Shine a Light on Math

Look at what we are doing in Math class.

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OUR JOURNEY in 2017-18

If you are viewing this page, then you are interested in how our math teachers are journeying through the changes as we move from a traditional classroom setting to a learner centered environment with many resources and student choices. Did you notice that I didn't focus on the digital piece? It's not all about the students getting a digital device. The laptop is just a tool. Some days it is appropriate for the lesson, other days it is not.

Early on in our journey, I decided that our story needed to be told, and if our story was to be told, I wanted our math teachers to be the authors of that story. As you read our story, start with the tabs on the left to see previous years, then start at the bottom of this page and work up. The entries are placed with the most recent happenings at the top, after all that's the most up to date information that you want repeat visitors to see first!

If you are a teacher setting out on a similar journey, don't expect your path to be the same as ours. Every journey is different. Even within our team of math teachers we are all approaching this transition in different ways and different speeds - and that's OK!

A Thoughtful Reflection

It is now the end of February and I realize I have not added any new thoughts to this page this year. We have been so entrenched in just doing, that I have not taken time to reflect.

Today I had the opportunity to step back and think about the progress we have made in this transition of teaching and learning. My 8th grade Geometry class was working on a review for a unit test today. Four years ago before we became a Lighthouse School, I would have given the class a set of problems from the end of the chapter in the book one day or we would have played a Jeopardy game as a class. Book work can be boring. A class run Jeopardy game can be a good review for the handful of kids who are vocal and participating. The rest may get some benefit from listening, but they are not truly engaged.

Today as my students reviewed ...

I had several groups playing the Jeopardy Game which was posted as a PowerPoint file on a Lesson Tile in BCPS One. Each group was working at their own pace and since there were only a few students playing each game, everyone was involved in the discussion. The document will still be available to students who may want to go back and review the problems again tonight on their own as further study for the test.
students playing jeopardy

students playing jeopardy

students playing jeopardy

There were two pairs of students working on practice with writing proofs using a ActiveNspire flipchart that was posted on the class web page in BCPS One. The flipchart allows the students to drag the proof steps to the two column proof and then move to another page to check their answers. These flipcharts were posted at the beginning of the unit and will be available through the end of the year so students can go back a practice again as needed or use the practice to prepare for the final exam.
students working on proofs

students working on proofs

There was one student working on the book pages and researching Geometry ideas on Google.
student using google

There was one student who had been absent who was working on make up work using the online textbook.
student using online textbook

Two other students were able to complete a REDO for a previous Learning Check in this unit.
students completing a REDO

I've been doing this job for several decades now. When I think back to the beginning of my career and the most exciting thing I could use was an overhead projector and we played Jeopardy using paper taped to the chalkboard, I realize how far we have come. Today I had four distinct activities going on in the same room. Activities that the students had selected themselves. Most of the options were possible because of the digital options available to us. I am so grateful for the learning opportunities available to us that were not even possible a few years ago. I know that we are still learning how to use the technology effectively, but today was an awesome day in math class.

Getting Ready for the New School Year

School year 2017-18 will be the first year that ALL of our students will have a laptop device to use everyday in class and at home. Now that we have two years under our belts using the devices with our 6th and 7th graders, I think we are better prepared for incorporating digital assets into lessons in a meaningful way.
This year we are going to try to have our Geometry students use Flipcharts for notetaking and Desmos and GeoGebra for geometry constructions. Last year the 7th grade Algebra students had the opportunity to work with Desmos after we discovered the many amazing tools offered. We first tried Desmos with the exponential and quadratic units. I am looking forward to using it all year starting with the linear unit. This year all of our Algebra students in both grade 7 and 8 will benefit from this tool.