Sunday, January 29, 2012

A Winter's Day Ramblings....

I am feeling somewhat melancholy today and really just want to curl up with a book on the sofa, but in our world, there is always work to be done, papers to be graded, and lessons to be planned. :) So I'm writing about good things in hopes of turning my frown upside down :)

Common Core
This week we had a faculty meeting in which one of our principals introduced the CCSS to the staff. I had already been exploring them for a while on my own, but there are still so many uncertainities as to how we will transition, etc. The following day we had our department collaboration time and my group was mostly the AP teachers. Our state has a pretty large Pre-AP and AP program and a lot of the CCSS assessments parallel the Pre-AP philosophy in terms of interpreting your results, explaining your process, and clear communication. We have been given the task to start pulling together a library of Pre-AP/CCSS assessments and problems that our secondary teachers can pull from. I am quite excited to see how this develops! Even though the implementation of CCSS is still an unknown to the "worker bees", we CAN start changing the way that we structure our current classes and asking them to delve more deeply into the material. If you have any great resources, please leave them in the comments :)

Interactive Notebooks
This year, I have enjoyed watching my AP classes transform into lab classes. It truly warms my heart to watch kids explaining concepts to others, working together to find a solution, and not caring if something is for a grade or not. However, one weakness that I have found is in my closures. I don't do a very good job at wrapping up the lessons. Next year, I would like to try implementing an interactive notebook. On the left, I would have them do the daily warmup, write the daily objective (essential question), and leave space for the summary of that day's lesson. On the right, I would have them tape in that day's lab. I think by having this organization, they could easily see on a daily basis what the essential question was and what the answer to that day's question (written in their summary). I don't know of many INB's in place in upper level high school math, so if you do, please let me know!

I've always been a reader. One of my earliest memories is my step-dad reading to me as a child. Whenever we would get in the car, I always had a book to read with me. Growing up, I always had a book in my hands. Let's just say I heard "Get your nose out of that book" WAY too much!! :) Fast forward to adulthood and I still love to read, but don't have nearly as much free time as I once did. During school breaks, it is nothing for me to go through 1-2 novels a day. (With that said, I should also point out that my favorite stores are thrift stores and used book stores because at that pace, I would quickly go bankrupt if paying full price!) Over the past few years, I have resisted the e-reader sales pitches because in my mind, nothing was as good as holding a book in my hands. However, over Winter Break, a friend posted a link on facebook to some free Kind1e books and I am HOOKED! Since January 1st, I have downloaded over 120 free novels and I check 3 book sites per day for new freebies. I am obsessed! But, I do love being able to take an entire library with me on my tablet whereever I go.... now I just wish Spring break would hurry up and get here!!!

Whew - Okay, that worked! Now back to the grindstone so I can have my evening free to read another book :)


Amy Gruen said...

Your 'interactive notebooks' remind me of something I used to do. At the beginning of each unit, I provided students with a sheet that contained a space for each lesson to write the objective, a few practice problems, and other essential info. At the end of the unit, it was an instant study guide. I really don't know why I stopped doing that. I will try to find it and post/pass it on.

Fawn Nguyen said...
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Fawn Nguyen said...

Found my way here from Math Teacher Mambo. Glad I'm not the only one rambling about too much work and not enough time to READ!!! I'm part of a leadership team giving workshops on the Common Core, so I'm learning as much as I can. More questions than answers, definitely, but I think we're heading in the right direction.