I was tired at lunch today. Then there was some student drama (’cause high school) and I’m generally on the struggle bus by the end of the day anyway. So today was rough. I also forgot to bring Gatorade, didn’t have time to get coffee, and the vending machine refused to cooperate, so today’s afterschool meeting was also rough (Bless my coworkers and their infinite patience). Needless to say, not a bad day, but not a stellar example of me taking care of myself.
Photo #1: The Number Talk
As part of our effort to increase numeracy and participation, we’re continuing number talks. Today, we looked at 46 + 37, figuring that it was too hard to add mentally and didn’t have any neat shortcuts like adding nines (but we could build on some of the strategies we learned by adding nines last week). This class had a long discussion about the traditional algorithm (not in those words), which I think lost some students, but felt important to discuss. We talked about whether the 1 (from 6 + 7) is a 1 or a 10, though I didn’t frame it as well as I would have liked. I think the student who multiplied 8×5 just worked his way back from the answer, which, in retrospect, is pretty cool, though I wasn’t quite sure how to address/acknowledge it at the time.
Photos #2, 3 and 4: Patterns, Graphs and Tables
Students are exploring the relationship between pile patterns (figures built of blocks) to tables and graphs. Today felt a bit rushed and I worry that student work reflects this. Students are pretty good at figuring out what the pattern of figures looks like and can fill in the table. We need a bit more practice with graphs (which we’ll do tomorrow). Photo #4 is the eponymous “incomplete graph” from one of my classes. Another teacher was quick to point out that most students take time to get started and to build the pattern that they need to make the graph and table – not finishing everything is not (necessarily) the same as not understanding. Plus we’re spiraling in a lot of this tomorrow.
Photo #5: The Participation Quizzes
It’s taking me a bit of time to get back into the swing of things, especially things that happen on the fly, like grading participation quizzes. This is the second participation quiz I’ve graded this year. I forgot to give the results to one class, but I think they’ll be OK. While participation quizzes are supposed to emphasize positive things, I remembered to take points off when students were talking outside of their tables (a norm that our team is trying hard to enforce). Debating whether or not to enter them into the grade book. I think I’m shooting for one participation quiz grade a week.
Unrelated: check out the new Blue Engine Teaching Assistants! (small, education nonprofit in New York. I less-than-three them)
Questions for the Floor:
– What’s a math problem that’s just challenging enough to be too hard to do mentally?
– Is it wrong to document “bad things” on participation quizzes (with smiley faces)?
– How cranky (on a scale of “1” to “Hulk”) do you think I am without coffee AND Gatorade?