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. 

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