Tuesday, July 21, 2015

#SummerList Update

Almost two months ago, at the end of May, I blogged about my #SummerList.  Sadly, with less than one month still to go, I can't say that I've accomplished much from the list, other than most of the books have been read. :)  I find it very interesting to see how my #SummerList actually changes once Summer is officially here.

Books:
  • What's Math Got to Do with It by Jo Boaler - I bought this book over Memorial Day weekend and read it at the beginning of summer.  This is also going to be our next #EduRead book, so feel free to join in!  My big take-aways from this book include:
    • Making mistakes helps our brains to grow.  I need to incorporate more error analysis in my classroom and use those mistakes to provide feedback and growth.  I would like to learn how to use "My Favorite No" with AP Stat as well as more student grading using the AP Rubrics.
    • Students can grasp high-level concepts, but not if they are given low-level work.  I think I often suffer from the "Curse of Knowledge" and try to rescue my students before they really have the chance to grapple with the concepts.  After 15 years, I know where struggles will happen and I have structured some lessons to help students over those hurdles.  However, in trying to help, I think I have coddled too much and created a learned helplessness situation.
    • Talking and discussing mathematics with your peers is vital.  I totally agree with this and my students are often asked to discuss their methods.  However, I need to also add in more written explanations and reflections.
    • Self assessment and Peer assessment are tools that need to be used more.  I am going to try more self-assessment this year (see previous blog post) and would like to use the AP rubrics more this year for peer assessment. I want to use strategies like "Two Stars & a Wish" to provide students with peer feedback. (By the way, if you have a great method to organize all the paperwork that comes with AP Rubrics, please let me know! :)
  • Never Work Harder than Your Students by Robyn Jackson - We read this book in our Twitter Book Club several years ago, but I felt the need to read it again this summer.  It is a great book with lots of practical advice, although it can be very overwhelming.  
  • How to give Effective Feedback by Susan Brookhart - I have not re-read this one yet
  • Accessible Mathematics by Steve Leinwand - This was a very quick read and gives you 10 practical instructional methods that you can use in your classroom right away.  For me, the biggest take-away from this book was about the daily skills quiz.  This is something I plan to implement this year.
  • Make it Stick by Peter Brown, et all - This book was recommended at Best Practices Night by Daren Starnes and I'm very grateful that he did a brief talk on it!  This book started out strong, but did lag quite a bit for me in the middle.  However, Chapter 8 makes the laggy parts worth it!  The main idea is the science behind learning and what strategies have been proven effective and what has not.  Make It Stick was our #EduRead book this month and I really enjoyed these chats.  I've already blogged about my big take-away's but here are the big ones:
    • Retrieval Practice is necessary!  I plan to create retrieval opportunities through short 10-minute quizzes that spiral through the curriculum, exit tickets on one learning target to help students be more successful on chapter/unit assessments, and opportunities through class to stop what they are doing and answer a question without looking at their notes. It's important to note that retrieval practice can occur without a formal quiz structure... flashcards, Chalk Talk, writing down a list of things you learned (without looking at the text/notes), etc are all forms of retrieval.
    • Mix it up!  When we do massed practice of one skill, it feels effective, however, as any teacher can tell you, when it comes to the final exam and everything is mixed together, kids really struggle!  I need to develop activities that have that mixed practice throughout my course.
    • Reflection is powerful!  I already knew this because I spend a lot of time in reflection.  However, I don't think I ask my students to reflect as much as I should.  I need to explore the use of Learning Logs in my class.
    • Practice like you play and play like you practice!  This is something I did not do well this year.  My students spent a lot of time discussing and justifying their answers verbally, but since the AP exam is written, their practice did not reflect in their "game play".  This year, I want to do more written explanations.
    • You must practice!  One of the things that I really need to stress to my students this year is the importance of practice.  I think too many students look at a review worksheet or practice assessment and think, "Yup! I know that one!", but never actually sit down to practice answering the question.  Then when assessment day (or AP Exam) comes, they struggle to write a complete and concise response.  
  • Rethinking Grading by Cathy Vatterott - This book was the ASCD book of the month and I highly recommend it if you are looking at Standards Based Grading.  The book starts out with some history behind grades and grading, but then in Chapters 3 & 4, she really delves into the nitty-gritty details about how to change your classroom practice to incorporate SBG.  The book doesn't go into all of the theory like Marzano's work, but is a practical guide for teachers to dip their toe into the SBG waters.  
  • Rethinking Homework by Cathy Vatterott - Similar to the book above by the same author, this book also starts out with the history of homework, then gets into more practical strategies.  My favorite chapter was Chapter 4 about effective homework practices.  Homework has been a struggle for my entire teaching career and I don't think I've ever been completely happy with how I've handled it. 

Other Things on my List:
  • Better integration of the Chromebooks (1:1) - Yeah, so this hasn't happened yet.  I still want to explore the Chromebooks for formative assessment (Google Forms, Kahoot, etc), but after seeing my AP scores this year, my main focus will be "back to basics" as listed above.  I like technology but I don't want to integrate tech for the sake of tech.
  • Work on more Free Response writing - Still working out in my head how this is going to look this year :)

Stuff NOT on my List:
  • This was the first summer in many years where I did not travel or attend any conferences in July.  Don't get me wrong, I spent most of June traveling, but July has been pretty low-key.  However, even without traveling, I was able to get a lot done:
    • At the beginning of July, we rented a dumpster in order to do some major deep cleaning of our house.  After 10 days, the dumpster was full, several loads had been taken to Goodwill, and we again had an upstairs that we enjoyed spending time in!
    • Spent time with family and friends, including several days with my sister, who lives on the east coast.
    • House repairs... I really don't like being a home owner most days and this week is one where lots of repair people will be in and out of my house.  Today, the plumber is coming to run a water line to my fridge... so excited about having an ice maker! :)

How is your #SummerList progressing?

1 comment:

Beth Ferguson said...

Love your lists and reflections!