Monday, February 15, 2016

Pear Deck - Attempt #1

I'm in the process of writing my first lesson that I plan to use Pear Deck (Geometry, section 7.2 - introduction to similar figures).  As I'm planning, Andrew Stadel's blog pops up with this overview.  This whole Twitter / blogging / MTBoS universe is pretty amazing.

Since I'm an infant yet at using Pear Deck, I'm curious to hear more about its versatility and specific ways others are using it.  I hope to report back tomorrow with how things went.

Saturday, February 6, 2016

Teach My Lesson - MTBos Week 4

The fourth and final week of the #MTBoS Blogging Initiative is here.  I am sitting at the South Dakota Council of Teachers of Mathematics conference, wrapping up my thoughts from the event.  My co-teacher Jarrod and I presented at two sessions yesterday.  The second was titled "Why You Need to Bring Desmos Into Your Classroom."  We found that there are a number of teachers who do not yet know about the Desmos Teacher site and the activities that can be found there.

Which leads me my version of "Teach My Lesson."  

If you're new to Desmos, do the following... go to  Enter code "5xy6".  Complete the activity.  This lesson actually follows a different lesson that I do that introduces students to transformations of functions.  (For that activity, enter code "xsnx".)

If you're already a user, here are the links that you can use to customize these two activities.

Transformation of Functions

Standard Form of Quadratic Functions

Desmos has so much potential for exploring mathematics, especially ones algebraic in nature.  I have found that students gain a lot of ownership of the math involved in these activities.  It's important to have students reflect and summarize their discoveries as part of these lessons.

If you happen to use either of these, I'd love to hear feedback.  Best of luck!

Better Questions

I know, I know.  Week 3 of the 2016 Blogging Initiative has long come and gone.  It's nearly the end of week 4!  I apologize for the tardiness.

I love the topic of "Better Questions" not only because the types of questions you ask can really dictate the type of classroom and style of teaching you have, but also because I need to continue to grow in the area of questioning.  Blogging about questioning will help me re-focus on the types of questions I'm asking my students.

This past fall, I presented a training module to HS / MS math teachers that focused on Effective Questioning.  The module brings to light the four levels of questions defined in NCTM's Principles to Actions (2014).

Question Type
Gathering Information
Students recall facts, definitions, or procedures.
Probing Thinking
Students explain, elaborate, or clarify their thinking, including articulating the steps in solution methods or the completion of a task.
Making the Mathematics Visible
Students discuss mathematical structures and make connections among mathematical ideas and relationships.
Encouraging reflection and justification
Students reveal deeper understanding of their reasoning and actions, including making an argument for the validity of their work.

I've set the goal of asking more level 3 and 4 in my classroom, including on assessments.  These types of questions are sometimes tricky to create and grade.  Here is an example of a question that I asked my algebra 2 students.

I consider this a level 3 question due to asking students to make connections between the factors, solutions, and zeros on the graph.

Some example of student work:

Student 1: Excellent.

Student 2: This student did not understand the connection between the zeros of the graph and solutions of the equation.