July 14, 2012

PCMI: Week 2

Another mind dump after another busy week!

"It was not enough to teach better mathematics, I also had to teach mathematics better." -Steven Reinhart in Never Say Anything a Kid Can Say

No grades on papers! This came from articles, other teacher's experiences and my own experience.  The most convincing arguments came from @Mythagon - she shared that she puts comments on papers and grades in the gradebook (including the online one that students can access) and when students ask what grade they got she has them look over their work and figure it out.  It's not about hiding the grade from students, but about directing their focus to the comments and finding their errors.  It also hugely changed the conversations students have after she passes back papers.  I start out every year with great intentions on this front and waver as the year goes on.  Maybe this year I'll be consistent!

If you're implementing the Common Core (as most every state is) then it would be a great idea to check out c-TaP and see if you can get a "tool-kit" (facilitator) to come to your district.  They've been working really hard over the past couple weeks to put together some awesome PD that has the goal of establishing teachers as professionals.  Their work started before PCMI and will certainly continue afterwards, but it's been great hearing about the plans they have and they've been working harder than all of the other groups, hands down.  For more info, I refer you to @Mythagon.

There was an excellent presentation on Google Docs.  I'm excited for all the options of ways to use forms, docs and presentations with my students.  I hope we've reached the point where it's reasonable to ask everyone to do out of class assignments that require the internet, I'll find out after my beginning of the year questionnaire.  This teacher had her students journal in a google doc, which would be an awesome way for me to comment back, but I don't see how it's feasible for my exit ticket style journaling to happen online.  Someday everyone will come to school with a device, but that's certainly not next year.

CME Project books are awesome.  I found out you can order chapters separately, so now I'm wondering if I can convince my school to buy a chapter a year if we don't have money for new books.  Smaller books sound better to me anyway!  There's also a large online resource at cmeproject.edc.org, if you ask for a login there are implementation videos, tons of teacher created worksheets and more.  Just use the "contact us" link in the top right of the page.  

I'm planning to implement Standards Based Grading next year as well as transitioning into the Common Core Standards.  Yesterday a group of us got together to discuss that process, but I discovered that it's all very individualized and I'll need to sit down to make my standards lists and hash out the details myself.  In the meantime I'm asking for personal successes and failures from anyone using SBG.  If you have a favorite blog post or resource on SBG I'd love to see it, and to be less selfish I'll put it on the #matheme page as well.  Comment here or tweet with #matheme and I'll be sure to update the page.

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