Tuesday, November 24, 2015

A good day

I feel that it's important to remember the good days at work.  This is purely so I can look back on a good day later. 

My morning started with a visit from the specialist at my old school.  I helped him with benchmark things he had questions about for Algebra I ever so briefly.  He was thrilled to see how I had organized benchmark items and was going to reorganize his in the same way.  Win. 

I went to an Algebra II class that was doing a PARCC infrastructure test/sample test.  It seemed like we had few technical glitches and students were doing fine with the technology.  Win.

I found out what testing sessions I will be administering or proctoring over the next four weeks.  I am not testing every single day and only one of my groups is extended time.  Win.  

I went to two Algebra classes who were also doing the infrastructure test and helped students check their work, then coached them on what mistakes they could correct.  Win.

I caught the awards from our school's Poetry Out Loud competition.  I'm sorry I missed the actual recitations but I was needed in Algebra class then.

I got a surprise visit and big hug from a former student who is now a freshman in college studying Spanish and French and planning to study abroad in Spain and France. Also, he delivered Rice Krispie Treats.  So, yeah, gotta love that kid! 

I got a geometry class through the PARCC Practice, their unit test, and classwork since the teacher was sick and not in school. 

I got my Advanced Professional Certificate (APC) in my mailbox.  To qualify for this teaching certificate, you need either a Master's Degree or National Board Certification with 12 Master's credits.  After I qualified in April, I sent the paperwork in over the summer and finally got my new certificate back.  I'd forgotten about it, to be honest.  With that new certificate comes a little pay increase, so that was a nice surprise before the holidays!  The other surprise is that my French certification changed.  I used to be certified for French 7-12 and am now certified for French PreK-12.  My cousin suggested I start a virtual French Pre-K so she can enroll her son and the rest of the little cousins in the family.  Hehe!  I don't have any designs on that but maybe I'll teach them a few words at Christmas! 

I saw another former student, this one from my first year of teaching, as my cashier at the grocery store.  I have taught almost all of the young cashiers at the local store and it's always nice to chat with them for a minute or two and hear how their lives are going.  

Oh, and it was the last day before break.  How can you beat that?

What was one good thing that happened to you today?

Mathematically yours,
Miss B

Friday, November 20, 2015

Inservice #1- Part 2

Last week, I shared a recap of the inservice presentation on Kahoot! I gave with a colleague.  Today, I'll share about the afternoon session I presented called "Movement in Math."  Much of the inspiration from this session came from my grad work

I started with a learning target and success criteria for the 30-minute session.  Our school district is in the second year of a formative assessment initiative that uses this language, so I decided to model it for teachers as many of them are not yet involved in the cohorts who are receiving the formative assessment training. 
  • Learning Target: I can incorporate purposeful student movement into my lessons. 
  • Success Criteria: I can identify research that supports using movement. I can list at least two strategies I plan to use.   
My plan was to keep the session fast-paced to model for teachers how many transitions and activities they can accomplish in a short period of time.  Chunking lessons is important but it's not done frequently enough.  

Once we'd taken a look at the learning target and success criteria, I started with an activity called "star pass review."  Participants stand in groups of 5 and toss a ball in a star pattern.  If that's hard to visualize, imagine you're drawing a five-pointed star.  The ball passes in that same order.  It's a variation on hot potato, so when the music stops, the person holding the ball answers the question to their team.  Others can chime in afterwards or can help the person if they're stuck on what to say.  Teachers answered a few questions to activate their prior knowledge about using movement and draw on their experiences.  
  1. Do you feel that it is important to use movement in a classroom setting?  Why or why not?
  2. How often do you think that students should engage in movement activities during your class?
  3. Why might teachers refrain from using movement?  
The results were that teachers did think movement was important but they indicated that movement should happen once or twice in a 90-minute block and suggested that covering all content in the time allotted and managing behavior were reasons that teachers would avoid movement.  

I was able to segue from the comments about why we might not use movement into an article reading from Eric Jensen, "Moving with the Brain in Mind."  Everyone had 7 minutes to read (9 would have been ideal, but I was trying to cram a ton into my time) and then we had a discussion.  I used Mix and Mingle (which is what I call the Kagan "Stand Up Hand Up Pair Up" structure ) for the discussion.  While music plays, participants mingle around the room with their hand up poised to give a high 5.  when the music stops, they high 5 the nearest person and discuss the question at hand.  We had these questions:
  1. Why is movement important?
  2. Are we currently doing things that help?  What are they?  (It turns out this question was poorly worded because nearly every group had a question about what it meant.  I'd change it to, "What things are we individually or as a school or as a district doing to support purposeful movement?")
  3. What changes are within our control to make in our classrooms?
Teachers were able to share facts they read to answer question 1.  Most teachers indicated in their responses to question 2 that they use some good strategies but they do so infrequently or inconsistently.  They recognized that they can incorporate more of these activities without changing their content.  

If you teach secondary math and you're ever on Pinterest, I can almost guarantee you've seen this picture. 

We used it for a brain break where I called out an equation and everyone used their arms to model the equation.  Call out y = 0.  Then call out y = -10.  Watch people do squats.  It got every group giggling. 

We used the poorly named "hook up" which I've renamed "human pretzel" as a calm-down activity following our giggling. 
This made for a great time to give activities for our poster relay.  We formed teams.  Each team got a marker to use as a baton for the relay.  When time started, participants took turns writing a reason to use movement on their section of the board, then rushed back to the line of teammates to hand off the marker.  At the end, we compared lists. 

I wrapped up the day with two exit questions answered in an inside-outside circle.  (Participants form two concentric circles facing each other.  Everyone discusses with the person they're facing.  Then the leader directs everyone in, say, the outer circle to rotate two people clockwise.  With the new partner, they discuss the next topic or question.)  We answered the following:
  1. What new insight did you gain today?
  2. Give an example of how you plan to use movement in your classroom before Thanksgiving break.  
It's been about a week since the presentation and I've heard from several of the teachers about their implementation of strategies from my session or their use of Kahoot!  It's been nice to see so many teachers willing to try something new and able to implement these small changes with immediacy. 

Do you find ways to incorporate purposeful movement into your classroom?  What are your favorites?

Mathematically yours,
Miss B