Resolving Dissonance

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Online Math Centers

Sunday FundayThank you Julie
for Sunday Funday ūüôā ¬†Helps keep me blogging when someone else comes up with the ideas for what to write about! ¬†This week’s topic: Math Centers!

I use standards based grading for my 9th grade class and every once in a while it seems like they all just need a day to catch up on something – but it’s a different something for each of them.

Twelve different math centers wouldn’t work so well with¬†traditional¬†centers ūüôā So I set up links on the class blog and reserve the mobile lab for the day. ¬†They look up any goals they are missing or have a low score on, then go to the links on the class blog for that particular goal.

The links include tutorials, practice problems, videos, games. ¬†Whatever I can find online that might help them with that goal if they didn’t already “get it” when we worked on it in class. ¬†(or, more likely, if they weren’t here that day or chose not to participate that day.) ¬†Sometimes I will also scan in relevant homework with worked out solutions and notes from in class.

It’s a good way to give everyone time to work on whatever it is that they need to do. ¬†Some students don’t need a catch up day, but almost all of them will have one thing they could work on. ¬†Even students who have perfect scores on all the assessments can still use the game links, Or can help other students.

I want to do something similar to this for my math lab class… but haven’t had time to organize it yet. ¬†This could also be done without computers by having activities/notes/practice in hanging folders. ¬†I also want to get a stock pile of games made for my math lab class. Things like scrabble with math, tarsia sets, math dominoes, math go fish or memory, card matches, etc. ¬†That might happen over spring break ūüôā


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Exponential Equation Matching

One of my goals for my 9th graders is that when I give them an equation, a context (story), a table, or a graph for an exponential equation, they can create the other three things I didn’t give them.

They could do the equation, table, and graph parts pretty well, but struggled with coming up with a context to match it.

We kept doing examples in class, but they just weren’t getting it yet.  When we did examples I had them come up with a context then check to see if it matched the table when they plugged in the x values.

A few of them told me they wanted to just see a whole bunch of examples to compare.  So my solution was a matching game with 4 parts to match up.  I forgot to take a picture of the cards!  Maybe I’ll remember to add those later…

Here are the links to the cards:

Context (Stories)

I have several sets of cards printed on different colored cardstock and had the students work in groups of 2-3 to match the sets.  It helped things start to make more sense and most of them can create a context now


Gradebook: List by Standards?

As I started looking for ideas regarding not grading homework I found the idea of standards based grading, or SBG.  I read a lot about it and really liked it for one main reason:  It focuses on what the students need to learn.

Right now a student will come in to retake “test 10” but they don’t really know what was on the test.¬† Their focus is fix the test score, not fix the concept I don’t get. ¬†Most of my classes use a Saxon¬†text book, so we test every 5 lessons, and they are all cumulative.¬† I also know what concept each test question covers.¬† It would make listing grades by standards pretty easy!¬† If I would have had time to do all that during the break…¬† so that’s in the plan for summer.

I am already tracking concepts in a different way¬†though.¬† Before I ever read anything about SBG.¬† I made a chart where each student can see what lesson each question on a test comes from.¬† Looking at the grid we can track their progress over time.¬† We can look to see if they are missing the same types of questions.¬† We can look to see if it’s normal for them to miss a type of question a time or two before catching on.

I have once class however that is NOT using Saxon.  We are using this:  The first semester we got through most of the first 4 modules.  Wrapping up the 4th now.  Then 4 more for the rest of the year.  Last semester I gave a test at the end of each module.  All cumulative, but mostly focusing on newer learning.

Changes for this semester:  I went through our state standards (Common Core) and the list for what 9th graders are expected to learn.  Utah is keeping the secondary math integrated, which I love.  No separate Geometry, Algebra, pre-Calc, etc.

I mapped out what¬†which of the state standards we’ve¬†already learned and what we still have to learn –¬†then summarized it into about 30 learning goals for each of the next two terms.

They aren’t turning homework in, just like my other classes aren’t.¬† Grade is based on assessments, which will be more frequent (once to twice per week) and smaller,¬† 1-5 learning goals on each one instead of an entire unit.

The gradebook will report their progress on each learning goal.

The students are a little confused still.¬† I think it will make more sense when they see what it looks like in the grade book. I’m going over it all again on Friday.¬† I also have a chart for them to keep track of their own learning.¬† I think I’m going to have a folder for them to keep in class for the chart… the group of kids I have this year looses things easily.¬† They are hard to motivate, easily distracted, and unorganized.¬† Not all of them, just about half the class, enough to create chaos sometimes ūüôā¬† Love them all, but they are¬†the hardest class I’ve ever had.