It’s that time of the unit. Some kiddos are just starting to grasp the basics and need more practice. Some kiddos are getting impatient and rolling their eyes. This is compounded by the fact that many of our new kiddos are still being normed to being students at our school and that the honeymoon period has ended.
We give the kiddos a menu of options to choose from. The default is for most kiddos to start on the same practice one (which both has enough ambiguity to keep it interesting and allows them to keep practicing strong groupwork skills). I wanted to take a photo of one of the kiddos at work and they threw all the graphs into the middle. I’ve also noticed that lots of the kiddos like to staple the little papers we give them together. Go figure.
“Mister…did you do something to your room?”
The desks are in rows, which is apparently a contrast to the groups they’re normally in. More than one kiddo comments on it. So it must be a thing.
Every year, The State requires that we test our emerging bilingual students to see how much growth them make. In theory, it’s a good idea. Especially now that my first group of advisees are Actual Seniors, it’s crazy to hear them speak English and to see it somewhat actively reflected in their test scores.
It’s harder for the 9th graders, many of whom are extremely new. I reiterate several times (and still not enough) that this is really a practice and that it doesn’t affect their grades, but many of them are still so defeated. If nothing else, we lose a day of curriculum and many of the kiddos refuse to (or just can’t) do work in the afternoon.
I thought I took a picture of the tables in rows, but it’s just as well.
After a few short days of extending patterns and reviewing graphing, we move into connecting patterns (Curriculum Partner and I briefly discuss changing the first box, “Picture”, to “Figures”, but then wonder what happens if and when we have a problem about rabbits and leave it as “Picture”). Kiddos work in groups to figure out representations of a pattern, then we come together as a class to talk about how to show Figure 0 (y-intercept as we’ll call it in 2 units) and growth (slope).
Photo: One kiddo’s representations. There’s a version in color, but it’s less artsy (for me; probably more artsy for them)
Thursday is also a Short Day (kiddo-parlance for early release days, where teachers stay afterwards and do professional development). Thursday’s PD ends up being time to work on our scopes-and-sequences, which we use to outline our courses in attempt to do some vertical alignment (vertical alignment being the staff-chosen yearly focus).
We spend Thursday working through graphs. Some of the kiddos can graph in their sleep. Some kiddos have never seen graphs. I try and make this explicit. We often frame this situation as such: some kiddos learned how to graph in their country, some did not (side note: this year, we’re viewing this through the lens of having the right to an education). It’s now time to remedy that. I appeal to kiddos who know how to graph to be empathetic and support those who don’t know how to graph yet. I appeal to kiddos who don’t know how to graph to try hard and ask questions. (Graphing isn’t really groupworthy, anyway.) We do an explanation quiz, again, where kiddos have to make the graph, then call me for a checkpoint. It feels like more of a familiar structure now. I remind myself that repeating structures often in the beginning of the year (and the rest of the year as our classes continue to grow) is important.
Photo: So many graphs.
The last time we taught this course, Curriculum Partner and I realized that there was power in making the kiddos explain problems to each other. So we gave them the steps to different problems, have them solve them and have them explain to each other. Quite a bit of English spoken and kiddos mostly seem excited to be talking to each other.
We also had them do an explanation quiz where they draw figures based off of Figure X and vice versa. The kiddos work in groups, complete a problem, then call the teacher. I quiz a kiddo at random. If the kiddo can explain correctly, they move on. If not, they get a chance to revise and retry. First explanation quiz of the year, so a bit rough, but a good start.
Photo: Kiddos explain parts of Figure X to each other. I’m not sure where the sandwich thingy came from.
So, we’ve been making the kiddos draw patterns for a bit. Last time we taught this course, we decided we wanted to make the kiddos create their own patterns. And we wanted to do it with stations. Fond memories of this lesson (though in hindsight, many of them went the “Figure One has 1 square, Figure 2 has 2 squares” route. While it does help them make the connection, it’s super boring. Ya heard that, kiddos? Booooring).
Photo: One group knocking it out of the park. You can’t see it, but Black Fingernails is basically teaching 2 total newcomers how to speak English and how to make patterns at the same time.
Context: The Mathematics Twitter Blog-o-Sphere – a group of mathematics teachers who share their practice on the internet – is dedicating the month of August to writing a blog aday. It’s spearheaded by DruinOK. If you’re looking for ideas (and who isn’t?), prompts are here.