Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Sub plans and second quarter changes

I've spent several days out of the classroom in the past few weeks (a couple of days because of an out-of-town funeral and today for a PD session on Blended Learning) so I've gotten back in the groove of creating sub plans.

What a pain.

It's easier now than it was for those first two days - I have all of my seating charts done and a template created for the actual plans. But then creating and leaving activities for the kids takes a lot of time. Isn't it just easier to be in school?!

I'm particularly happy with what I left for my Math 3 kids today. I started with a 6-question factoring "check" that I'd posted on Schoology (our LMS). What I like best is that I was able to check their results while at my PD and see how they did. I left a few comments for kids who seemed to struggle a bit, but it was nice to see that they remembered how to factor after a 4-day weekend!

We've made our way through factoring by GCF, Grouping, and Trinomials, and I was planning on having them just review those today until I thought about how easy it would be to make a screencast for them to watch about factoring Differences of Squares. I posted it on Schoology and as of 1:44 PM, it has been watched 56 times. Not too bad for my 75ish kids!

I was then able to leave an assignment that incorporated factoring differences of squares in addition to the other types of polynomials. I have preached incorporating flipping and using videos in the classroom and now I just need to force myself to do it too.

On the other hand...
My Math 1 class has definitely started showing their colors. They started out great and I still have some superstars, but several of the kids (who are entirely capable) have taken to slacking off.  I need to work harder in that class; I've gotten into the "give the notes" rut and need to incorporate more activities and applications and engaging activities.

I'm also going to go back to my standards-based grading hybrid that I used in my General Algebra 1 class several years ago. I miss seeing the breakdown of what skills they actually have versus a "Solving Linear Equations: 20/25". I'm also going to offer retakes on quizzes after they've completed a review assignment (which I'll probably do on MathXL so that they can get an instant score and not be able to requiz until a certain minimum).

Also...
Just because I'm never 100% satisfied with the status quo, I was able to go to the OCTM Conference last Friday and saw Johnothon Sauerland present his version of Precalculus via the Harkness Method. This went back to my interest in the Exeter math program, which teaches kids through this discovery method. I'm hoping to get to go observe Johnothon on our next PD day in November. I can already see the amount of work ahead of me if I decide to try this in my Precalc class next year.

I need to start resting up now.

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