed solution to the business on Thursday afternoon. On Friday, all student teams give their final presentation to a panel of judges to show what they have learned over the week as well as their solution to the Driving Question:
How do we communicate the value of a second life battery?
The Creative Process:
1) Introduction and 2) Observation
3) Investigation, 4) Incubation, 5) Solutions and Decision
Students interview Cate Siler and Jennifer Sierra about their family business and the influence of their father, Hana Sybesma:
The Solution: Allow Hank Sybesma to share his ideas on how using second life lithium ion batteries can change the world via a Ted Talk.
Hank Sybesma's Ted Talk trailer:
There were many common areas with seating and a monitors that allow students to connect to their portable device.
Classrooms have glass walls, opening to the common areas and to joining classrooms. Chairs are movable and tables can easily be reconfigured to accommodate different groupings of students.
The rolling chairs have rounded shelf above the wheels for a student's belongings. This allows students to move quickly and easily and for their stuff to stay out of the way.
The glass wall of the physics classroom had giant posters showing several Driving Questions that students have investigated. Each included an average student rating at the bottom.
Message on the wall in common area:
The task kicking off the Systems of Equations Unit is a 3-Act task called "Playing Catch-Up." A link to the task is here http://threeacts.mrmeyer.com/playingcatchup/
Notes for this task:
- Not all students will have prior knowledge about the 40 yd dash in football.
- Good task for one class period.
- You will be asked to watch the video many, many, many times
Overheard during this task:
- From one team member to another "But, we have to have proof."
- "Would the half speed be divided by two, or times two?"
- "How can we use a graphing calculator to put in an equation and get a table of values?"
Leaving a Trail:
We are on edge of something new and amazing. Where will this new path take us?
ISN= interactive student notebook
WWK= words worth knowing
PT= performance task
More Than Math
Reflects On Teaching
More Than Math
Reflects On Teaching
More Than Math
Reflects On Teaching