Saturday, October 16, 2010


I have been trying to figure out how to incorporate graphs of various equations into tests/worksheets purely electronically. I can see how it is much easier to create our desired graphs on graph paper and then cut and paste but I think that by eliminating the middle step of creating graphs by hand, I would save some time. I knew that I could used excel to make my grids but I didn't feel it was user-friendly in creating more complicated equations aside from linear equations. Another option is using the ActivBoard program (which offers a free trial period) which allows you to create graphs, shapes and other various math-related materials on a flip chart. Then what ever you create on the ActivBoard program you can cut out the image and past it on to a word document. Although a person may not have the ActivBoard,they still have the ability to access the program.

Cheating During Tests

Here's a method to prevent cheating during tests-file folders. When students are arranged in groups that face each other, pass out file folders to each student and have them sit up the folders as if reading a book on their desks. The folders serve to shield wandering eyes from either a fellow neighbor or preventing your eyes from wandering away from your own test. Sometimes two folders are necessary for complete coverage.

Technology Fritz

It is an inevitability that if technology is used as part of a daily regiment that there's bound to be technical difficulties. One day while using an interactive white board two students were working on problems on balancing equations and one of the pens seemed to not make connections to the board however, after a few moments and some clicking here and there, the equation managed to get balanced and the students returned to their seats. After class, I brought up questions about student's willingness to participate in class despite obvious complications that other students have. It has come to my attention that these students what the opportunity to "play" on the interactive white board. They are eager to participate knowingly that they may have the unreliable pen. But for those students who may be a little more shy in being in front of the class, there is a tablet that a student can use at their desks that also has the same functions as the pen. I found it fascinating that such things exist-it's like a giant mouse pad that controls the over-sized computer monitor at the front of the class---->I love it! As I learn more technol0gy that can be utilized in the classroom, I am excited to experiment with each to find a district with these kinds of resources to hire me! =)

Common Based Assessment

In order for the 7th grade to be assess on what they have learned since the start of the school year, an entire district gives a common based assessment where 1 standard is addressed in each problem. The logic is that teachers do not want to double ding students point-wise when addressing whether they have properly displayed a Washington state standard. I asked why not create a problem where multiple standards are assessed and it was made clear that teachers wanted to make sure that students are getting all their points assigned to them if they display a particular standard. If the standard that the school was assessing was whether or not students know how to solve a one-step equation, it would not be fair to ding a student for computational error, therefore a students is able to achieve full credit for a problem even if the answer was wrong, just as long as it was evident that a student was showing that they understood HOW to solve the problems. The common-based assessment is used to inform teachers and the district where the student's knowledge is currently at and at this point it is only used as informative testing but teachers have the option of using these results to structure the student's placement in classes.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Public Records

Public records are something that I've seen but I guess it's value in the classroom has never been properly explained to me. Public records are evidence of learning done in the class in regards to the material/ lessons given in class. A great benefit to public records is that they are up on the walls of the classroom where students can easily find them and refer back to them whenever they needed to. Not only will students have a reference within the classroom they can take ownership of some of the records (if they were created by they students). My only hesitation is that maybe students may rely on public records during tests, would that be appropriate? Will students be able to complete the material without the public records available? Are there definite strides in success made with public records?

Fact Triangles

One new method that was taught during my first couple of weeks in the alternative experience was something called fact triangles. These fact triangles can be sued to teach addition, subtraction, multiplication and division consisting of both positive and negative numbers. The transition made between the fact triangles and students being able to perform these mathematical operations without aids consists of students drawing on a number line and then writing a "rule(s)" that they believe works for each operation. I think that the way that each process was taught was fluid and most logically made sense as students worked out each they became familiar with the operations for positive and negative numbers. I think another benefit to using fact triangles is that they are versatile and it could be the one underlying method that all students can grow to be familiar with as they move on to other operations.


Can an aha moment be something I merely take note of? Because one thing that I have noticed in class was that the notion of the Washington State standards are always mentioned during class to the students. For example a statement like, "the state standards require that students be able to do____ fluently which means you guys should be able to do this math quickly and accurately..." would often be mentioned to students. By mentioning the requirements of state standards repeatedly, does this make a difference in how students may approach studying math? Could there be an age where this repetitive statement may be most effective in contributing to motivation?

Classroom Organization

Some of the greatest classroom management techniques I have found to be during my alternative experience. In the front of the classroom there are two trays where extra handouts are sorted according to grade level and beside those trays are charts on the wall that lists the daily assignments also for each grade level. If a handout was given on a particular day that a student was absent, that student can find all the assignments on this chart and handouts. This method helps assist students become responsible for their own work. I also like that if this management tool is implemented right at the beginning of the school year, students only need to be reminded to look at the assignment chart, thus eliminating the amount of the time it may have taken to look for the worksheets and the assignments given for the day.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

"AHA" Moment #1

Monday was the first day in the alternative level experience and I was placed in a middle school in the north end. I have never to been to this school and in fact it was the first time I have ever heard of the district however, right away I was taken aback by the technology that was used in the classroom! In the current classroom that I am in technology is used on a daily basis, the ActivBoard practically replaces the entire white board and the majority of instruction is planned on a flip chart. I always hear about how technology can be integrated into the classroom, but I couldn't look past the possibilities of merely the doc cam and the graphing calculator.

What this instructor does is have all her lessons prepared ahead of time and writes on her slides while in front of the class. But as she is up there it's like she has a magic wand and she can flip through pages, add shapes, write in different colors and highlight when necessary. Today I had the privilege of seeing the use of E-clickers (not sure if that is the correct terminology) but it was used today as a tool for formative assessment. Problems were given on the board and students has to submit their answers, A, B, or C using the E-clickers. By using these E-clickers, the teacher was able to get a better understanding of the level of understanding that students in each class has on the current lesson.

One word....marvelous!