This page is to update families each week. It will format from bottom to top with the most recent week on top. Please take time to visit if you are able.
October 4 – 8
This week we started our Algebra 1 curriculum. I think wrapping up review was a relief to many, including me. Sometimes review is the hardest part of the year! We’re working through polynomial vocabulary and operations with them. The kids and I are really enjoying the use of IXL and some other digital tools.
Math 8 students also started our curriculum this week. We kicked off with exponents and scientific notation. We worked in groups for the first time on an Exponent Rules slides deck. This was a big step up for us and a shift from the lecture/practice model we used for review. We played Tic-Tac-Toe with self-selected partners at the end of the week to review our rules.
We’re required to complete iReady lessons in class this year, but just because it is a requirement doesn’t mean we can’t have some fun with it. In 3 classes this week we had some time to start talking about motivation goals for iReady. Each person is motivated differently! At the core of this, students will be selecting from a set of chosen goals for their iReady progress.
Some of our ideas include;
- A friendly class to class competition.
- Clustering the work – doing more than required one week and nothing the next.
- A goal of passing two lessons per week.
- A big cookie, brownie or cupcake as a treat after a 5 lessons are complete ( and passed).
- A treat for scoring a 100 on 3 lessons in a row.
We will kick off our iReady lessons this week and have an opportunity to set our own goals from the list of goal choices for the first round of 5 weeks (weeks 6-10 of school).
We record class daily (unless we’re doing something that is not at all recordable – which will happen when we are doing station work and assessments). This is placed at the top of “The Important Thing” in that day’s material. Please have your child check Brightspace if they are absent AND feeling well enough to do the work.
Grades & Assignments
We are getting into the practice of checking our grade in Brightspace on the first day back each week. Students generally have demonstrated to me that they are able to find their grade and assignment feedback. If your child needs support, watch this short video.
The right amount of pressure
On Friday October 8th as one of my Algebra classes asked, “when is this due?” and “how do we submit?” about something we were working on in class my mind plunged into, “what exactly is the right amount of pressure to apply?” A year into mostly digital work, the kids have become adept at checking things off the list and getting things submitted. I’m working on creating that perfect balance between being too kind and too demanding while creating an environment where kids feel safe to make mistakes while learning.
This is a good time to share my philosophy about practice. I consider practice in math to be the same as for a sports team or a band or chorus. You put in the work to crush it in the game or in the concert. I need to discern just the right amount of pressure to put on students to create an environment in the sweet spot of effort and trust. I’m working this year to center on self-reflection, mastery of content and a comfort with making mistakes to grow. Just this week, a student said as he prepared to take a retest, “I need help with this. I didn’t understand this before and I’m only just getting comfortable enough to admit it.” My heart leaped.
This doesn’t mean that completing practice doesn’t count for anything. It helps us with our quiz and test results. It will get referenced and showcased in self-reflection and it will sometimes be added as a piece of the grade in an exit ticket. We all experience those times where we work really hard but still don’t quite get things. With practice counting in as a safety net every so often and always able to be referenced as part of self-reflection, I hope to encourage a habit of putting in the effort. I want the kids to learn that the results eventually come – it just may take longer than we like sometimes.