Wednesday, February 21, 2018

The 10% Rule

What a wild and crazy week filled with PD, 80 degree temps, followed by freezing rain and frozen car doors - and it's only Wednesday!!! :)

On Monday, I had the honor and opportunity of being interviewed by my Associate Principal for his inaugural podcast on Teaching and Learning.  I have known my AP as a fellow teacher and then as an administrator for almost 20 years and I highly respect him as an educator and colleague.  During the interview, we talked about a lot of things, such as technology in the classroom, assessment strategies, and the things that have impacted my classroom over the years.

One of the questions he asked was regarding what advice I would give to teachers about how to go about making changes in their own classroom practice and this question has been knocking around in my head ever since.  

I think Steve Leinwand said it best in his Mathematics Teacher article on surviving in a sea of change:

What I love about this 10% idea is that it is manageable.  We have so many things that can overwhelm us on a monthly / weekly / daily / hourly basis, but if we focus on changing just one lesson every 2 weeks, think about how those little changes, those little shifts, will add up in the long run!

This 10% idea came back to the forefront as I planned my lessons this week.  I'm notorious for changing my lesson at the last minute, which is part of the reason why I have a commercial grade printer at my house!  I'm constantly looking for the best way to reach my students, which often results in me completely scrapping a lesson the night before I plan to teach it.  For the record, I don't recommend that you find your "10%" quite in this same manner, but that is how it seems to work in my world. :)

In AP Stat, we are starting 1 sample hypothesis tests and last Friday, we did the "Globe Lab" where we tossed around inflatable globes from Dollar Tree to test the hypothesis of 71% water on the globe's surface.  This is a great activity to expose students to the logic of hypothesis testing and how it ties in with the sampling distribution model for proportions.  After a 3 day weekend, it was time to formalize the process.  The only issue is that yesterday/today was a block day and no one needs to do 100 minutes of lecture, which means that Monday afternoon / evening, I was trying to figure out how to integrate some practice, movement, and brain breaks into the very lengthy lesson.

For all of our hypothesis tests, I teach a 6 step method (see foldable above) and my students are already familiar with how to write hypotheses and checking their conditions, but putting it all together and writing conclusions are definitely new to them.

I decided that we would take notes and practice the first three steps (name, hypotheses, conditions), then finish up the notes and practice making decisions and writing conclusions.  I adapted 4 textbook problems and printed them double sided, so that when folded in half, the problems would fit into 5x7 acrylic frames.  (See photo on left)  When we got to the part of taking the paper out of the frame, unfolding it, turning it over and refolding it for "the rest of the story", you would have thought I had totally blown their minds! :)  

Now back to the 10% rule....
I've taught hypothesis testing now for 18 years, with some years being way more successful than others.  From lecture to activities to practice problems to card sorts to error analysis - I've done it all.  But this one little change of adding in some processing time and brain breaks seems to have made a huge impact, based on the results from their daily reflection.  Hopefully that impact is still noticeable tomorrow :)

Here are the files if you are interested:
Hypothesis Test Foldable (print two sided - flip on short edge)
Hypothesis Test Practice Problems (print two sided - flip on long edge)
Practice Problems Recording Sheet (print two sided - flip on short edge)

(This should go without saying, but recently, several teachers, including me, have found some of our work put onto teacher websites for a profit.  The files I've shared above are for your personal use and not to be used for profit.  The 4 practice problems are adapted from textbook problems and are not my original work, but the foldable and recording sheet are mine.  Sorry to end this post on a downer note, but it needed to be said :) )

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