Saturday, August 23, 2014

First Week Recap

Kids came back to school on Tuesday and we hit the ground running!  By the time Friday rolled around, I was exhausted!  However, this exit ticket answer really validated my efforts this week:

(This is going to be a long post.. sorry about that, but I really want a record of the activities I did this week)

My Theme for 2014-15:
Every year, I find a quote to guide me that year.  This year, my focus is on student engagement, active learning, and formative assessment.  After I find the perfect quote, I make it pretty and then put it in a photo frame next to my computer.  This year's theme:

I keep this quote next to my computer in order to have it close by when planning lessons.  I also share the quote with students so they can help keep me accountable.

Day 1:
When students walked in on Tuesday, there was a post-it pad on each table.  Instructions on the board asked students to take 6 post-its and answer the questions around the room.  I picked up the post-its at Dollar Tree.  They were packs of 4 different colors, which worked out great since I have 4 periods of AP Stat this year!

The 6 prompts said:
Qualities of a good teacher...
Qualities of a good student...
My goal for this year is...
This will be my BEST year of math because...
I learn best when...
Mrs. T can help me best by...

After completing the post-it activity, students created their nametag, which helps me learn names, get to know something about them, and provides a way to do exit tickets for the first week.  Our main activity of the day was the Kristen Gilbert story, which is a great way to get kids excited about statistics.  By the end of the day, my feet were killing me, but what a great first day!

Day 2/3:
Our school is on a modified block schedule.  On Monday, Tuesday, and Friday, we see all 6 classes for roughly 55 minute periods.  On Wednesday and Thursday, we see 3 of our classes each day for 100 minute classes and our Advisory class. 

When students walked in, they had to locate their nametag from the day before.  Each day, I randomly place them around the room so they can meet new people.  I teach in a very large district and this is a way that I can make sure that students get to know the other people in our class.  Overall, I believe it aids in classroom community, even though it makes it very challenging for me to learn names! :)

We spent the first 45 minutes or so setting up our notebooks.  During this time, we also talked briefly about the syllabus, my classroom expectations, and I shared with them my theme for the year.  I told the students to hold me accountable for more student DOING and less teacher TALKING. 

Then we were off to Chapter 2.  Each chapter, I give them an "information sheet" with the essential questions, the vocabulary for that chapter, and some reading questions from the textbook.  The students numbered off in their groups 1-4, then each person was assigned a question to answer by skimming/reading the text. 

After about 5 minutes, students got out of their seats and went to an assigned corner to talk to the other students with the same assigned question.  This allowed the students to feel more confident that they had the "right" answer before going back to their original groups to be the "expert" on that question.  This was a great way to incorporate the textbook without being overwhelming and it provided students a way to get up and move/talk with peers, thereby restarting their brains for learning.

Back in their home groups, they shared out the answers to each question, then we discussed them as a class.  We took a few clarifying notes on the "Ws" and then we were back to the students "doing" instead of me talking. 

Each group received a problem where they were asked to identify the "Ws".  The answers were on the back so the students could gauge how well they were doing, then we rotated to another problem.  The exit ticket for the day was a "6 word memoir".  To read some of their exit tickets, check them out HERE.

Day 4:
When students walked in today, they were again seated with a new group of people, and this time their warmup was Problem Set #1, which had 2 additional problems on identifying the Ws.  I gave the students 7 minutes to work the problems, then they had 2 minutes to share answers within their group, then 1 more minute to check their work with my answer key.  We briefly talked about the "Curve of Forgetting" and how doing this as a warmup boosted back their knowledge on the Ws and moved it to more long-term memory. 

Then we started in how HOW to collect data from an unknown population.  One suggestion is take a census, so students became "census-takers" and were asked to count the number of Gs in a story.  Here's 6th hour's results:

Students were shocked at how many different answers they had and even more shocked when they were told that no one had the right answer!  I wanted them to reflect on what they learned about a census from this activity, so I introduced a new thinking routine to them.  I asked them to "Pause and Think" and write down 2 things they learned from this activity.  After giving them time to process via writing, then they had to "Turn and Talk" and share their learnings with a partner.  After each partner shared out, then as a table group, they had to select one thing that their table would share out to the rest of the class.  The general consensus of all 4 sections was that "counting is hard!" and that "a census isn't as accurate as we thought it would be."

I then shared @gwaddellnvhs's graphic of a population/sample and talked about how a sample of the population does just as good of a job if the sample is representative of the population.  We watched this excerpt from the Against All Odds series on the Literary Digest poll of 1936 to illustrate the point that large samples do not always yield better results.  To finish out the hour, we again cracked open our books and summarized by answering a few questions on our Chapter 12 Introduction Sheet.

Favorite Comment of the Week:
On Friday, 5th period, I had a young man ask to use the restroom.  I looked at the clock and said, "You only have 2 minutes left in class.. can you wait?"  His response was, "Oh wow!  I had no idea class was almost over!  It went so fast!"



Beth Ferguson said...

Awesome post! Love the 6 word memoirs! Can't wait for my kids to arrive!!

Jennifer McNeil said...

Thanks for sharing all of your great ideas!