This month was filled with new computer learning! As part of our every other month half day professional development time, Mr. Rocco and I were given the opportunity to attend computer based training in early December. We worked with all the other middle school math teachers with our BOCES technology director to learn some techniques to integrate tech into our math classrooms. I chose to select Math 8 to get started with this. I took our Algebra “wishlist” as the focus. Each grade level has created a skills list that they hope that their students will arrive with. Often these skills are from many years ago and the kids aren’t fluent with them. Any opportunity I can give the kids to practice them will help them with Algebra success in the future. So, we paired tech and skills review. Just like in hockey, where the focus goes away from the ice-skating and toward the game and the skating just naturally improves in our case the focus is on the new tech and the math just comes along for the ride and gets mastered while the tech gets discovered. After two days learning the platform and reviewing these skills we moved to grade level work to practice OUR math and work with the editor.
Our 8th graders will take their 2nd iReady test on January 7th and January 16th. They will need earbuds for this. Please remind your kids they should have earbuds for every day with them but especially on these two days. We don’t have enough head phones as a school for everyone during this testing. Students have all seen their September scores for iReady math (they are in their Google classroom if you would like to see them) and they have set growth goals for their January test.
Some students need a refresh of school supplies – pencils, cap erasers and a binder clean-up. Thank you for taking time over break to check in about supplies.
our month of assignment boards
These are in slideshow form and they aren’t in order but I did capture all our days! Math 8 used technology for 7 of our 13 days and Algebra used it for 7 of the 13 days.
new computer integration in math class
In my training I learned how to do a partial screen shot on the chrome book. It is a small thing, but it opens up a HUGE new world for me and for the students. Pair this with an equation editor – in our case we’re using the state test editor that the kids will use later in the year anyway – and we have the ability to do our math straight on our chrome books. For many of the kids this partial screen shot and saving to the clip board was a new skill to and a pretty fun one! We learned how to use this snazzy editor and yes it involved some wanting to pull our hair out, but it was also fun. Some students are taking to the concept like ducks to water and others are missing paper. All things in moderation though – we’ll ease into computers and things will remain a mix of paper and computer. Our very next unit (graphing linear equations) doesn’t lend itself to the new tech, so our new work will be pencil and paper. However, some of our practice will be on computer (with a full week to complete so students can use study hall and tutorial time).
Here are some examples of our student work.
A Bragging moment
Mr. Rocco and I both teach the period 7 class and on Thursday Mr. Rocco was out. His substitute hadn’t seen this tech yet, so I shared what we were doing with him as I introduced him to the students. We all worked really hard during the period to complete the grade level work in anticipation of sharing our work with the class. This is one thing our technology director from BOCES pointed out as a huge benefit of computer based instruction – we can share our work and get ideas from others. As I cycled through student work on the SmartBoard we noticed different things. Some students chose to use the typing features, some used the draw tools and others used a mix of the two with screen shots from both. Some students were able to manipulate things to be smaller once they pulled them into their document etc. But the proud moment was when Mr. Rocco’s sub announced “this is SO cool” and went on to share about how impressed he was with the students for their efforts. Here we are in our LAST day of 2019 math class for afternoon classes because we have a special afternoon planned for the school on the day before break and almost 100% of the students were focused on their MATH until the end of the period. I think it is great that he noticed this and took the time to celebrate it with us. I’m very proud of their efforts and willingness to work hard.
We’ve finished our study of statistics and will begin sequences and functions after the break. This unit will take us through the end of January. The kids are getting pretty confident with their calculators and will continue to work with them significantly through the end of the year. In order for our class to function efficiently we’re using youtube videos to learn the calculator skills and students have been taking their assigned calculator home most nights. All the videos we’re using are posted in our Google classroom so students can watch them to refresh a skill as needed. (I am in lock step with them in the learning of this new calculator and I need to watch them multiple times to refresh!)
We’re starting to graph linear equations after the break. This unit will be pencil and paper based and will take us through the month of January. I think the kids will enjoy the opportunity to graph lines and to solve systems of equations.
Have a great break and a Happy New Year!!