Day 20: The One With So Many Algebra Tiles Notes

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Probably worth mentioning that the reason we did an area reading guide was to prepare for simplifying expressions via Algebra Tiles (which names tiles based on their area).

We do a variation of this unit every year and it’s fascinating to see how it changes. This year’s model is based on the “See Variations of Things Many Times” to try it from all angles and expose the kiddos to a couple ways of thinking about it.

Photo: Algebra Tile notes.

Unrelated: It’s always fascinating to see what kiddos remember after a year or so. Some kiddos who were less active last year perked up a bunch and some kiddos just kept on going…

Objectives:

Day 11: The One Where Kiddos Make The Pattern

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It’s fascinating to see how kiddos generalize patterns (going from specific figures to one that can represent any figure in that pattern). I used to think that they needed to show rows or columns of x’s, but I think I’m more interested in them being able to label dimensions.

Photos: One kiddo’s work showing figures, a table, a graph, generalized figures and observations.

I’m co-advising a multicultural club again this year. Monday was our first meeting. Good attendance and lots of participation. I came back to find one of the kiddos and an older sibling sitting outside my door. Older sibling also texted me (from a new, unknown number) to ask if kiddo had turned in their homework on Friday. Touching.

Objectives:

That part of community circle where we discussed our favorite food and the idea that adjectives go before nouns:

Notes:

Day 9: The One With Graphs

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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.

Objectives:

Notes:

Day 8: The One Where We Explain to Each Other

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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.

Objectives:

Notes:

Day 2: The One with the School Values Posters

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A week before school starts, we send out an all-staff email requesting magazines to make posters with. Because: Orientation. Because: School Values.

Following yesterday’s stop-and-go (which, ultimately, I think was successful), I’m ready for some meatier activities. We read about school values in the classroom (using some group structures, though reading is relatively groupworthy in and of itself for emerging bilinguals) and then make posters. Which is pretty amazing. Kiddos find photos, critique whether they are examples of the school values or not and then explain why (because I like to make kiddos explain things). Fascinating to see some of our 10th graders, who were initially much quieter, begin to step up.

What do you notice? What do you wonder?

One of my more favorite posters (protesting for Pluto is creating change, hunting fish is not):

Boards:

Scaffolds for the class counting to 10 (if 2 kiddos speak at the same time, they have to start over):

Notes which I am attempting to use to highlight the many ways that the kiddos are smart:

Day 133: The One with the Professional Development Day

To be fair, I’ve actually had 3 professional development days over the last 4 days, but…

Our 4-person math department was fortunate enough to be able to take yesterday off to talk, plan and dream together. Our school is mostly grade-level based, so having the 4 math teachers in one room is a bit of a rarity. I’m also finding that other departments spend (or require) less time together, so we sometimes have to advocate a little harder for department time. (Much of our meeting time in prior years has been spent tinkering with the master schedule in order to figure out the most options we can offer students while paying attention to how we distribute students among cohorts, especially as we’ve dealt with detracking classes)

We spent the first part of the morning doing a math problem together. This is a common practice in our District as it helps us see and appreciate other ways of thinking amongst colleagues (and potentially among students) and helps center our work in math. We also talked about how to best support our students in state testing (ugh) and some bigger picture visioning for what we hope for next year. It’s not yet been consensed upon whether a day of teaching or a day of productive meeting is more tiring.

Unrelated, my sub (who I know from grad skool and who is awesome) described the sole referral of the day as “Ronaldo was distracting and wouldn’t respond to redirection. After I sent him out on the referral, the class settled down and when he came back, he was more relaxed.” Which is Ronaldo in a nutshell.