Sunday, March 31, 2013

What are your MUST READ Blogs?

Michael Fenton (@mjfenton) has a new blog out, Reason and Wonder. He posted last week looking for people's favorite blogs, looking for personal recommendations rather than culling through people's blog rolls. So, here is my post from the comments:
Blogs I MUST read when they come out with a new post -
Mathy McMatherson (yes, I know he’s already been mentioned several times, but he is a must read for me).
Kristen Fouss: She just resonates with me – she and I teach in the same state and sometimes we are just in the same place mentally.
Amy Gruen: I can always find good stuff from her, even though she hasn’t posted much as of late. Another I am in the same place mentally at times.
Amber Caldwell: She has some great stuff and has been doing more with Common Core.
Kim Hughey: Another one like Amy Gruen who has some really great stuff.
So, who's on your list of MUST READ blogs? Just curious...

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Tuesday, March 26, 2013

(Lack of) Practice and the SBG Blues

State tests were 2 weeks ago. Spring Break is approaching. It must be time for students to start to get lazy...

I gave my assessment today on graphing logarithmic functions and properties of logarithms. I gave 3 practice days in class - more than I had anticipated giving. We had an unexpected snow day on Friday, which is when I had originally planning on giving the assessment. As I was circulating around the classroom as students practiced on Wednesday and Thursday last week, it was obvious that students had not done a whole lot of practice. Two weeks ago was state test week so we were on a goofy schedule. I still taught. With the exception of the one practice set, I suspect that students didn't do a whole lot of practice. I know they did one since there was time in class for them to work on it.

My higher ability/motivated students did pretty well. They almost always do. They prepared for their assessment, albeit in some cases at the last minute. However, most students did not put in the practice time they should have prior to review time. To add to this, the end of the grading period is tomorrow. I had several students telling me today that they wanted to reassess on previous learning targets. They have known for a week that the deadline is tomorrow. I am not expecting many of those students to do well.

Why, oh why, do students put off preparations? Why do they choose not to practice (well, I somewhat know that answer - Sam eloquently blogged recently about it)? How do you differentiate in math class when part of the issue is that students don't know what they are doing because they don't practice? I know I have more questions but the bottom line is that right now I don't have any answers and this frustrates me.

What Emily blogged about as far as no longer doing homework intrigues me. Not sure if I'm ready to go there though. Part of my concern is making sure that students do get enough practice. How much is enough? 5 problems? 10 problems? 2 problems?

I just have so many questions and no answers. I think part of what has shook me about this assessment is that I felt I taught the material well and it is obvious that the students didn't learn it as well as I thought. Is the goofy week of state testing to blame? Did I not do as good of a job as I thought I did? Is it on me or my students? Is because Spring Break starts at the end of the day tomorrow?

I am sure there are some things I can do better. I am not doing formative assessment like I should. I need to incorporate it much better into my routine. I am confident that being an EnCoMPASS Fellow beginning this summer will help me to improve as a teacher, however, that doesn't help me at the moment. Let's just say that I definitely need Spring Break, even if it's only from Thursday through Monday. I need the time to regroup. Maybe I'll get some answers between now and the end of break. In the meantime, I'll continue to ponder.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

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Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Properties of Logarithms Question

In Algebra 2, we are working on logarithms right now. I am pretty much sticking with what I did last year - I was pleased with the results and the students have continued to respond well. Mathy McMatherson's post on sharing assessments caught my attention as I was catching up on GReader posts. Since I am getting ready to assess properties of logarithms, I thought I'd share a question I am considering.

As I was teaching today and we were discussing the change of base formula, I was thinking about how it tied in with the properties of logarithms we did the day before. Traditionally, some of the problems give the student the value of a logarithm they don't know (like log_2_3) and ask the student to approximate, say, log_2_12. So here's my thought:

Question Version 1
a) Write log_5_200 as a sum or difference of logarithms.
b) If you are given that log_5_8 = 1.2920, use the expression you wrote in part a to find the value of log_5_200.
c) Find the value of log_5_200 to the nearest ten-thousandth.

Question Version 2
Use the properties of logarithms and that log_5_8 = 1.2920 to find the value of log_5_200. Then use the change of base formula to find log_5_200.

I like the multiple representations idea here. I like the second version but I am afraid that there is not enough structure for my students to grasp what I am going for. The first version is very structured and gets at what I want them to demonstrate.

As I am preparing for review, I am also pondering how to review this with them. I can put the exact question on the review (changing numbers) but on the other hand, I can also give them problems of each type on the review and not give them the exact wording of this on their assessment. Usually I give them review sheets that have pretty much the exact type of problems on the assessment but the numbers are changed. I am nervous that if I don't give them the exact type of problem to practice that they won't do well with it and fuss if they don't get what to do. Still debating what I am going to do here, but I need to decide shortly since I begin review tomorrow.

Comments are certainly welcome. Thanks!

Sunday, March 17, 2013

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Sunday, March 10, 2013

My Weekly Diigo Links (weekly)

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Sunday, March 03, 2013

My Weekly Diigo Links (weekly)

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