Friday, June 17, 2016

Reflecting on My Year - Keep, Change, Continue and Stop

Wow. This year went by fast... I had aspirations of blogging regularly about my school year, but I simply just could not find the time. Between all of the time I spent creating lessons and all of my adjunct duties, I could not make it to my blog....  Luckily I was able to at least journal my year through pictures on Instagram and Twitter... :o)

This year started out rough.... Our class sizes went up, we changed to a blocked math schedule, and from the results of last year's CAASPP Summative Assessment my students were coming in with only 6% of my students meeting the standards.  I have to admit it was daunting at the beginning of the school year thinking if I was going to be able to teach the complex standards that my students needed to learn in 8th Grade Math when they came in without any Math foundation at all... :o(
This reflection from a student pretty much sums this up.... 
Year Four of Common Core
This was my 4th year of teaching 8th Grade Common Core Math and last summer I reflected on the success of my year in 8th Grade Math in the (2014 - 2015 School Year).  That was the first year that my students had taken the CAASPP Summative Test.  I was super excited that in the first year of implementing the CAASPP Summative Test that 39% of my students had met or exceeded the standards...    

Even though I was super excited with the success of my students, I still had a lot of tweaks to make to my curriculum.  I wanted to take my students' learning this year even farther....  This year I implemented a lot of those changes over the course of the year....  

So now I have officially completed my 4th year of teaching Common Core 8th Grade Math and am elated with the success of my students this year in 8th Grade Math.  I am proud of how far they have grown mathematically and I feel that more importantly I have given them a foundation and have prepared them for high school.  This year, (the second year of implementing the CAASPP Summative Test) 52% of my students met or exceeded the standards.... And 21% of my students nearly met the standards... :o) This is amazing considering that these are the students coming in at 6%... :o)

It's been an exhausting year, but I am excited that all of my hard work has paid off...  This summer I am reflecting on what worked in my classroom and what to Keep, Change, Continue and Stop....  

Successful Pacing and Big Ideas
The success of my students is mainly attributed to the pacing of the 8th grade Math Curriculum.  :o) I have blogged before in detail about the evolution of my Math 8 Curriculum and Pacing in The Pacing Puzzle and Reflecting on My Journey

I think after this year I have finally nailed it.  I had made some changes to the pacing for last year and they really paid off.  The year before I spent  a few weeks on exponents and scientific notation and didn't have time to teach transformations,  So for last year I decided to teach transformations and shorten the time spent on exponents and scientific notation. That was a really good decision.

I have finally finished the alignment of this years pacing fitting in the units for the days we are in school.  Here is what the 2016 - 2017 8th Grade Math Pacing Calendar looks like.  :o)

Successful Blocked Math Periods
I put a lot of thought into the best way to implement successful blocked math periods.  I knew that I wanted to keep the success of my collaborative teams, writing and reasoning in math, and to continue to use my access to 1:1 iPads effectively.  It was important to me to use technology in my classroom to enhance the students' learning and for technology not to be the focus.  

My plan for my blocked math periods was to merge the success of my Math 8 class structure and Math Support class structure from the year before.  So this year in my blocked math periods the first part of the block was (Math 8) with direct instruction and a focus on collaborative teams and the second part of the block was (iMath) with iPads and a focus on independent practice.

What to Keep, Change, Start and Stop -

My "Collaborative Team" Structures
I have blogged before about my "Collaborative Teams" and I absolutely love how effective they are and how much they help enhance the learning of my students. So I am definitely keeping my "Collaborative Team" structures.   This is explains the structure of my "Collaborative Teams".

My "Word of the Day" Academic Vocabulary Book
I blogged about this idea last summer as an idea to help the students understand what "academic vocabulary" words they should be using in their discussions and writing.  

Transforming the graphic organizers into a book was a really good idea.  The students would reference the book through out the year and it added a nice opening structure the the daily routine of class.  

How this works: The students come into class and look at the opening slide up on the board.  The slide tells the students which "Team Member" is the "Resource Monitor".  The "Resource Monitor" gets the materials needed for their team.  

When the students get their folder, they write the word of the day, the definition and draw an example of the word.  They are usually done before the bell rings for class to start. :o)

Something I would like to add to this idea next year is activities that will help the students utilize this vocabulary book in different ways  :o)

My "Solve It, PROVE It" Collaborative Team Warm-ups
I have blogged about the Evolution of My "Solve It, PROVE It" Collaborative Warm-ups previously. I think that last year was the most successful year with my Collaborative Warm-ups. Having the students collaboratively prove their justification really helped solidify their understanding of the concepts they were proving. This is definitely a keeper... :o)

How this Works:  The Teams are given the problem on the board.

The Team discusses the problem and tells their Recorder/Reporter what to write and walks the Recorder/Reporter through solving the problem.  The Team then discusses a written justification and the Recorder/Reporter writes the Team's written response as the Team negotiates what the Recorder/Reporter should write.

As you can see the students are not afraid to write in math class... :o)  #happyteacher

I added something new to this year's structure.  In the past, the Recorder/Reporter read their teams written response from their seat.  This year I added a microphone and the Recorder/Reporter had to "Stand and Deliver" their team's written response.  

My Guided Notes and Student Interactive Math Notebooks
I have blogged about my Interactive Math Notebooks many times. I feel that the students' IMN are one of the keys to my students' success.  My students learn to reference their notebooks and consider them a valuable resource.  I am definitely keeping this structure... :o)

My Digital Collaborative "Team Tasks"
I love doing "Team Tasks" and I have created a lot of "Team Tasks" designed to elicit academic discourse.  I have blogged about my "Team Tasks" a few times.  I tried something new this year and started implementing Digital "Team Tasks".  

The most successful idea is my Socrative "Team Tasks".  When we used Socrative for "Team Tasks", we did it Space Race style. Students loved this competition. My Socrative "Team Tasks" definitely elicited a lot of academic discussion. I was a great way for me to check for understanding.... I will definitely keep my Socrative "Team Tasks".

Something I would like to add is other platforms for Digital "Team Tasks".  I am interested in exploring Formative this summer and possibly utilizing it next year.

My Google Forms Concept Quiz Reflections
I love using Google Forms as a way for the students to reflect after taking an assessment.  Reading their reflections really helped me to see what they were thinking after they took an assessment.  I am definitely using this again next year.

Last summer I had a great idea for using Google Forms for checking for understanding with concept assessments.  I never had time to create and implement those last year, so this year my goal is to add more of the standards check quizzes using Google Forms.  :o)

My iMath "Paperless" Assignments
If you follow my blog, you know that I love, love, love Showbie... :o) And I have blogged about My Love For Showbie many times.... This year in iMath, I continued creating and using Digital "Paperless" Assignments in Showbie.  I love this because I can easily check students work and give feedback. 

What I love about Showbie is that not only can students annotate and solve in the document in Showbie, but they can also leave a written justification.  This helps me to check for understanding and clear up misconceptions.... :o)

I am definitely keeping Showbie as the foundation of my iMath section.  Something I would like to start is Showbie's new feature of Group Discussions.  I will explore that more over the summer and determine the best way to implement this feature next year...

My Socrative (self-paced) "Digital Task Cards"
I have been using Socrative for (self-paced) lessons for a few years. My (self-paced) lessons have evolved into "Digital Task Cards".  The students love these lessons and I have even created some for homework assignments too.  

When I do the Socrative Assignments in iMath, I do the Assignments as student paced and not as Space Race.  I either have the students do the questions on lined paper or on my specialized "Dry Erase" mats.... After the students finish the Assignments they get their score from me.  I will definitely keep this structure because it is one of my favorites.... And I look forward to creating more assignments.... :o)

My iMath "Sticky Note" Poster Assignments
My students showed so much love for my iMath Poster Assignments that I created a poster activity for every unit. I will continue this next year and hope to think of more ideas.  My poster assignments were done through Showbie and Socrative as "Self-paced" tasks... :o)

My "Math Rockstar" Competition
My students love my "Math Rockstar" Competition.  There is no prize for this competition. They simply love the competition part it.  Go figure... Students doing Math as a competition.... #happyteacher  

This is growth of my "Math Rockstar" Competition wall from the beginning of the year to the last day of school.

My "Ticket Out the Door" Reflections in Showbie
Another reason I love Showbie is their comment feature. I assign the students a "Ticket Out the Door" Daily Reflection.  On Friday the students do a Weekly Reflection.

This has been very helpful for me and for the students.  I will definitely keep doing this structure next year, because I love Showbie.... :o)

Thanks for stopping by and checking out my blog.... Follow me this summer as I blog about my new ideas for next year.... :o)

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