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tech pd entry document

 
Please note that this scenario is fictional, any relation to real persons or places are purely coincidental.

 

You are a teacher at City of Medicine Academy Town of Health School, the principal, a demanding wonderful English Irish woman by the name of Mrs. Shearer O’Shear, has asked that all teachers have a website up and running by October 26th, 2011. At the last minute she decides to bump up the due date to October 12th, 2011 by 2:30pm! You realize that is today and you have only a short amount of time to put something together.

Mentor Feedback

I thoroughly enjoyed working with and being challenged by Matt Sears, he recognized that I had a little PBL experience coming into the classroom and worked with me as I tried to hone those skills.  Mr. Sears set up a ‘Feedback Form’ in Google Docs that allowed him to post thoughts as I was teaching that were immediately available for me to review and comment on.  He stuck with the ‘Critical Friends’ protocol which meant that after listing what I did that day he had two columns of comments:  what he ‘liked’ and what he ‘wondered’ about.  In general his comments were aimed at the subtleties of content delivery and student engagement and were of great help to me.  I’ve selected some of these bulleted points and listed them (verbatim) in the table below:

 

 

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Mr. Rowe did ____________ I liked ___________ I wonder ___________

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Walked students through practice worksheet on slope and plotting data. Then checked homework on similar worksheet -Calling on girls and boys
-Great worksheet design
-Threw in “rap” references
-Using the phrase, “this should be review from Algebra 1”. How do you think students who are lost or are struggling might feel?
-You said, “you don’t want to end up at McDonalds”. What if a student’s parents work there? How might they feel? Could you consider, when making points like that, saying that if you end up at McDonalds that’s cool, but I want you to have the choice. If you choose McDonalds, I support that.
-Is the class too large for “whole class” discussions?

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Presented a worksheet similar to the homework, then walked students through the homework. -You moved well about the room. I was looking to see if you excluded specific groups with your body language/movement and couldn’t discern any.
-By having the extra activity first, you gave students who DID NOT do their homework to still learn material
-Seemed like all students were engaged
-Good use of technology to enhance instruction (used tablet to show work on the overhead)
-Did you know if students were actually plotting points and completing the work? I wasn’t sure you were actually checking student work…
-One student was seated with their back turned to the board. Could you have asked students to readjust so that everyone could easily see?

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Made a presentation on % change and how it realtes to our project. Mr. Rowe used the overhead to take students through a few examples. -referred back to worksheets from the past (prior knowledge/work)
-you made mistakes (intentionally?) and talked about them with the students
-you made a clear effort to wake up the class and get them thinking
Little things:
-You put up just 2 problems at first. Could you put up more so that kids that get it quickly could work ahead? You could certainly still say, “just do 1 and 2”
-Did you/we mention that calculators would be required? Stopping to let them collect them slowed your progress in my opinion.Bigger things:
Communication: I wonder if we’re communicating effectively? I was hopeful that you would create a full similar situation that was coherent to a problem. I thought you would present a set of data and convert it into % change data that we could plot. Let me know where YOU think the communication broke down and what I can do to better communicate.

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Explained the crux of the Fuel Economy project and how to make predictions from equations that fit data. *Data was ready and was displayed well on overhead
*Graphs were very clear and easy to understand, colorful
*Calculator emulator helped students SEE how to do it.
*None really…I wonder how long it took to create the activity? Is this too time intensive to do on a regular basis???

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* Created a review sheet for regression/%-change
* Walked students through the boxed sections of the study guide
* Engaged students after an hour of quiet work by asking how they were
* Emphasized practice
* What do you think students thought about you mentioning our degrees? I know I do it too, but I often wonder what they think.

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Saw:
*Mr. Rowe had students create Edmodo accounts
*Students read Entry Doc
*Mr. Rowe had student write down 1 Know/Need to Know on Post it
*Students read Entry Documents out loud
*Showed commercials on board
*Discussion on what people saw on the commercials
*Tried to move to Consumer Reports assignment (technical difficulties)
*Group contracts
* Poll question in Edmodo
* Students posting comments in Edmodo…Mr. Rowe contributing
* Having know/need to know on post it shows you when groups are done
* Students had to pick up where the last student left off in reading the Entry Document
* Addressed one of my “I Wonders” now by calling on the other side of the room.
* 5 Groups were seated at the opposite ends of the tables until 10:10am. Could you have said something or done a collaborative activity earlier on?
* Mispronouncing names? Thoughts?
* Energy seemed low during Know/Need to Know. Did writing down just one know/need to know minimize the participation? Why not have them work collaboratively on one sheet to list all knows/need to knows?
* Class is more than 1/2 over…I think this has to do with setting up Edmodo, but time may be an issue. Thoughts?
* During your discussion, most students engaged, but I count 7 that are doing things on the computers
* Classroom conversation is casual, and you’re getting good response, but there are at least 1/2 of students that are not participating. How will you reach these students? Could you engage them more?
* You asked me what we should do next. CAREFUL! 🙂 You want this class to buy in to you as teacher and me as watcher…
* Link not being posted earlier…how does this look to students?
* Obviously the technology got in your way today…what could you do next time? (it got in my way too)

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* Used Edmodo to link to 2 surveys students needed to complete
* Had students do a reflection on an Einstein quote regarding instructional practices
* Lesson using basketball data to calculate total points scored over a year
* Great quote…we followed up on your expectations there so no need to comment
* You were flexible on the homework…you’re leaving the content grade to a later date
* Once the lesson on matrix mult was started, you have a good flow/pace to your work
* 100% HW completion
* Regarding the homework: although you were flexible, how will you address the inevitable situation of: “I lost it since then.”?
* How is Edmodo going? Is it getting in your way at all (in terms of meeting the expected pace of this project?)
* I see you’re doing instruction on Edmodo through the class…could you design some work they could do outside of class that could teach some of this and save you time?
* You still have groups that haven’t REALLY spoken (from what I’ve seen): Aidan-Katerina, Desman-Guadalupe
* Might having a written “to do” plan help you stay organized/on track during your implementation of the day? It is true that I don’t use one, and probably have gaffes as well, but there are times when disorganization slows you down. Example: getting the HW assignment to them. During class you wrote it on a note, then took the note to the board, then wrote it there.
* I’m glad there was 100% HW completion, but could you have mentioned again the group contract firing procedure? I met with the groups yesterday (yes, I had more time) to remind them.
* There was significant assumption of Basketball knowledge in your lesson. I’m sure I did some of this too, but I am always fearful that I will alienate some students and make them feel “uncool” by making it seems like everyone should know this stuff. I make it an explicit point of saying “the National Basketball Association” or other acronyms so students can understand quickly what we’re talking about.
* Should students have been taking notes? It wasn’t until you assigned them to find the total points that someone finally asked, “should we write this down?” and you said “yes.” Although you had strong % of students following you, there wasn’t much kinetic activity in the room which can bring on drowsiness.

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* Review Rubric
* Review FOIL
* Teach Factoring
* Ran out of time to give quiz…
– Explaining rubric
– Video (I’ve linked it on the site)
– The “old fashioned” way of multiplying binomials.
– FYI: Broderick prefers to be called “Mr. Garner”. He is very engaged today…
– Nearly 100% engagement…
– Good movement
– Box method
– Students using the overhead pad
– The “headphones” method…kids are very engaged.
– Moved Tamyrra to help folks concentrate
– Using your notes to put problems on the board…shows that you’re prepared…avoids making up “bad problems”
– Step up to get your rep up
– (side note) Are we going to have them do any reflection? Maybe independently?
– Why did you read the rubric as opposed to someone else?
– There’s a lot of you explaining, which isn’t necessarily bad, but if I’m a student that gets bored…
– Desman and Eric not taking notes. Does this matter to you?
– You’re moving well…but are you monitoring for understanding and working?
– Can you save these notes and send them digitally to Aidan’s mother? Or the rest of the class?
– Discussing mistake of Andrea’s (-21n + 20n): What other ways can you talk about adding/subtracting negatives? I’m sure you know a bunch of ways, but one of my favorites is negative means “owe” and positive means “have” and think about it in terms of $
– Garner eating in class…I’d prefer it if students didn’t (ants) (you addressed this…thanks)
– Explaining pulling x out of 2x^2 + 3x to Jose. It might help to show 2x^2 as 2*x*x + 3*x to visualize it. (later on now)…explaining to Desman. I think it may help all if more prime factorization was involved.
– Please watch the following groups of people as they are exhibiting some negative behaviors: Brown-Perez-Glanton Persaud-Hicklen-Stone

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Same as 11/02 with more videos… * Good-natured Duke/UNC talk
* When it was time for lunch, you had students say “wait” meaning they were very, very engaged. This is a great sign.
* There is some appropriate jockying with students, however, consider that you don’t know what is going on with them outside of class. While they may be in good spirits visibly, deep down they may be hurting and we don’t want to push them over the edge. For instance, there is a student in this class whose mother died a month ago…
* You basically TOLD them the entry document…in general I hate this. I always fall back to: am I working, or are the kids working?
* I wonder if you know these students names. Unique was joking around too much (in my opinion), but he wasn’t called out until after lunch.
* Caution: I think you’d agree that there was rowdiness after lunch that was in some ways detrimental to your goals. This arises from your casualness with them, but your casualness is an asset in some instances. I’m okay with you going down this path, and I’m going to stay hands-off, but I think this could come back to bite you in the same way the “it’s because you’re black” comment did. Some things I would caution you against, “Afro in the way.” Are you sure he’s comfortable with that statement? Yelling, “eh”? Could you find another way, a “trigger” that let’s the class know it’s time to focus? I have some ideas if you like them (classroom management 101)
* I thought there was way too much down time after coming back from lunch. Yes, they started to ask you questions, but that was from minutes 4-8 after class had already started. These kids are proud that they reported back on time, let’s reward them by engaging them immediately, or you may find that getting them back on time is an issue. Just my thoughts.

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* got students working on looking up solar cooker
* Gateway quiz #2
* Graded papers, had failures move to front.
* Selecting groups in the back while running factoring workshop in the front.
* Students working in the front while Mr. Rowe demonstrates focus of light in the back.
* Class was working very quickly
* You weren’t afraid to hold Kayla accountable for asking for help
* You corrected Andrea and Kayla in terms of where they should sit and what they should be doing.
* Once the followup workshop got started, I liked the breaking down of the terms into prime factors
* Good division into two working groups
* Students are using your overhead projector while you’re demonstrating the light/parabola in the back
*Just saying, “explain in plain English…” We’ll see if that’s enough for them to meet your objectives.
*Again, I’m very worried that we assume to much with students factoring x out of x^2 without the intermediate step of x^2 = x*x…we’ll see…
*You knew this was coming: “If you CAN’T pass this…” Careful.
* Would a “conversation in the hall” be a way to help Kayla better understand your expectations? Maybe we need to do a behavior contract with her?
* Jose just got a computer to get started…why was he putting it back?
* Spending a lot of time moving students around for the workshop…visually you look frustrated. A lot of down time here for students in the front. If they’re behind (and they are), should they get your full attention?
* For the written work in the back, might it have helped you stay more organized to do a Google Form and have emailed it to them for the writing piece? I heard you tell them to type it.
* Now I’m being picky (but Ginny mentioned vocab): Is 1 a prime #? I’d like to hear the word “composite” here. Numbers are prime or composite, no? It’s not super important that we get this in, but this lesson is an opportunity to inject more formal math language.
* Desman was naming students: “Desmond, that-dude-right-there, Mohammad…” I wonder if you should have called him on that. To not know a fellow student’s name on 11/8 is weird and without correcting him, I worry that that student (Isaiah) feels like he doesn’t matter to Desman or teacher. Knitpicky…but…
* It seems like a bit of a struggle to both run the workshop effectively and get the group selections going in the back. Is there a way that the people in the back could be truly independent so you can focus on the front???
* Why not do GCF of a trinomial? Negatives?
* Do you think those that have not passed the Gateway understand that by continued failure they are putting themselves further and further behind???

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* Too much time with helping??? It’s 15 minutes into class and you’ve not begun the quiz. You’re doing what you had hoped would happen at lunch/after school. I think we need to think really hard about this: THEY’RE NOT DOING WHAT YOU WANT. You do keep repeating when you’re available, BUT repeating it and then throwing up our hands and saying to ourselves, “I tried…” isn’t enough. Private conversations need to start happening (hallway, lunch, etc.). Parent phone calls need to start happening. You going to the lunch room needs to start happening where you make eye contact and signal them to come to you. We need to think about the maturity level here…if given a choice, nearly all kids will choose to play around during lunch instead of working. I’m thinking about Unique, Cairo, Thomas, Justin B, Romario, Isaiah. I think they need to see you more as invested in them. Please reflect on this and let me know your thoughts.

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* Gateway quiz
* Remediation
* You pulled the students in the back out in the hall to talk to them
* You’ve repeated several times your expectations for them seeing you
* What resources do you need in the room such that you are doing the “lunch tutoring” in here? Why not do your tutoring in the lunch room where students are more likely to see you and remember?
* How will these students (those that haven’t passed the gateway) finish the project by Thanksgiving? Have you considered shutting the other groups down and having them do some reciprocal tutoring so that they can learn? And have multiple attempts in the same class period??? This is the 4th direct instruction with this group of students…
* You really are keeping your body on the left side of the board when you break in teaching. Consider moving to the right more than you’re doing…

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* Served as substitute while I was out
* Continued implementing parabola project
* Final report submitted for the three days was unprompted
* I did not get any emails from students or parents reporting problems
* Other teachers confirmed that things were fine while I was out
* NC Wise attendance was not done on Wednesday
* Report of how the day went should be emailed daily, for instance, had I known that Jarad was a problem on Monday, I could have remotely addressed in an saved poor behavior on Wednesday that will now result in discipline that adds more work to all involved
* What is happening in Algebra 2? The Agendas on the Calendar have not been updated since Wed 10/10? No updates for the website have been sent. Not only is it a problem that I’m not up to date on what is happening in Algebra 2, but any parents and Dr. Logan are in the dark as well. While I know you’re not trying to hide anything, it doesn’t look good.
* Grades: progress reports will be issued Monday and there are only 5 grades that only span 2 Learning Outcomes. Parents (rightly so) are going to ask what these assignments are and what their kids have been doing. Related: get into the habit of using the “description” box in Engrade to explain what assignments are and consider more understandable titles

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* Casual workshop on finding focus from a parabola (including measuring and regression)
* Impromptu formal workshop on cross multiplication
* Put class to work, directions on board
* You have an ally in Mr. Garner-really engaged, showing leadership, doing good work. This shows me strong relationship development and that he is a student that likes your teaching style.
* Good implementation of PBL by calling the impromptu workshop.
* I assume you took Jose out into the hall to talk with him about strategies
* What about kids that don’t like your teaching style?
* What strategies did you give Jose for working with Aidan? How do you plan to incorporate Mr. Anderson? Will you update Dr. and Mr. Hennessy?
* Online agendas? Materials list in digital form? Kids should be able to find what they need to know….

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A Classical and Modern History of Algebra

This algebra survey class with Dr. Hodel was quite fun. Though challenging at times, the way Dr. Hodel mixed in the development of Algebra through the ages and was never afraid to veer off on a tangent we showed interest in was truly wonderful. By placing the history side by side with the material we were able to gain new perspectives on more abstract and challenging areas. It is my hope that going forward as a teacher I will be able to always to put the material being presented in context; thereby leading to greater understanding and retention for my students.

Number Theory

Though the Number Theory course with Dr. Pardon was very challenging I did enjoy it for the most part. I really liked the freedom he gave us at the end of the class when it came to our required papers and presentations. Dr. Pardon throughout the course had always slipped in historical references and long road perspectives. As such he allowed me to diverge from my topic of large number multiplication algorithms in modern computing and instead show the class how multiplication techniques had progressed through the ages; starting with primitive abacus style mechanical tools up to (nearly) modern day slide rules. It made for a fun presentation that showed the class how far we had truly come just in the last 30 years. It is my hope that this perspective will help them as they go forward in their math studies.

A Survey of Classical and Modern Geometries

In this survey of classical and modern geometries, we spanned the history of geometry from Euclidean to Hyperbolic.  Dr. Bray taught the class in a relaxed manner, often figuring out problems and proofs on the spot with the class.  By doing this he was able to show his thought process and how he approached problems, which I found to be very beneficial.  As  a math teacher I spend quite a bit of time trying to break students free of being overwhelmed by problems and immediately wondering, “what do I put in my calculator?”  Dr. Bray essentially used the same approach, instead of being overwhelmed, he showed us how to reason our way through and around obstacles that seemed untenable at first glance.

Reflection On Videotaped Lesson

General Information
For this class I have the chairs arranged in an arc at the front of the room.  My plan is to ‘nudge’ a discussion along with only slight involvement.  I would like the students to reason through things on their own without my leading them too much.  I have set up the camera on a shelf in the back of the room.  Though I hadn’t placed it there with the intention of it being hidden, the students don’t notice that it’s there, and I forget about it until the end of the day.  In the two classes prior to this one these students had completed activities where they researched and explained practical uses of the parabolic shape.  The finished product of this project will be either a parabolic solar cooker or  parabolic microphone.Observation
As  the students enter the classroom they first comment on the chairs as I tell them to get their calculators and have a seat.  One student tries to sit outside the arch of chairs and I ask him to sit up front with the rest of the class and he does.  Once class is settled we watch two short YouTube videos that show a parabolic shaped solar cooker being made and then being used.  After the videos I ask the students how and why the parabolic cooker works.  I ‘play dumb,’ asking for more detail and acting like I don’t understand.  The students begin to get animated with their discussion as they get frustrated with my lack of understanding (quite the role reversal!).  Eventually they explain the concept very thoroughly.  I then ask them for other things we see or use everyday that are shaped like a parabola.  The first thing the students mention is a headlight.  I then act confused by that saying, “Wait, with the cooker you said it took light in and focused it on one spot, but a headlight puts light out; how is that possible?”  It is then a repeat of the events that led to the first explanation.
Once the students have offered a good explanation for the headlight phenomenon, I have a student draw a parabola on the white board that hangs at the front of the class.  I then ask for the students how they would come up with an equation for the parabola.  I ask them what type of equation describes a parabola, they respond correctly that it is a quadratic.  I remind them they had to come up with a quadratic equation for their first project.  They eventually figure out that they would have to identify some points, input them into the calculator, and calculate the quadratic regression formula for the given data.  They argue over the best way to accomplish this, some students get very animated.  They eventually figure out an approach to use and solve for the equation.  This takes until the end of the class period.  They put away their calculators, move the chairs back into place, and are dismissed.

Thoughts
For our last book study, Therese had the desks pushed aside and blankets on the floor.  She had us all take off our shoes and sit down.  It was this approach as well as one of the topics covered in the book that inspired me to do things differently on this day.  The topic in the book that I covered involved making connections in learning to other aspects outside of the classroom in order to help the students remember and apply the knowledge they have learned instead of just memorizing formulas for standardized tests.  In addition to these things I had also been impressed with Dan Meyer’s idea (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BlvKWEvKSi8) that we should pull information away and encourage debate on subjects, by using this approach students are more likely to build these connections.
Looking back on this day, I was happy with the results.  There was a complaint from one student, “We had to teach ourselves, you didn’t teach us anything.”  And there were two or three who still didn’t quite grasp what was going on and were just plugging in numbers to their calculators hoping to come up with the right answer.  At this point I am not sure what I would do to improve the experience and outcomes for all students, I am hoping that after having similar classes one or two more times I will get a better idea of what should be done to improve them.  This leads to one of the trickiest parts of the PBL approach; adding scaffolding and structure without it ‘looking’ like traditional classroom structure.