It's English MCAS day. The sophomores have to take a 3 hour state test this morning. With nearly 30% of our students on an IEP or a 504 we have a lot of special testing accommodations so we hold school on a three hour delay to free up all the staff. In the past the ninth, eleventh and twelfth graders got a day to sleep in, but this year we did something different for ninth graders. They came in to school at the regular time and the ninth grade teachers all taught a mini math lesson. And not just the math teachers! The English and Biology teachers reviewed linear equations. The History and Health teachers reviewed functions. The Algebra teachers reviewed inequalities. After rotating through all three stations students took their Algebra benchmark test.
It's Math MCAS day. The sophomores have to take a 3 hour state test this morning. The ninth graders again came in to school at the regular time and the ninth grade teachers all taught a mini biology lesson. And not just the science teachers! The English teachers reviewed open response questions. The Algebra teachers reviewed reading graphs and tables. The History and Health teachers reviewed cell transport. Biology teachers reviewed ecology. After rotating through all the stations students took their Biology benchmark test.
Here are all the cool things about this model:
- I didn't have to spend a block giving the benchmark test!!
- I got to meet students I don't have in class.
- We got to talk to all the teachers about what we're studying in math class.
- I found out what kinds of things are in the biology standards.
- Our students saw that teachers know other subjects.
I love science, so it was great for me to be able to share my enthusiasm for another topic during the Bio Blitz. In class a few days after the Algebra Blitz one of my students connected a problem she was solving with one from the review lesson saying, "Oh yeah! Ms. [health teacher] taught me that!"
In order to make this work we had to use some of our team time. The ninth grade team meets regularly; instead of having hall duty we have team duty. We meet as a whole team once a week and we meet in content groups once or twice a week (depending how the alternating day schedule works out). So we spent some content group time developing the materials and then one whole team meeting prepping the other teachers for their lesson. I think this was one of my favorite uses of our common planning time this year.