One of the many changes we’re making to our curriculum is thinking about how to represent negative numbers. We’ve used CPM‘s Algebra Tiles a lot, but this is the first year that we’ll really explore negative tiles, but also the idea of opposite.
Side note: last time we taught this unit, we used the Interactive Math Program’s hot and cold cubes (hot cubes cause an increase, cold cubes cause a decrease). Which I think was a neat idea, except that CPM’s negative tiles are red, which confused students when we talked about hot cubes causing an increase. This was not helped by a school-wide evacuation in the middle of one of our lessons. We had planned a summative project entitled “Mystery Soup” (how many hot and cold cubes are there? Maybe?) but with all the confusion and our eventual movement away from hot and cold cubes, we all seem to have forgotten what “Mystery Soup” refers to.
At any rate, watching the kiddos think about and represent negatives and opposites has been interesting. This group thought of different ways to show an expression with negatives using tiles. Any time we can get kiddos to talk together, but show their own way of thinking is pretty cool:
Largely for Hedge, who’s asking for pictures of math(s) teachers’ classrooms.
This is from the beginning of the year, so it’s probably changed a little bit. Also, my camera can’t actually take a full 360, so you can’t see the main board. Go figure.
What’s your classroom look like?
Friday was our last day of professional development before the kiddos arrived. During team meeting (around 10am), I said, out loud (oops), “Yeah, I think I’m just going to leave at 3:30 and be done with it.” The rest of my team was, um, flabbergasted (I can’t ever get myself to leave at a decent hour.”
It’s tradition that seniors come to school on Friday for their orientation. It’s crazy to see this class, since they are the first class that I taught as freshmen. My first advisees are seniors (it’s a bit mind-blowing to me, and I tell them as such on a pretty much daily basis).
By 6:30, most of my team had (rightfully) left and I was just starting to round the bend on Things That Needed To Be Done Before Monday (namely, seating charts). I gave up and decided to come in on Sunday.
A while ago, there was an offer at our school to get more bookshelves. I asked for one. Mostly so I could stand on it to change my seating charts (out of the range of kiddos, though an advisee last year tried to jump in order to switch seats, so…).
Our district does a fair amount of collaborative work with mathematics, which is really cool. I still find that I’m meeting teachers I didn’t know and teachers who are new to the district. And much as I’m frequently a crankypants about “this wouldn’t work in my context”, it’s really neat to see teachers in different contexts thinking their way through and around the same issues.
Anyway, we always start off district sessions by doing mathematics together. What do you notice? What do you wonder?
Also, professional development was held at a friend’s school, which I had never been to before. Here is a photo from the school:
I asked if he went to Target every day. He said he did not. I am flabbergasted.
Every day of Professional Development week starts to get a little more real. And I think yesterday (Wednesday) was the actual day where everything felt real. We started talking heavily in our teams about concrete things like leadership and advisory. We have pretty accurate class lists (as accurate as they get before the first week in an urban school) and a master schedule. My to-do list has actively pending things that feel real and important (“share information about last year’s students” versus “dream big about reading through Smarter Balanced claims”.)
We did some writing about ourselves as leaders and how we feel about advisory. What do you notice? What do you wonder?
*I know, I know, “The Real Day and Me.”
Curriculum partner and I are starting to talk curriculum amongst the orientation and team building of professional development. It’s our 4th year teaching together and our 2nd year teaching this particular course. So we have the basics down. Spent part of yesterday watching Rick Barlow’s Ignite talk about classroom culture and then spent a bit of time thinking through how the groupwork norms we set up in class (which we’ve used quite a bit) tie back to our classroom values.
What do you notice? What do you wonder?
We are back. And it is everything you’d think it is and all the feelings you thought it would be. So good to see old colleagues (many of whom I still haven’t quite had the time to talk to. Because: summer and school and theory and room setup and…) and meet new colleagues. We are counting down until the first day of school (next Monday) and there is much to do.
Some of what we do in professional development is thinking big picture stuff about our teaching practices.
Some of what we do is more practical, like plan for our first week and set up rooms (which seems to be never quite done).
What do you notice? What do you wonder?