Friday, October 20, 2017

Conditional Statement Story - Post Observation Reflection

Ever read the story, "If You Give a Mouse A Cookie" by Laura Numeroff?  I had not until I married an elementary school teacher, and read the book she had in her classroom.  Several years ago after reading the book I had an idea that was going to allow me to use the story for my students as well.  What could a Geometry Teacher do with a children's book you may ask?  Well it's simple, the entire book is written as conditional statements, if p then q.  In my second unit in the school year,  Reasoning and Proofs, we delve into the mechanics of writing conditional statements, their converses, inverses, even contrapositives, and using the symbols to write these statements.  The statements are used throughout my course to write and prove postulates, properties, theorems and corollaries.  Students immerse themselves in the logic of the statements and decide whether or not there is a truth value to a given statement.

6th Period Starting the Project
When I originally designed my project I had students write their own book and draw illustrations in it.  But now as I am becoming more tech savvy and more digitally in-tuned with my students needs. I figured why not adapt the use of computers to make a PowerPoint of the book?  The end goal is to make Google Slides the tool we use. But until students can log-in to a true Google Account and collaborate with students on the use of Google Apps, I am stuck with what little true collaboration my students and I have now.   Students are going to have to write their own Conditional Statement Story Project, much like "If You Give a Mouse a Cookie."  The requirements are that the story has 10 conditional statements, 4 original statements, 2 converses, 2 inverses and 2 contrapositives that flow together much like the story I read to them Tuesday.   Students will then work in pairs to write their story and illustrate it with pictures from the web.  I have a Google Slide set up to show them the proper uses of a Google Image Search to utilize photos for their presentation that have permission to reuse and distribute the image.  I added this component of Digital Citizenship to promote the Creative Commons that many other students already know about.  

Since students could not access Google Slides from the network computers we were utilizing,  I then had to change gears in my planning and have all students create their stories using Microsoft PowerPoint.  They then uploaded their typed rough draft and final PowerPoint presentation to my Dropbox account.  My Wiki page linked here allowed them access to the links I provided for my Dropbox, where I could then add the presentations to my Google Drive and convert them to Google Slides to easily share online.  One key characteristic of being an educator is that I am very flexible and while I would like to continue my journey in learning and utilizing Google Apps, I know that there are tools out there already that help me with technically updating my craft.  

7th Period Starting the Project
Wednesday I was observed by my administrator while students were working on this project and so I am using this post as my reflection piece.  (Lesson Plan Here)  Some thoughts I had while thinking back on my activity are; I would like to change my requirements for the rough draft for next year by making students label their statements, and also have them put the labels in the notes section of their PowerPoint or Google Slide.  Although most students completed a nice cover page some needed to be asked to do so, so next year I am going to add a cover page section into the rubric.  I feel students worked really hard on their stories, had good questions about the project, and I chose some of the best ones to share below.

 Please read and enjoy the great things these students accomplished while writing, creating and learning online.

Sunday, October 15, 2017

First Marking Period - Data & Committing to Life Long Learning

Recently the Keystone scores for Pennsylvania were released, and our Algebra 1 scores were not where we would have envisioned them.  Our English Language Arts scores saw growth, and a 9% gain in overall Proficiency, along with the Biology exam that is now given in PA.  Math took a 2% hit, although the numbers of students in the below basic category dropped and increased their scores, we need to re-examine the way we teach mathematics.  We believe student scores will increase if the math department increases the writing proficiency in Algebra.

In my Geometry course I am committed to help increase the perserverance in writing mathematically and technically.  To foster those skills I am utilizing more task problem sets to practice skills in Geometry.  Recently students investigated the use of areas in carpeting and tiling a first floor of  a house.  I used Carnegie Learning's Geometry course when I student taught and have found continued uses for the problem sets that are available in their old books.  I bought a student edition off of Amazon for $10 and have been using specific problem sets for my course to enhance the classroom rigor and relevance.
Carpeting & Tiling a Floor- Using Task Problems to investigate
area in a Geometry Classroom while increasing
writing in mathematics. 
I also am expanding my classroom set-up, with a new use for the white board in the back of my classroom.  After participating in a  Twitter conversation with some other professionals across the United States about mathematics and education, one topic really stood out to me.  What do you do with good student questions?  One educator said he had a Pressing Questions board, and I thought to myself, well I have a blank White Board in the back of my room, let's utilize it and discuss more questions with students. One question led us to a whole class discussion and deeper thinking while looking at a drawing on GeoGebra to illustrate what happens when polygons increase their number of sides.  My visual learners were fully engaged in the discussion and said they would like to use GeoGebra themselves.
New Pressing Questions White Board - Use questions students come up
with that cannot be addressed right away, or that are good enough
to keep coming back to. 

Students were also introduced to the use of Geogebra to start manipulating and working with digital drawings of mathematical concepts.  I enjoy teaching my students how to work with protractors and compasses, but this tool is much more efficient and easily understood, especially for my visual learners.  Throughout the school year I plan to utilize more Geogebra in the classroom to model mathematics in the real world, and maybe even in uploading photos for my students to modify and work with.   However, I'm finding that using our district network is making it difficult to continue with some of my ideas and the work I'm doing in my graduate courses.

Collage of Student Projects
Triangle Angle Sum, Interior Angles of Polygons
& Angle and Segment Bisectors

The only catch with all of the work in my courses I would like to continue with, is the fact that I cannot modify anything with my students and have them complete work in their own Google accounts, where everything can be saved to a cloud.  The school district I work for restricts the useage of student log-ins for any type of e-mail or account log-in.  Once we become a Google School I will be proud to share with them in all of the uses of Google tools in the classroom!  I even went so far as to become a Google Certified Educator, Level 1, and hope to continue this school year to gain Level 2 and even Trainer status to compliment my future master's in Information Technology Specialist.  I have a lot on my plate and continue to keep trying new things as an educator because I know my students deserve the best.  I want to inspire them in a way they have not been before, to look into technology and mathematics as a career and life-long learning process.

Topology Assignment for my Grad Class,
the computer lab system I work with, when
it works.