My Math Class Weblog

August 27, 2008

We started our notebooks today!

Filed under: Interactive Math Notebooks,Interactive Notebooks — KymInKorea @ 2:03 am

My school made a wonderful attempt at making sure the schedules were 99% set before school started. So the first day of school (where all classes were visited) went by very quickly. The 2nd day of school involved us setting up our notebooks.  I’m happy to say that only 10 of my students were unable to set up their notebook because they didn’t have one. I know you may be saying, what a wonderful thing, but the truth of the matter is that if I hadn’t purchased forty (40) notebooks over the summer, I would have around 50 students not having their notebook. I sold out of notebooks by second period.  So I thought no big deal, I’ll go back and purchase some more. Little did I know that every parent of a school age child also thought to go purchase their child’s school supplies. I could find no college-ruled (good quality) composition notebook. So I ended up paying double for graph paper notebooks, and only getting a limited supply bummer!

So anyway, I gave them a handout that basically covered pages 1-35, and we started on page 37 with our notes for Unit 1.  The only hitch in everything was the fact that I didn’t have enough scissors so people were waiting on others.  The people who didn’t have a notebook did some alphabetizing, collecting trash, passing out papers, etc … to keep them busy. But they do know that it is there responsibility to set up their notebook before next class. For homework, i had them work on their table of contents.


August 22, 2008

How I Lesson Plan Part 1

My first four years I think I wrote one lesson plan. Every day I taught was a last minute struggle.  Don’t get me wrong, I always covered all of the material by the end of the school year, but I definitely wasn’t as efficient as I should have been. The main problem was that I was not as organized as I needed to be.  Throughout the years, I have improved in my teacher organization and I have experienced the benefits. But if you’re not an organized teacher, but would like to be, I decided to write out how I lesson plan.

First I start off deciding which topics I will cover.  The decisions I make involve the order they fall in, how long I will spend, and what subtopics will be covered.  I did all of this on a paper calendar for which I have already penciled in the school holidays and any sub days I know in advance I will be attending.   This year I have started that process with Google Calendar.  I did this because you can’t lose Google Calendar like you can lose papers.  Google Calendar is also easily updated and because I work on several different computers in a day, I can keep track and have readily accessible calendar information.  Thankfully, my district put together a pacing calendar for each subject and it allows me not to have to reinvent the wheel.

I plan grading cycles at a time. No need to plan for a week when you can plan for six.  It takes me about 90 minutes to plan out each prep for a cycle. Once I have that. Then come the nitty gritty. The questions I ask myself is “What am I going to use and have the students do so that they can learn the concepts in the time frame that I have given them?”.  Then my weekend beforehand is set aside to making those decisions. Its 1:14 am and I’m sleepy so I’m not going to be able to finish this post. But I’ll pick it up later, I promise.

Here is what I’ve done for the first six weeks in Algebra 2A and Geometry.

August 21, 2008

What a long list!

Filed under: Grading,Uncategorized — KymInKorea @ 5:25 am
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So I’m taking Dy/Dan’s lead and incorporate skill/concept based testing. I am excited about this because it gives me the opportunity to be more specific and descriptive in my formal assessments.  I’m teaching Algebra 2 and Geometry, so of course I had to use the state skills (Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills).  Here are my lists.

Algebra 2 and Geometry

I incorporated the use of Weights to let the students know how much each skill will contribute to their grades.

I want to note that there are actually 145 TEKS for Algebra 2, but I condensed it down to 45.

For Geometry there are 104 and I condensed the TEKS down to 35.

August 17, 2008

What I’ve learned from dy/dn

Filed under: Professional Development — KymInKorea @ 2:44 am
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If you haven’t already please checkout this teacher’s blog.  This blog is by far is the best professional development I’ve done ever.  I’ve spent most of the summer reading his entries from when he started almost two years ago to now.  He brings up some interesting points/methods/ideas that have gotten my creative juices flowing.  Here are some of the things I’ve read about that I plan to incorporate for the school year.

1. Instead of Tests based on units he assesses them on whether or not they have mastered certain skills.  The “test” occur quite frequently but have between 3-6 problems. Its set up where students want to be tested and re-tested to improve their skill score.

2. When using Powerpoint, do not fit 300 words of text on each screen for their notes, but instead use PowerPoint/SmartBoard to accentuate important concepts and to pose questions.

3.  Using images to generate a group pair share question.

How I grade

Filed under: Grading — KymInKorea @ 2:43 am
Tags: , ,

My grading method/process is an ever evolving process. I’ve tried different things each year using the following basic tenets.

1. Return the graded work by the next class meeting. No exceptions since I’m on block scheduling. I do aim to return work for within the same class period for homework and bellwork.  For classwork and tests/quizzes I aim for the next time the class meets.

2. The grading work is helpful and constructive for the students. I used completion grades last year for homework and classwork and I found that not only did it not help the students who were having difficulties, it also didn’t significantly increase the number of students turning in homework/classwork, so no more completion grades. (My hypothesis on that will come later in a different post.)  More work for me.

3. Tardiness should not affect the grade the student receives. I know, I know, “I’m not teaching students responsibility if they don’t get punished for late work.”  But as a teacher the more important thing for me is that the students learn the material that I “teach” them. If they don’t learn it on the timetable that I would like, I shouldn’t ignore their effort or learning when they eventually do learn it (within the same semester, grading period, school year….)

4. Cheaters should never benefit. It is my personal mission to make it as difficult as possible for students to be successful when they cheat.  The lesson learned should never be “If I cheat, I win”. I can’t stop a student from cheating, but I can stop a student from benefiting from cheating.

With those basic tenets in mind, here is my brand spanking new Grading Policy for 2008-2009. Please note that this is not written in stone and is subject to be changed.

Grading Policy

1.  Work will be graded only if it is entirely completed in pencil and if it has the correct heading (complete name, special number, date, period, assignment title.

2.  On each assignment, the final answers must be circled and highlighted, while the explanations/showing of work should be boxed and highlighted with a different color highlighter.  Failure to do so for any problem(s) can severely reduce your grade.

2.  Bellwork, homework and classwork will more than likely be graded in class by you.  At the time that I share with you the correct answers, no pencils are allowed to be in your possesion.  You can use a non-erasable blue pen to add comments and notes to your paper while grading it.  At the top of each assignment you will circle the number of problems you answered correctly divided by the total number of problems assigned. I do reserve the right to overrule any grade you received on an assignment.

3. Each homework/classwork assignment is worth up to 10 points.  Each Bellwork problem (~ 3 a day) is worth up to 1 point. Bellwork will be used as extra credit towards your grade. (I.E. Ten (10) bellwork problems can be worth a homework/classwork grade).

4. Failure to turn in the classwork/homework assignment by the due date and due time will cause you to have to complete a separate assignment in its place.  Homework is due at the beginning of class before the tardy bell rings.  Classwork is due at the end of class before you leave  class.In other words, you still have to turn in the homework/classwork, but it will be a different assignment (of the same learning concept).  I make no guarentee that the late work will be graded and returned to you in a timely fashion.

5. Skill Tests are given on Mondays. If you miss a skills test, you will have to make it up on the following Monday.

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