Week 12

So I decided that I tried to cram entirely too much material into last week, and a short week at that. Absolute value equations, inequalities, and solving functions for a variable? A little bit crazy. The test was so complex that it took me a week to grade them. And I had to force myself through each one. Note to self: never do that again!

I was looking forward to this week, a new topic and only one: slope. I started out by just teaching rise over run. We used shapes drawn on a coordinate plane in geogebra and counted the squares to find the rise over run for each piece. I gave a creative (yet stolen) assignment for homework that worked out pretty well. The next day we transitioned into finding slope using the slope formula. I had an awesome lesson thanks to @sweenwsweens! I, Elissa Miller, rapped in front of my class. You literally would have to see it to believe it. But since you can't, you just need to check out his version or just steal the lesson and do it your self. It was empowering to say the least. I explained to the students that my point was that to make the slope formula memorable because it is something they will use over and over again. And after hearing my rapping ability (or lack thereof) I think they truly believed that could be my only possible reasoning.

Next, I tried one of my fellow blogging buddy's methods. Her math department recently redid their entire math curriculum based on packets called skill activities. It starts out with review activities which lead into the main focus skills and ends with secondary skills. While it looks like students are just filling out worksheets, these teachers are truly following Dan Meyer's mantra to "be less helpful" and further to "create crisis". Students work in groups or partners and teachers literally don't help until they have struggled to work things out or if the entire class is struggling. Teachers circle around to remediate and guide and students present problems at the end of class. I attempted this method and the students reacted strongly to the fact that I wouldn't help them. I surveyed the class and they all knew why I did it, they just didn't like it. We compromised and decided I would lecture less and they could do partner/group work more with more help from me. A little bit more anyway. I was disappointed with one class- I gave them one full class period and even went over the answers and they couldn't even bring themselves to write down the answers.

In geometry I tried a couple different worksheets dealing with triangles and proving that the formula for area of a triangle is derived from the formula for area of a rectangle. But due to extenuating circumstances, that was an epic fail. We worked on measuring with rulers and protractors and finding perimeter and area as well as classifying types of triangles. I decided to do something I've been wanting to try for a while: individual assessment (for lack of a better name). I had each student come to my desk and work out a quiz individually. They had to show me they knew how to use a ruler, protractor, perimeter formula, area formula, Pythagorean Theorem, and classification names. It taught me a lot because students were more cautious but more dependent on my reaction to their work as a way of deciding what they really knew. I doubt I will ever do this again, it took me 3 days to get through a class of 10 students. Maybe next time just one question, quick and dirty?

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