Jun 052015
 

Capture

I pushed my AP Stats learners to use Plot.ly this year for their projects instead of JMP as I have in previous years. I am not sure if I like it better or worse, but I definitely have some frustrations.

Let’s go through the good points first.

1. After the learners had their data in Excel, it was very easy to import the .xlsx file into plot.ly. The learners had to make some changes to the first row, but that is to be expected.

2. As long as the learners hit “save” then they did not have to worry about losing their project. I have had previous years where learners lost flash drives or computer files the week before the project is due and had to start from scratch with their hard copy. I appreciate the fact that plot.ly saves the data IF the learners hit save.

3. Once the plots are present, downloading or screen capturing the plots are easy and quick. My learners liked the ability to  quickly make many different plots and then examine them and decide what they plots were really meaning. Changing colors, counts to percents, and other elements of the graphs was easy, fast and very user friendly.

All in all, not too many downsides from the learner’s perspective.

Here are my frustrations with the program as we have been using Plot.ly.

1. Many of my learners did surveys that had categorical Yes, No or Freshmen, Sophomore, Junior Senior responses. After compiling their survey responses, their data looked similar to this:

data

What kind of graph would you make with this type of data? You are correct a bar chart. Bar charts are for categorical data, histograms are for quantitative. So, I do that.

badgraph Not it.  I struggle with this for three days, tweet them for help, more than 4 times, and nada. Zilch. Don’t hear anything back, and am ready to give up on Plot.ly. However, I notice they have a “contact us” in the lower right of the screen. I email them, and a very nice person responds the next day and with instructions on how to make a Histogram.

What. The. Hell. A histogram? I follow her instructions.

data2 (you get the “choose as G” by the “Group by” button) and get this:

goodgraph The y axis is in percent (which takes an extra step to get), clearly what I wanted, but it is not a histogram. I do have a problem with a “Statistics” program that calls a bar graph a histogram. The instructions to make it a stacked bar chart are easy to follow and find, I chose not to do it for this comparison.

2. Ordering the x-axis is a pain. Many of the questions my learners had dealt with the difference between freshmen, sophomores, juniors and seniors. Plot.ly ordered the x-axis based on the order of the data in the spreadsheet. Which means to reorder the x-axis we had to sort the data in excel, (but we don’t want them in alphabetical order?) and reupload.

Really Plot.ly? You don’t have a way to specify the order of the axis? I searched. Trust me I searched long and hard. I ended up just telling my learners to not worry about it.

As a comparison, this is what it looks like in JMP (version 8 is what I have).

jmpdata graphing a “fit y by x”

jmpgraph After hitting “OK”, look at all the stats automatically generated! Also, in the contingency plot (made by default btw) the width is proportional to how many in that column, so the widths AND heights are informative unlike Plot.ly. JMP also automatically generates axis by percent, not counts.

jmpsort Ordering the data is as simple as clicking on Value Ordering under column properties.

I guess what I am saying is that clearly Plot.ly is not meant to be used as I am using it in class. There are easier, faster, and more statistically correct software to use. I will have to figure out what to use for next year because I am not completely sold on Plot.ly, but JMP has to be installed on computers. There are always gives and takes to every decision.

edit:

And right after I posted this, one of my learners walks in tearing her hair out. She has a mixture of categorical and quantitative data, and Plot.ly will not graph the categorical data at all for her. The menu options work completely different for her than for everyone else. She is installing JMP and getting it done that way. Sigh.

Aug 102014
 

made4math_small.png

This is my first “Made 4 Math Monday” post of the year, and it is probably one that I would be most proud of and is my biggest achievement. It is my Classroom, ready to rock and roll for learner tomorrow, Monday, 11 August 2014!

Here is what greets them as they walk in the door to my classroom. I will be standing outside high fiving them and handing them playing card with the number 1 – 8 on it. They will sit at the table (you can barely see the playing cards on each desk arrangement) with their number and then they will fill out a form that asks for their name and 3 things interesting about themselves.

2014-08-10 15.44.11 You can see the awesome curtains I made several years ago to hide the ugly contact paper a teacher before me put on the windows, my teacher area in the back of the room, and the desks all ready and waiting for eager learners.

Once they are situated, from left to right across the front of the room they will see this:

2014-08-10 15.43.04 2014-08-10 15.43.10 2014-08-10 15.43.14 2014-08-10 15.43.22

I did a closeup of the “Wall of Awesome” because there are some pretty funny things on there. Well, they are funny to me. I know the story, and if any learner asks, I tell them the story behind the quote too. Yes, I kind of dig Star Wars, and if you notice, I have a large “YET” on my wall on the left of the board. My 3 rules of math are above my board, all tricked out and crafted out. Thank you Meg and Shelli for the inspiration to be all “crafty”. Thank you again Meg for taking my Rules and making posters out of them.

As we continue to the right of the entrance, the learners see:

2014-08-10 15.43.46 2014-08-10 15.43.55

I have my quote of the day and the date all ready to go. I have the YEARS agenda already written out. I have not put my calculators in the handy dandy $5.00 shoe caddy from Ross yet. And some teachers have not picked up their calculators as of yet.

And then I was looking at the board and I realized I did not want to do the “you are here” I did last year, so I channeled my inner craft geek again and made these:

2014-08-10 15.45.17 One for Stats, one for Algebra. They are shiny because the glue is not dry yet, but once they are dry they will be stuck to the board with the two blue magnets sitting there.

And finally, because of this post from Jared Derksen I made a Pronoun Swear Jar. I will ask for $.25 each time a pronoun is used in class discussion. I figure the money can go towards AP Exams or an AP party at the end of the year, but either way it will go back to the learners. Nothing major, but here are pics:

2014-08-10 16.16.27 2014-08-10 16.16.21

There is my classroom. I will post about the first day activities tomorrow. I will NOT be going over the syllabus, but I DO have activities all planned out. Learning activities. My learners will be working from day one. No downtime.

I hope your first day of class goes well too!

Aug 032014
 

At TMC14 (Twitter Math Camp 2014) this year I did not attend many sessions, because I was the co-lead or lead in several blocks of time. It was great, and the comments I received were very complementary. I think the teachers telling me that were just being nice a little bit, but I hope they did receive some benefit from attending. With that said, the first thing I want to do in my TMC Recap posts is communicate some of what occurred in the sessions.

First up, Algebra 2. I co-led these sessions (there were 3 days of 2 hours each) with Jonathon Claydon (@rawrdimas) who blogs over at InfiniteSums. The 3 days were split into the following structure. Day 1 was about how to teach algebra 2 with some structure and form so that you can connect all the disparate topics of Alg 2. Day 2 was about a different way of cycling through the topics to allow for constant review and building of knowledge (pivot algebra), while day 3 as all about modeling.

Day 1 started off with the question, “How do you currently teach alg 2?” We had several answer. Graphing all the parent functions and creating a hook to hang the rest of the year that way (Family of Functions), or solving the equations and connecting the graphs later (equations first), going through the textbook units and color coding them, and then I introduced my (h, k) format. There was great interest in the (h, k) structure so we spent the rest of the time on that method.

What is that method, you ask? Well, on my board under the heading of Algebra 2, I have the following forms written down:

functions

First off, what do you notice and wonder about all these forms? Yes, I do ask that and spend some class time on the noticings and wonderings about this list. I actually have a “You are Here” note that moves from one to the next to the next as we go through Alg 2 and I make a big deal about that move.

The really nice thing about organizing the class in this way is that clearly the learners are learning ONE set of math operations, not 12. The amazing similarity between all of these forms encourages the learners to actually look at the math and ask “what is the same, what is different” and STOP thinking “all of this is different each time.” It takes some work, but the learners figure out that my 3 rules (the ONLY 3 rules I allow them to use/ write/ or say in class) are how ALL of these functions are solved. [make sure you read the comments too]

Also, shown (but not handed out) during the session was how I consolidate all of the maths for all of the functions and what I expect for every single function listed. It looks like this:

wksheet

All of the links for the handouts and materials are on the TwitterMathCamp Wiki site. If you want this handout or any other handouts from TMC, please feel free to download them.

My goal with this process is getting the learners to think of math as ONE body of knowledge and not a segmented series of things we memorize. We LEARN how to factor, how to graph, how to identify points on a graph, and we USE that same knowledge over and over again.

I have had some success with this last year and I am looking forward to doing it again and blogging about it as I go. Yes this means I am planning on blogging more. That is one goal I have for the year. It was created because of this article on the secret to writing. (hint, there isn’t one.)

 

Jul 162014
 

I have been thinking a lot about growth mindset lately (really, what teacher is not.) But I have really been trying to come up with positive, constructive ways to model and use it in the classroom as a way to change the learners beliefs.

One way I came up with using it is to have some statements that I can use consistently when learners are struggling in class. My personal challenge when dealing with the fixed mindset is what to say, how to constructively come back with something that will start impacting beliefs. As a teacher, we hear it, but how do we respond? It has to be consistent or we lose their focus. These cannot just be quotes on the wall, but statements delivered with conviction face to face to have an impact.

So, here are some statements I hope to use in my classroom. I am going to print them out and post them where I can see them every day in the morning and before every class to remind myself to use them until I don’t need the list any more.

Learner Says or is Doing: Teacher (ME!) says:
Learner is struggling with material “If it was easy, I would not waste your time with it”
Learner whips through problem, too easy “I apologize for wasting your time, I will find something more appropriate for you.”
“This is too hard.” “What strategies have we discussed that could help you get started?”
“This is too hard.” “It is difficult now, but so was adding in elementary school. You overcame that with effort and you will overcome this with effort.”
“I am not good at this.” “The more you practice the math, the better at it you will become.”
“This is easy.” “I am glad you understand this, can you develop a more complex idea with it that challenges you?”
“This is as good as I can do.” “You can always improve, as long as you give it some more effort. What other strategy have you not used yet?”
“I made a mistake, I can’t do this.” “Mistakes are how we learn. If it was easy, you wouldn’t be learning anything new.”
“This is good enough.” “Is this your best work to show your learning?”
“I didn’t get it on the first try, so I won’t.” “So your plan A didn’t work out. Good thing there are 25 more letters. Start on plan B.”
“You are just too hard on us. We can’t do it.” “I’m giving you this assignment because I have very high expectations and I know that you can reach them.”

 

The goal here is to have a bank of statements that reinforce growth mindset that are easy to memorize, adopt, use and believe in so that every day I am consistently changing the dialogue in the classroom. I have found that it is easy to get sideswiped by a comment and not have a positive response handy. My goal is to fix that.

 

Any suggestions? Additions? Changes?

 

———————-

Some resources for Growth Mindset I will also use come from:

http://mathmamawrites.blogspot.com/2010/07/day-one-of-class-beliefs-about-math.html Sue is an amazing writer and teacher. Her take on this is invaluable

http://mathhombre.blogspot.com/2010/07/growth-model.html Just download John Golden’s Implict Theory of Mathematics Learning worksheet now and give it out the first week of school. I am, and you will be glad you did it too.

http://practicalsavvy.com/2012/01/31/inspiring-quotes-demonstrating-the-growth-mindset/ These are great quotes, but quotes around the room won’t cut it. It has to come from my mouth, every day.

Apr 082013
 

Today is the first official day of Spring Break (Monday) and so far I have had an eventful weekend. I started by flying to Los Angeles and attending the 5th of the series of AP Workshops they have had. These are the one day workshop where teachers can attend and get some additional tips, hints, and prep for their AP classes.

They definitely inspired me!

I flew down on the districts dime. They offered to send myself and one other teacher to this workshop and paid for flights and hotel for us. This was very generous and even though the workshop was not offering Statistics I felt I could not refuse the offer to go and spend the day doing some calculus. I am glad I did. I spent the day talking to teachers from LA who work in very urban to not so urban schools about how to teach better. I also got a chance to speak with Don who works for the CollegeBoard and has some amazing insights into the AP process. More on that later.

First: This was the FIFTH in a series of these workshops for the LA Unified School District. Think about that. They have had 5 so far, and one more planned. If you teach AP, you are getting some great professional development. But it goes beyond “if you teach AP”. I was in the ‘little to no experience’ calculus room by choice, and in that room there were 7 others who DID NOT TEACH CALCULUS at all. One very eager teacher taught 10 years of geometry and 2 years of algebra 2, but wanted to make sure he was teaching correctly to help develop calculus learners. Another young teacher was in her 3rd year of teaching, and wanted to make sure she was still fresh and current on all levels of math.

Think about that. The depth of teachers LAUSD is developing by opening the sessions up to teachers who want to learn but are not currently teaching calculus is amazing. When Washoe County does their one workshop each year I doubt that it is this widely attended. I went once, but have not gone the last two years because of speech and debate meets being scheduled the same weekend. The one I attended was 100% only current AP teachers. What are we losing by limiting these?

Second: Some tips gleaned about what works for the “urban learner.” I won’t try to define what that means, but suffice it to say that LA has its fair share of them. Some of the tips here are pretty normal. A couple I never thought of. Worth the price of admission right there.

  1. Go over new material BEFORE questions about homework. <insert dopeslap here> DUH! What happens when you get lots of questions about the material from yesterday? You end up rushing the lesson for today. Which leads to more question tomorrow. Which leads to rushed lessons, and then you are always behind and the learners then learn to use that to their advantage and never let you get caught up.  Teach first, THEN go over homework if you need to. Teach first.
  2. Warmups in groups of 3 to 4. The urban learner has been trained NOT to be the smartest or the standout learner. The standout outside of the classroom is the mole that gets whacked (to use my own notes and putting it in different context.) Group work for the warmup allows them to talk about content without being “that kid”.
  3. Meet with parents at the beginning of the year in an AP class. Tell them what the expectations are. Let them know that there needs to be a homework time where NOONE watches TV in the house. Stress the importance of learning. Set the example. Have the parents form a support group of their own. Stress the importance of constant vigilance on homework and learning. Let the parents know there will be very stressful days for their learner. That is okay, support them.
  4. Encourage learners to build study groups by assigning problem sets from old AP exams that are due as group work. Start off by having 2 to 3 week deadlines. They need time to learn how to work as a group. Eventually shorten it to 3 to 5 days with more problems in the problems sets. It is about managing their workload and teaching them how to learn and talk about content.
  5. Praise often, and praise the right stuff. Look at a problem the learner did. Notice they did 85% of the problem right but made a consistent mistake. Point that out. Show them how much they know, and how little they really got wrong. The “100% is correct or nothing” mentality built by the “urban learner” is devastating to learning if they don’t see the progress.

These were the biggies. It is about creating culture of success in the classroom.

Finally, the next thing I learned was the importance of hammering the gatekeepers and using the AP Potential report. The AP Potential report is why the school district pays for every sophomore to take the PSAT. We get a report that itemizes for each learner what AP classes scores like theirs have been successful in AP classes. For 24 different AP classes.

I wonder if that report lists more than 60 learners for AP mathematics. Because that is how many learners are taking AP mathematics at my school out of 2100 learners. This means that at my school, only 2.9% of the learners take AP math of either calculus or statistics. Pretty sad, actually.

I am going to get a copy of our AP potential report so I can look at it and start pushing for AP math at my school. I am also going to share that with all the other AP teachers. I may ruffle some feathers but it is time to push, challenge, and ruffle some of the gatekeepers feathers.

Jan 082013
 

One thing that I have struggled with is to make review meaningful for AP Stats. I absolutely hate the “here is the review, the test will be similar” wink wink, where all you do is change some numbers and voila, there is the actual exam.

That doesn’t seem honest to me, when I am supposed to be preparing them to think critically and learn material. It doesn’t seem honest for regular classes and it is doubly dishonest in AP classes. This year I have really been thinking and working on this issue more in my classes. To that end, this is my review project this year. 1 day in, and I think it is mostly successful.

I started off with a data set. I took it from my proficiency materials, stripped out anything that could be used to identify a particular learner, and then deleted 20 digits and put in blanks. The blanks were filled in using digits from the learners own student id number. Now, the learners can discuss HOW to do the problems, but they cannot get answers from anyone else. I can easily check their answers using JMP or another statistics program if I question their work. The nice thing, is almost everyone’s graphs will look similar, but not identical. Similar enough I can help w/o needing to do the entire process because I know what it is supposed to look like.

image

Now comes the questions. heh heh heh. 10, simple, innocuous questions.

For instance, here are the first 3 questions:

1. Describe the 3 variables completely, including types of variable, appropriate graphs of the values and complete description of the distributions, including all appropriate statistics. J K L

2. A passing score on the math test is a 242, while for the reading test a 300 is required. Is passing the proficiency exam in either math or reading independent of gender? Construct appropriate graphs to help explain why or why not. J K L

Create a bar chart of reading and math scores broken down by gender. Explain what the graph says about the pass rates of males and females.

The “JKL” at the end is the Wingding’s font for “smiley face” “straight face” and “frowny face”. They can rate themselves on each question.

The files are embedded here in both docx and pdf format if you would like copies.

How did it go, you ask?

I am giving them 3 class periods to work on it. I am glad, because after day 1, they accomplished most of question number 1!

I was stunned by them asking “How do I make a histogram?”. Like we didn’t do it 100 times at the beginning of the year.

Ooops, that is the problem. They learned it for the test, and promptly forgot it. Now I am forcing them to actually go back and relearn everything we have covered the entire year. They are cursing me, but it is working. I have had a lot of “aha’s” because they didn’t learn it well the first time, and now they are being forced to figure it out. It is working.

I wonder if I can’t teach the material this way to begin with? Can’t I give them a data set and say “Go”. We can figure out how to handle it together?

Makes a person go hmmm.

Sep 162012
 

Where to start.

I have been thinking and working with the Exeter materials quite a bit in the last 3 months. I have come to see the value in the methods and the questions, and the way the questions cycle from lower levels to higher levels.

But I have to say I don’t see the Exeter curriculum as a magic bullet. It isn’t. There is no such thing as a magic bullet for math education. There is a lot of hard work. There are a lot of relationships to build with learners. There are many hours to put into lessons that engage learners to think deeper about the mathematical issues.

The Exeter Curriculum is a part of this process, not the end of this process. It is not something that will solve any problems. It is however, something that will help me, as a math teacher trying to improve my classroom, to engage learners, to develop deeper thinking, and to push the high standards of the Common Core into classrooms.

I am not confident of the efforts offered by the textbook publishers. Here are two examples of why:

http://blog.mrmeyer.com/wp-content/uploads/larsoncommoncore.gif

http://blog.mrmeyer.com/wp-content/uploads/pearsoncommoncore.gif

If the CCSS is going to actually impact the classroom in a positive manner, we can’t take the same ol’ same ol’ materials and just slap on a new label. We need to structurally change and improve what we are doing.

That is where the Exeter Curriculum can come into play and help, and it creates the next problem I, as a public school teacher have. And this goes back to the first post I made, Exeter we have a problem. I had flashbacks of Apollo 13 as I wrote it because it is relevant. As the quote goes, “Houston, we have a problem” and the problem was absolutely centered in that little capsule. The experts who developed the program were on the ground and could go home safe and sound at the end of the day, but those astronauts needed to step out of their comfort zone and do something above and beyond.

As a public school teacher, I am in the same capsule. Our comfort zone has been stripped away and completely new standards pushed on us. We need to step up, or step out. It really does come down to that. The old guard who doesn’t want to change will be forced out through the new “evaluation” procedures that also have been forced down our throats by people who have no clue about education.

Okay, so the stage is set. Nothing I wrote above will change. Stop complaining.  What the heck am I going to do about it.

The Plan (or WCWDWT):

As part of our evaluation process I had to create a Professional Growth Plan. The plan I proposed and was approved was to take the Math 1 Exeter Curriculum and align it with the Common Core State Standards as well as simultaneously give the problems keywords and strands.

In addition, I have spoken with the two very nice and enthusiastic gentlemen from OpusMath.com who have the technical background to take the entire project, upload it to their website, and host the problem sets, alignment, stranding, keywords, AND make it all searchable, selectable and downloadable for FREE (and that is free as in air).

What Can We Do With This? We can create a database of problems that are rich. We can create a database of problems aligned to the CCSS that are searchable, selectable and downloadable for use in the classroom by math teachers around the world.

What can we do with it then? That hasn’t been explored. We have to create the foundation before we can build the building. I have spoken with someone at Exeter and they are interested in the project. Of course, they can not help much. It isn’t their burden to take on, it is ours (and now mine!).

I have another teacher at my school who has agreed to take on this with me. She is absolutely crazy to do so, which means I am completely insane.

Aug 102012
 

I am planning several posts on this week’s time I spent with a math teacher from Phillips Exeter Academy. This first one, though, will be radically different from the others, and it is because I have to vent a little and lay out a difficulty I had today.

Today was the last day of the Exeter training, and it started with me staring at my computer at 6:45 am this morning thinking about the day ahead and looking at my notes from yesterday. Then I looked at my Google Reader and I read a post on Common Core that brought me to a realization.

As public school math teachers … we are screwed.

Let me explain how I reached this epiphany.

It is impossible to work on the Exeter math problems and not realize how carefully they are constructed and well developed the curriculum. After spending time with an Exeter math teacher and developing a deeper understanding of the Harkness Method they use (never once did this phrase come up, but the methods used by the instructor were clearly modeling the method) a person can’t help but really develop a strong affinity for their curriculum, which they GIVE away for FREE!

Okay, I really like their curriculum. It is rigorous, models real life situations constantly, allows learners to develop strong understandings without memorization, has multiple entry points for learners to develop strengths and and is completely free.  Point one to my depression today.

My state, like 44 other states (Utah backed out this week) is adopting the Common Core State Standards. This fact is point two to my depression. You see, when those two points are combined we are in a heap of trouble. Pearson and McDougal-Littel (among others) are developing many programs they are chomping at the bit to sell to our admins, and we all know they have a direct line through media and other means to our principals and curriculum directors.

And what does Exeter have? A curriculum that is fabulous, and is not aligned to any Common Core standards. They have the experience to build what is hands down the best math curriculum we could possibly use, and they give it away for free. They are not going to be lined up at our Admin Retreats pumping their product (but all the publishers had a booth at our local Admin Retreat this week, I looked.)

The next time textbooks are adopted who is going to be at the table? Pearson? Yes. McDougal? Yes. Exeter? No. Who has the better curriculum that will BEST meet the requirements of CCSS? Hands down, Exeter.  Are our admins going to even consider a curriculum that isn’t handed to them pre-aligned and packaged for the CCSS? No.

Who are our admins going to listen to; the missing voice of Exeter, or the loud and well funded voices of the textbook companies? Right.

And the worst thing is that this is NOT Exeter’s problem. They just write the problems. They write them for their own use and then make them available. They can not and SHOULD NOT be expected to advocate for their curriculum in public schools.

But, Exeter, WE have a problem.*

—————–

*I think I have a solution that I will write about after I detail some great stuff from this week. I am not sure my solution is achievable, but I don’t think we have a choice.

May 162011
 

Back when I was in grad school working on my M.Ed., I had to do one of those philosophy papers on my personal teaching philosophy. All my classmates whined and groaned, but as someone with a philosophy degree, I take that kind of assignment very seriously. In the end, I decided one thing for sure out of that assignment, that I did not want to teach students, but wanted to teach learners.

Yea, uh, okay. What is the difference? To me, I looked at the root of the words. “Student” is based on the root “study” while “Learner” is based on the root “learn”. Do I want the kids in my room to be studying or learning? I choose learning, therefore I need to create an environment where learning can happen instead of studying.

Yea, uh, okay. What does that mean? To be honest, not sure. The first thing I did four years ago is banish the word “student” from my vocabulary. That started a philosophical change in the way I approached teaching. I could not allow myself to call the people in my classroom “students”. By forcing a change in language (key Wittgenstein and his language games here folks) I changed my thinking about what I was doing.

Did it work? The first year I would say no. It was a failure. I taught like I had been taught. It sucked. I got more comfortable with the vocabulary though, and it make me more careful. I kept working at it. After year 4, I can say I am much much better at learning in the classroom instead of studying. That is good. I am not there by any means though.

So what prompted this posting today? In my Reader, up popped this post today by Scott McLeod. And I read it with great zeal. It mirrored some of my long time thinking. And there was the terrific chart in it that clarified what a learner was and what a student was.

  Students Learners
Relationship with educators Students are employees, required to obediently follow instructions. Learners are citizens with a vested interest in the learning society.
Relationship with other “Students” Students are competitors Learners are collaborators
Motivation Obligation: Students are culturally obliged to work for the teacher & for compensation (below) Responsibility: Learners are motivated by an understood and realized “value” in their work, especially when it is valuable to others.
Compensation Institution defined grades and gateways to college (another institution) and a good job (another institution) A sense of ongoing accomplishment that is not delivered but earned, and not symbolic but tangible and valuable — an investment.
Mode of Operation Compliant, group-disciplined, objective-oriented, and trainable Persevering, self-disciplined, group- and goal-oriented, resourceful, and learning in order to achieve rather than achieving learning.
Why? Compelled Curious
Equipped ..with packaged knowledge and tools for recording packaged knowledge — prescribed and paced learning ..with tools for exploring a networked variety of content, experimenting with that content, and discovering, concluding, and constructing knowledge — invented learning
Assessment Measuring what the student has learned. Measuring what the learner can do with what has been learned.

This chart was originally created by David Warlick in 2010.

Okay, that does a great job at breaking down the different aspects of why the words mean different things. I can honestly say that the “compensation” and the “Why?” are two reasons that I originally make the commitment to learning in my classroom.

Today, at the end of my 4th real year of teaching, I can say that t he relationships with educators and peers is another reason I have fully tried to commit to. The motivation and mode of operation are harder. Those are me creating an environment where those to can flourish. I try, but I don’t think I am always successful.

Assessment is still the killer. How do you create authentic assessments that will measure what the learner can do?

After 4 years, I can say I am beginning to be a decent teacher who is creating an environment where learning is the focus and studying is not. Let’s see what year 5 can bring my way!

Jan 292011
 

What a difference a year makes. Or not. No, it did make a difference. A year ago, I was in the middle of my 3rd year of teaching. Do you remember your third year? If it sucked, because you felt like an utter failure at every single lesson, every single exam, and everything else you did, then yes, you remember.

So, I stopped blogging. I am still looking for success, and I am finding some better success now, but a year ago, no.

With that explanation, I am going to explain what I learned, and then re-launch my blog.

What I learned by taking a year off. First off, I didn’t really think I had anything to contribute to the larger community of teachers as a whole. I now realize that I was horribly mistaken! I do have something to contribute, and I am not a horrible teacher. I may not be a great one, but I am not horrible. What I have to contribute is the successes I do have! My learners are awesome! My fellow teacher ROCK! And together, we have done some amazing things. I can share those amazing things.

You know that model of competence? Yea, that one one that has Consciously Competent, Unconsciously incompetent, etc. You know, this one. I learned that I have Unconscious Competence in technology. I dealt with some teachers and had it drilled into me that it is not necessarily a good thing to be unconscious about that!

Damn. That is why I was so frustrated on some issues with fellow teachers! I just assumed that everyone can write in html (you mean they can’t?).  So, I spent part of the year thinking on how I can help. How can I do better at teaching my co-workers?

So, in the end, I learned a lot about me. My goal is to have one substantive post about my learners and classroom every week. I also post a daily or every other day link on Twitter about tech and / or interesting idea about teaching.

I also started the SLF (Student Learning Facilitator) program with Washoe County School District. I will be writing about this process. Honestly, it is the best training I have had, hands down.

Bon Voyage, my friends. So begins a new chapter in finding Success!