Getting Around

Saturday, June 18, 2016

One Investigation Complete

I finished working all the problems and ACE questions for the first investigation in Accentuate the Negative in CMP3.


I complete understand why I need to work all the problems. I agree with that. But holy cow. I also need to download all the pages so that my students without internet access at home can still do the practice. I see my summer rapidly dwindling to days of downloading.

I have also been doing a lot of quick note-taking in Google Keep. I can't say it's my favorite note-taking tool (Evernote and OneNote are better), but I can't beat the quickness of it. Since there are no notebooks there's little organizing to do other than tagging. Let's hope I don't make it overwhelming for myself later. I have Evernote notebooks that are crazy full that I never look at.

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Digital Notebooks for CMP3

CMP3 suggests that students keep a notebook. I think this is a great idea, and I use notebooks in science, but I have a few of problems with notebooks in math. They are:

  1. We do homework in math, so students need access to their notebooks in order to do homework
  2. If I let students take their notebooks home, many of the notebooks won't ever return
  3. We do our homework digitally on iPads, so using a paper notebook seems more work for me
On the other hand, I have a few issues with digital notebooks:
  1. Students learn better with paper and pencil
  2. Organizing without being able to flip pages is a pain
  3. How on earth would you grade that? We use Notability for our notebooks, so it's not something they can share with me
At the CMP3 training the instructor suggested having students work on large pieces of paper or big whiteboards. At the end of the lesson, students would write on a piece of notebook paper what they felt was the best method for them of solving the day's problem was and that became their notes for the day. She had them take that home and do the homework on the back. Then, once checked, the notes/homework paper went in the binder notebooks. She graded on whether everything was there and complete in addition to checking homework in every day.

Right now I'm thinking I will have students recopy into their digital notebook so that they have the information for homework. I would mostly be grading their notebooks on how much they did during class based on what they wrote in their notebooks. They could use the notebooks at the document camera during the summary part of the lesson to show work rather than poster paper, which I can't afford anyway.

I have no idea if this will work or if it's too cumbersome. Students sometimes kept a notebook in class in the past, but everyday I'd find notes on the floor because someone took them on paper (I required note-taking) and then left them because they didn't care.

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Connected Math


Our school has recently adopted Connected Mathematics Project 3 (CMP3 from now on) for our new curriculum. I'm going to be spending a ton of time with it this summer, so it seems like a good time to start blogging again.

We had a too-quick training. It clocked in at 5 hours, but the instructor said most schools get 3 hours. What? Other teachers I've known who've taught CMP got as much as a week of training. Much of it was spent on the online tools rather than the process of teaching a lesson. There was so much to learn but very little time.

For those who don't know, CMP3 is taught through inquiry. So, you learn why you need the math tool before you abstract the formal math. I really like that part of it. What I don't like is that somehow we have to make it work in very short periods, some as short as 41 minutes. I piloted a couple of units this spring, and I'm finding that you really need to work out all the problems yourself in advance so you can see where it's all going. Unlike a traditional curriculum, you can't just show up one day and teach whatever the next thing is in the book. Without knowing the story arc, it becomes very muddled very quickly.

I have also just found out that I'm teaching science again after a year off. Science is a ton of work, but I'm teaching with an excellent colleague. We have new standards this year, but my excellent colleague found a document that says we actually have some time before we have to implement the new standards, so I'll be able to hit the ground running in the fall with stuff I already know. Our science department will do its own curriculum adoption this coming academic year, so it's nice not to have to change anything without the new curriculum.