Friday, July 21, 2017

Five on Friday: Engaging Students

My Students Won't Think:
A Look at Engaging Students in Higher Level Questioning in Math

Earlier this week I attended a workshop with the above title.  You never know how workshops are going to go.  Some of them are amazing and you walk away loaded with tons of ideas and pumped to put them to use as soon as possible.  And then there are those that seem like pure torture.  The presenter is reading their PowerPoint word for word - a PowerPoint on how reading a PowerPoint word for word is not a good teaching strategy. 

My Students Won't Think was one of those amazing workshops.  It was easily the best workshop I've attended in a long time.  I was writing ideas down all day and thinking about I couldn't wait to share some of the ideas with you.  

So today I want to share with you FIVE of the ideas I took away from this workshop.  Though this workshop was designed for 7-12 Math, I think these ideas can be used in other grade levels and in other content areas.

Let's get started.


"I Notice, I Wonder"

Present you class with a problem.  Instead of asking them to come up with an answer or solution, ask them to make note of what they notice and what they wonder.  This takes the pressure off the students and allows every single student to participate.  

I don't know about you, but when I give my students a word problem they tend to pull out numbers and do a random operation.  They don't want to take the time to read the problem and think about what the problem is asking them.  

With "I Notice, I Wonder" I can give my students a word problem with blanks in place of the numbers.  Take away their ability to just guess at the correct operation.  Given the word problem without numbers, students will record what they notice as well as what the wonder.  

I believe this is really going to help my students become better problem solvers.

Now I'm sure I did a horrible job of explaining this concept so if you want to read more about "I Notice, I Wonder" just click here.


"My Favorite No"

This idea is a great way to address those common misconceptions.  It was introduced to me as a bell ringer.  Your students all solve the same problem.  As they finish and turn them into you, you are looking over them and looking for those common misconceptions.  

You then share some of those misconceptions with the class.  You call it your favorite no.  Ask students "Why is it my favorite?  What did they do right?"  

Then ask "What do they need to work on?"  In other words why is it a no?


"Always, Sometimes, Never"

We were given 12 cards that we had to sort into three categories: Always True, Sometimes True, Never True.  We had to explain why it fit into the category out to the side of the card.  On the Sometimes True we gave examples of when it was true.  We were supposed to also do examples of when it was false, but my partner and I somehow missed those instructions. :)

I loved all the thinking that went into this assignment.  It really solidifies understanding of these concepts.  


"Flip the Question"

I have seen this idea before but for some reason I saw it differently this week.  

Instead of giving students a question and asking for answer, give them an answer and ask for a question.  That seems simple, but I felt like the example he gave us was a bit more complex.

Write an equation with more than one step that has 8 has a solution.


Write 3 expressions equivalent to x + 2.


Koplinksy DOK Knowledge

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

I Teach Too Tag

What What?

Is that a video?

Why yes.  Yes it is!

I thought it would be fun to participate in the I Teach Too Tag.

I had fun making this one take video.  Maybe I'll learn to edit one day.

I mention a movie that I couldn't remember the name of in the video.

I looked it up after and it is called A Smile As Big As the Moon.

Enjoy the video.

And if you decide to participate yourself be sure to let me know.


Friday, July 14, 2017

Five on Friday


Every year it seems at least one student ask me about a class pet.  I always tell them it's enough work just taking care of them.

One year I inherited a huge fish tank.  It remained empty for a good portion of the year until one of my students caught a fish and brought it to school.  We put the little fish in our tank and named him Ryan.  Students took care of him and I did absolutely nothing until the end of the year.  I was not about to keep this fish all summer.  I took him to the river and set him free.

For whatever reason I'm considering getting a class pet this year.  Call it peer pressure.  Several of my Instagram friends have been talking about class pets and it makes me think it wouldn't be such a bad idea.

I'm leaning towards a Beta fish.  They seem like they would be easy to take care of.  Maintenance is the number one factor.  I need this pet to require little to no work.

But I also think it would be fun to have a rabbit.  My biggest thing against the rabbit is I don't think my dogs would do too well with it when I had to bring it home for breaks.

Do you have a class pet?  What kind?  

If you don't have a class pet, what's stopping you?


One month from today students will be walking into my classroom for the first day of school.  ONE MONTH!  What have I done to prepare?  Pretty much nothing.

I just can't seem to get excited about a theme or color scheme.  I have several ideas but can't seem to put them together for one wonderful vision. 

I went to Hobby Lobby today and saw a few things that I really liked.  Maybe a vision is starting to form.


I created these Mathematical Practices posters a couple of weeks ago.  I wanted them to be simple but after I printed them I didn't like them.  They were too simple.  But I'm not sure what it is specifically that I don't like or want to change.  What would you do to spruce these up a bit?


Next year I will be coteaching 7th grade Math class.  The students who will be in my class haven't experienced a lot of success in Math.  I want to change that.  I want to help them to have a growth mindset and feel successful.   I love the idea of have "The Fridge" to celebrate their growth.


Speaking of growth, I've been working on a digital data tracking notebook for my students.  I believe there is something very rewarding or students when they can track and see their growth.  I'm really excited about this idea.  Right now it is simple.  I'm not sure if I want to keep it that way since I've never done anything like this or if I want to add more to it.

Friday, July 7, 2017

Five on Friday

Those items that you just can't imagine teaching without...


I'm a huge fan of anchor charts.  They cover the walls of my classroom.  And if I'm going to make that many posters then at least my markers can smell delicious.  Sure I could teach without Mr. Sketch but it wouldn't be nearly as fun.


My personal laminator.  This wasn't originally purchased for classroom use, but now I can't imagine not having it.  This thing has laminated countless numbers of task cards.  It's perfect when I don't have time to use the big laminator at school or when I just want the convenience of having this small one.


File folders are such a huge help for me with organization.  I shared a little about these on instagram the other day.  I use folders to organize student paperwork.  I have two folders for each class.  One for "To Be Graded" and one for "Graded".


Every teacher needs a little toolbag in their classroom.  Of course this contains things that I will probably never use...maybe even some things I don't know how to use.  But I know I'm thankful for this little bag of tools.  You never know when you are going to need a hammer or a screw driver.


My Yeti!  Y'all I drink water all day long when I'm teaching.  I love that my Yeti keeps it cold.  And it has my name on it so that's a bonus!