July 7, 2012

PCMI: Week 1

Apologies in advance for the mind dump.  This is a conglomeration of notes I highlighted (love that aspect of Notebook) and ideas bouncing around my brain.

Teachers need to assert themselves as professionals: we need to demand respect, have a stronger voice (any voice in some cases) in legislation, defend ourselves to the average citizen and remind ourselves that we are the experts.

Implementation is everything.  In the TIMSS video study they discovered that while US teachers use problems that lend themselves to investigation, use of the practice standards and making connections, the problems in the study were *all* implemented as procedural tasks.  I know that every teacher in the US doesn't fit this mold, but enough do that we need to think about doing more than just getting great texts/problems out to people, but also to have PD and teacher prep programs that very explicitly address this issue.  How do we break down making connections problems to make them accessible without losing the richness?  Making connections problems are supposed to be ones that students don't know how to solve immediately.

I rarely assign projects to be done in groups since that frequently ends up with an imbalance of effort among students.  We did the broken square activity (I've used it before and don't know where it originated, but this link seems as good as any other) which got us to wondering "How do you design tasks that need to be done in a group and couldn't be effective if completed individually?"

At my training in Carnegie Learning several years ago the instructor told us to ask students "What questions do you have?" rather than "Anyone have any questions?"  Students respond to those two prompts in dramatically different ways (to the extent it surprises me every time I remember to ask the first way).  Next year I want to really focus on having students ask questions, and to extend the type of questions I get beyond clarifications to ideas they are wondering about.  The #rethinkgeo crew has been  contemplating ways to keep a running list of open questions that we may eventually be able to answer.

Good teachers don't ask "What am I doing tomorrow?" but "What are the students doing tomorrow?"

The National PTA has guides to the Common Core.  The CCSS aren't meant to be a list of separate topics, they are chunked for a reason.  When I make my SBG standards list I should retain some of the organization.

Instead of homework being practice every night, have different types and label them!  Explain, explore, practice, read, study...

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