Monthly Archives: August 2014

First Week of School

This past week was our first week of school with kiddos and it was the best first week yet.  I’m only in the classroom for 1 of our 8 periods – the other 7 I coach the other math teachers.  Its a huge change but its exciting 😀

Day 1: Talking ’bout Math

We began with this problem about counterfeit money first thing as students walked in.  Then chatted about their answers using @pispeak’s “Basics of Math Debating” as a basis for our discussions.  I pushed every group to give a reason for their response. Our final answer was that the shop owner lost $40 and even though it might be “wrong” students explained it and I was satisfied with that for day 1.  I then did a version of @jdmahlstedt’s now famous “# things about me” with “8 things about me, Mr. Winfield”.  Why 8?  I honestly couldn’t think of more the day before school started…….maybe I’m not as cool as everybody else. After a student survey we wrapped up the day.

Victory of Day (and Week 1): I heard students discussing & DEBATING math without much guidance from me.  I COULDN’T STOP SMILING.  Definitely loved this first day of school.

Day 2: You shouldn’t sit on desks

We began with another argument from @pispeak Agree or Disagree: math is the most important subject for a future career.  AND GUESS WHAT?  ALMOST EVERYONE AGREED.  The one man that didn’t was just hung up on “most” and still saw the value in it.  ONCE AGAIN, BEST CLASS EVER.  Rest of the day: Interactive notebook set up & classroom rules.  Favorite activity was with rule 4: Keep only materials needed for class on your desk.   Students had 37 seconds to put anything that would break this rule on their table.  Highlights included: Shoes, dollar bills, chips and a STUDENT.  And as a sign of how much I’ve grown: I called time and EVERYONE was seated silently.  Another sign to a great year ahead.

Day 3: Test day :/

Diagnostic….we’ll be tracking our growth for our IMO with performance tasks and need a baseline.  The Science coach and I collaborated on a rubric for grades 7 – 12 that works for any task.  Our goal is to measure the skills we can teach to make successful mathematicians and not focus just on right and wrong.  I’ll share this rubric soon with more love than 2 sentences at bed time. We wrapped up the day with more INB set up.  Yay?

Day 4: Marshmallow Challenge

The winning group of the Marshmallow Challenge.

Inspired by this post and this website we completed the marshmallow challenge and these young lads were the winners at a tower of 23.5 inches.  They were able to adapt their design as it went along and worked together best.  I liked this activity because it gave me a sense of how groups would function and who is able to adapt their thinking.  Weirdly, I’ve never thought of stabbing the marshmallow with all the spaghetti but 2 groups did that and made a War of the World’s inspired structure.

I had some technical difficulties with the sound for the related TED talk (see the second site above).  That’s what I get for having an office in another building and only being in the room one period a day.  Now, I know for the future.

Day 5: And so we test again

Thursday night at home I went to create my lesson plans and thought “Uh Jake…you have no idea what your kids know or remember. You don’t know where to start.” Friday turned into a diagnostic day. I’m glad I did so this next week can be appropriate.  After that we finished INB set up (yay numbering pages!) and then played two rounds of “Race to 20” that I discovered from Jo Boaler’s “What’s math got to do with it?” in Appendix A.  I’m currently defeated by only one student at CHS and am undefeated  (2-0) this year.

Day 6: Weekend – What’s that?

I facilitated PD for our Math department because 4 of the 7 teachers are new to our school.  I’ll get around to thinking that through soon, but planning 6 hours of PD to facilitate solo ain’t easy.  Tomorrow I’ll read their feedback and hopefully teachers think it went as well as I think it did 🙂