Early in the school year, maybe around October, 2014, I attended a district Common Core training for my Discovering Geometry textbook/course. We talked about formative assessment strategies ( from Embedded Formative Assessment by Dylan Wiliams), a blog by a teacher in the bay area (cheesemonkeysf.blogspot.com), cool technology like Socrative and Kahoot.it, among other topics that motivated us to try new instructional practices in order to reach and inspire our students. Our new math curriculum motto is that math teaching and learning should be meaningful, measurable and motivating. This inspired me to be creative and try new ideas each week with my classes.
I adapted an activity I found on the cheesemonkeysf blog (by the way, visit her blog at cheesemonkeysf.blogspot.com--she's an excellent teacher with amazing ideas and other blog links). She coined the activity "speed dating," and it emphasizes a type of formative assessment strategy in which teachers allow students to engage in peer-peer learning, while holding them all accountable for their learning. Seeing how effective the activity went, hearing students tell me how much it helped, and analyzing improvements in test scores made me a believer in these new activities. I've since adapted activities like carousel, lightning-round response boards, horse races, gallery walks, kahoot.it blitz, and the newest challenge, "pink points," which I use as an whole-class incentive for critical thinking. I've posted some activity samples below and to the right.
Lately I've been reading more education-based books like Embedded Formative Assessment, Mindset, The Global Achievement Gap, And What Do YOU Mean by Learning?, Situated Learning, Show Your Work, A New Culture of Learning, The 20Time Project, Catching up or Leading the Way, Why School?, and the short pamphlet, The Ethics of Excellence. Most of these books were suggested or required by our classes, but they're easy/quick reads and very interesting! I've shared passages from The 20Time Project and Mindset with my students, and a few students have borrowed and read The Ethics of Excellence. It's fun getting perspectives from students from different ability levels and backgrounds, and they almost always have varying opinions. Some love technology-based inquiry; others like the old stand-and-deliver approach and traditional group work. Regardless, we all have to adapt to new ideas and find what works best.
Today, with only two weeks left in our school year, I can reflect back and analyze the "20-20 retrospect" of the year and see what worked and didn't work very well. I can also say that starting this master's program has helped inspire me with new ventures I'll be engaged with this summer. I look forward to networking with everyone and growing my mindset.
Below are some samples of "speed dating" and gallery walks with a few groups of students in my Functions, Stats & Trigonometry class, as well as my Accelerated Intermediate Algebra and Accelerated Geometry classes.
One day, during the last 10 minutes of my sophomore AVID elective class, I had a group of students demonstrate speed dating (again, all students have a signed photo/video release form on file). I apologize for my raw footage and fast talking, but I didn't want them to have to stay past the bell. I hope this helps understand what the students in the other sample video clips are doing.
Here is a candid video clip from my Functions, Stats & Trig (FST) elective class (all juniors and seniors who are at different proficiency levels). This was a review of the most-missed questions from the recent unit exam. In the video, students had just finished solving a problem during a 2-3 minute period (from the partner across from them), and are now discussing the problems together. Again, sorry about my poor filming skills!
Here is a video clip of my Intermediate Algebra students doing a speed dating activity.
Here are some sample speed dating problems for Geometry (this template has volume inquiry problems).
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Here is my attempt at setting up a gallery walk activity, where students were paired up and assigned problems to work out (either most-missed problems from a test or from a review) using a response board before writing their work onto the transparency. Once the pairs rotated, they could change the work or leave it, or simply add to what was done by the previous group. I took pictures and posted them immediately after so students could discuss them as a class and complete an analysis. Seemed to work out well!