This week’s Reflections…

Last week’s conference and how I’ve changed my teaching:
So I went to the KATM Conference and was pleasantly surprised by how much I learned from the two sessions I went to. (Since I was speaking for two sessions, I didn’t have many options). I chose to go to a session on the Flipped Classroom and also to the end of the HS common core session. Both were very beneficial. I’ve since then, flipped my Trig class- which isn’t going the best because half of my class has been absent due to the blood drive, community service, etc. And the half that was there hasn’t been watching the videos so they come to class unprepared. I need to read up more on making this flip more effective. They already have handouts to fill out during the video that we will finish in class, but I’m thinking about having a short 2-3 question slip that they fill out after watching the video and then an assignment for them to work on in class. Also, Mr. Klankey pointed out that flipping the classroom is making it a lecture/ homework style class- just a different flavor. I need to make sure to still incorporate inquiry into the lessons. All in all, things are kind of a mess…. but I think next week will be better. They have a test and then we’ll get back on track.

As for Geometry, I’m getting tired of my students just sitting there during bell work and notes being passive learners. So this week we did a stations activity to review notation, reasoning in proofs, the SAA, SSS, ASA, postulates, etc, which went alright except for my giving directions at the beginning. I need to work on that. We also have been grading key problems in their HW and spinning a spinner to see how many points it will be worth. They seem to like the spinner. Another ‘active’ activity I’ve incorporated is 4 corners bell work where I put a problem on each board and had the students choose the one they understood best. (This way I could see what they struggled with) and then I told them I’d pick on the person I thought might not know the answer (so they’d have to ask their classmates for help). I have a few kids who just want to sneak by without learning things. Now, I don’t know if it’s because of the more active class, if they just get this material better, or if it’s because we took more time to review, but they did better than usual on their quizzes.

On a more disheartening side, I realized I approached teaching this curriculum in the completely wrong way. We’re learning congruency and I tried to start with rigid motion (as common core suggests) which kinda worked, but then I just kind of jumped into SSS (like the department lessons showed) and kept going from there so my students never really got to see why SSS restricts the size and the shape of the triangle, nor did they understand really what the definition of congruence was. That was the perfect opportunity for real investigation and I missed it. Also, I NEED to work harder on connecting these geometry concepts to the real world and also accessing student’s prior knowledge. Lastly, I need to stop changing things up on them so much- I think I change ideas before I give them the chance to actually work.
So the PD 1/2 day on Friday was interesting…. Instead of realigning to “common core,” we spend the morning labeling our tests with common core standards and adding sections to our schedule to cover the extra material. Now, no one said it, but we already have a full schedule as it is… so us actually holding to the new ‘curriculum/ test schedule’ is unlike in as well. Let me also add, that as the time went on, the line “I don’t care, just do whatever” became the catch phrase on deciding which standards matched up and which level the question was assessing. Also, anyone have a take on the new Pearson Common Core books? It seems to be almost exactly the same as the old book just dubbed Common Core and with a few extra sections? I don’t’ see how people don’t realize that common core is a new curriculum and approach to teaching concepts and that the sequencing of material needs to change too. It was quite frustrating to say the least. Well, to sum things up I’ll end with:

Things I learned this week:
-people usually take the easiest route
-not all students learn best in an active classroom
-differentiation CAN be done! It just takes foresight.
-school computers suck! (they block YouTube and Khan Academy and Patrick JMT- which makes it hard for a flipped classroom)
-assess frequently and give students feedback often

PS: I’m staring teaching Spanish again this week 🙂 Let the fun begin.

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