Sunday, August 21, 2016

#MTBOSBlaugust Post #5: First Week Reflections

Weekly Bell Work Schedule
Which One Doesn't BelongVisual Patterns
WitzzleFind the Flub
Reflection and A Question

We only got to the first four this week; next week we will do a reflection piece. Last year we did Which One Doesn't Belong?, Witzzle, KenKen, and SC Ready Review. Students didn't like KENKEN as much as I had hoped. I will introduce it later as a choice when they have some free time. The big hit was Witzzle. They liked that one a lot!!

As for this year, the one that caused a lot of issues was Which One Doesn't Belong?. I had several students become very upset when I stated there was no unique answer. They said that there had to be a 'correct' answer because in math all problems had one answer that was the right one. They didn't like it when I informed them that a problem could have different solutions depending on how you looked at it. They then told me that I obviously wasn't a very good math teacher if I couldn't tell them what number didn't truly belong. Wow - like I haven't heard that line before from a 7th grader (though, usually never on the second day of the school year). I let it go and moved on. The majority of the students enjoyed the activity since they decide which number didn't belong based on their reasoning.

For Visual Patterns, I discovered a student in my 6th grade Honor class that I needed to look at his test scores. The student easily identified the pattern and calculated both responses, providing detailed explanations. I found the student was truly Gifted & Talented - his test scores were phenomenal. His most recent MAP score, he tested in the 97th percentile (high school level) - his scores before that were 99th percentiles. I recommended that he move to Pre-Algebra (7th grade). He will still be with his 6th grade peers for other classes. I asked him how he felt about being moved and he was ecstatic - he said he wanted a more challenging class but never thought it was possible. Getting back to the Visual Patterns, no other class could figure it out - without a few addition hints.

The Witzzle again was the big hit once we went over a few examples together. Most classes wanted to use the whole time to list their expressions. I go around the room one time and ask for an expression from each student (if they want), then open it up to any one who wants to share a few more. It's good practice for order of operations and mathematical properties. Find the Flub was also a hit. The one we used was centered around the definition of an integer, which we had discussed the day before. I'm glad for the #MTBOSBlaugust as well because I would never have discovered Math Mistakes or Visual Patterns.

I can't believe one week of school is already over. It was hectic with several days that had extended homeroom periods at the beginning and the end. I like my homeroom students but there was nothing for them to do - just sit and wait to be dismissed. I know they were giving teachers time to collect fees, assign lockers, and hand out packets to go home. However, the parent packets never were given to us to hand out so there was nothing to collect. Most students have a permanent schedule now so for the most part this upcoming week should have less chaos. All my classes are under 30 students; two classes have 27 students and the rest are between 11 to 15 students. Next week I will be trying out Google Classroom with my 6th grade Honor kids and using Nearpod app with the rest. Til next time!

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