Friday, November 28, 2014

Desmos implementation and use ideas - worth missing a nap opportunity for...

I could have spent the last 3+ hours taking a much needed nap on this Thanksgiving Break.  Instead, I got caught up looking up awesome Desmos and Math Lesson / Activity Ideas.  It's times like these I wish I had a classroom to implement these into right away.  Well, in a way, I do - I don't have my own classroom, but I do have 5 math fellows to try new things out in!  My brain is flooding with ideas of ways to use it in both little bits (lesson intros, aids, etc) and big bits (whole-class period exploration and inquiry activities).  So, even though I don't teach this course anymore, I am going through my Math Analysis (PreCal) concept list and writing down ways Desmos can be used as a tool to help students discover and explore math concepts and/or aid in providing a visual or model for the math concept.  

As I'm going through my  Math Analysis Unit Map and almost every single concept could have been explored (think discovery / inquiry) and/or reinforced with the visuals and modeling provided through using Desmos.  
(To see all the resources I have aligned with these concepts already, as well as video lessons for every concept, please see my student site at

Oh, and don't forget about the awesome activities at or  What a world of opportunity!  Life. Is. Changed.

Here are my thoughts - there are some concepts I don't have notes by but I left them in there so you can see the whole unit picture. If you have ideas (or activities already designed and are willing to share!!!) for any of these, please comment and share. The document linked below is "commentable", so please feel free to comment there or on this post.

This is just a list for one of the courses I taught for the last 5 years.  I know there are a lot more things Desmos can do that is outside the scope of this course, so I added an "other" section at the very end for other "cool stuff I don't want to forget" but that doesn't align with what my brain has been wrapped around for so long.  There are also a lot of concepts in this list that are "review" for Math Analysis and thus are originally taught in Algebra 1, Geometry, or Algebra 2.

One of the things that sticks out to me so much is that these visuals and models of the math would have helped SO many of my students do more than just memorize procedures and formulas.  They would have been able to "see" it and thus (hopefully) make more sense of it.  While I can't go back and change the past, I can help to change the future!!

To go directly to this document and add comments or suggestions, please click here

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

EdCafes: Student Voice with Choice [Guest Blog Post]

Dawn Lam is an English Teacher at Beckman High School and one of my amazing fellows this school year. After attending #EdCampUCLACenterX a few weeks ago, she came back with the idea of doing an EdCamp-Style discussion called an EdCafe. I can't take any credit for her planning or implementation because she just took the idea and ran with it (which I LOVE!) - thankfully, I was able to sit in and be a part of one of her class periods during the EdCafe to see the awesomeness that unfolded. I asked her to write a guest blog post here at Flipping with Kirch to share how she came about the idea of an EdCafe, describe her process, and reflect on the implementation and impact on student learning. You can follow Dawn on Twitter @MrsLamBHS

Thank you, Crystal for allowing me to be a guest blogger! Working with Crystal has been such an awesome learning experience and I feel so fortunate to have her as a coach/mentor.

I came across the Edcafe model after attending an Edcamp earlier in the month. I tweeted about my experience and a response mentioned that I should check out the student version, Edcafes at As soon as I read through Katrina’s site, I knew I wanted to try out this discussion model in my English classroom.

Essentially in an Edcafe, 4 students act as facilitators and lead a discussion centered on a topic of their choosing in each corner of the classroom. The rest of the class gets to decide which of the 4 discussions they’d like to attend based on in their interest in the topic. After the allotted time (I allowed 7 minutes for the discussion), 4 new facilitators lead discussions in the classroom corners. Therefore, a participant has the choice to attend 2 different discussions during the Edcafe. It’s a great way to offer students choice during class discussions.

Here is a video montage of EdCafes in action:

My students were examining the DBQ: What Caused the Dust Bowl? to provide some historical background to the novel, To Kill a Mockingbird, and as a way to help provide them skills necessary for future AP History courses. The students were examining historical documents in groups and beginning to hypothesize the causes in preparation for an essay. To be honest, I just added the Edcafe to the lesson plans immediately, without too much planning and luckily, I was very happy with the results.

I created Google sheets for each period and handpicked my facilitators (4 per session: 2 sessions). I posted the sheets on my Haiku page and asked the facilitators to fill out the sheet with their chosen topics by the evening before the Edcafe.   

Here are the questions they came up with:

Two days before the Edcafe, I showed each class the Edcamp  video and posted it to my Haiku site. I orally explained my own experience as a participant at an Edcamp and ran through the main parts: facilitator introductions, discussions, and takeaways. Ideally, I would have shown them the Edcafe video, but I did not come across this until the day of our Edcafes.

The day of Edcafes, I began with a brief overview via Google slides. 

Each facilitator stood up and presented their topics and classroom locations, while I had the Google sheet projected on the screen. Students had 1 minute to get to their corners and discussions began. During the first session, I noticed some facilitators had notes, research and/or questions prepared. Others informally held a discussion, posing questions to keep the discourse continuing. I put 7 minutes on the timer and as an observer, circulated the room, taking notes of what was being said and who was speaking in each corner. Once the timer went off, I again allowed 1 minute for transition to session 2.

After session 2, students went back to whole class seating and had 2 minutes to write a takeaway on a post-it for my exit board. One by one, each facilitator stood up and shared a takeaway from the Edcafe discussion he/she hosted.

The "Exit Board".  Each student has a number
and posts their sticky note on their number.

So...what did I learn? 

First of all, the Edcafe allows for student choice, which immediately makes the discussions more engaging. 

Secondly, the session topics need to be posted and made available as soon as possible, so students have an opportunity to think about which discussion they’d like to attend. After researching Edcafes in more detail after our first try, I noticed I need to encourage facilitators to prepare a catchy name for their session and present a more engaging introduction to help them “sell” their session to the class. 

Finally, depending on the dynamics of the class, it would be super helpful to provide facilitators a sheet to complete in order to prepare for their discussions. I came across this one and plan to adapt it to fit my students’ needs. Check out Ms. Fillingham’s site for more help!

Here are some results:

After 2 Edcafes, I created a survey via Google forms to get my students’ feedback. My goal was to find out what students thought about the model, measure whether I was meeting my class objectives, and also learn from students the best way to adapt the Edcafes to meet their needs.

Thanks Dawn for sharing your EdCafe experience. Don't forget to follow Dawn @MrsLamBHS and let us know how your EdCafe experience goes!

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!

Friday, November 21, 2014

Coaching Reflections - Take 3 (lots of great ideas, lots of encouragement)

This was another really positive week with a lot of progress.  I was able to meet with all my fellows, go to half of a Discovery Education Common Core Training, and then actually make it to see my fellow DLCs on Wednesday, which was much much needed.  You can't underestimate the value of collaboration and community!

One of the best parts of the week was when I was heading back to my office to grab my keys before heading home on Friday.  I ran into a teacher and said the friendly, "Have a great weekend", and he replied by saying, "I just want to thank you for being a ray of sunshine on our campus this year for tech support."  That was after a different teacher popped his head into my office on Thursday and told me what a positive difference I was making on the campus not only for him, but for so many people.  He mentioned specifically it was the fact that people felt they could come to me with any type of tech question and not feel stupid.  Comments like those are really meaningful, especially when I consider the leap of faith I took in leaving the comfort of the only position/school/district I'd known to become a Digital Learning Coach.  Every day it's that much more clear to me that God has opened the doors to bring me to the place He wants me to be...and I'm absolutely loving it!

Here are some reflections on what we are doing and the progress we are making in finding ways to integrate technology into the curriculum in ways that will improve and deepen student learning and/or make teaching and learning more efficient or effective.

Fellow #1
This fellow had seen Padlet and had talked with some of her colleagues who were using it and wanted to use it as a different type of class opener.  She has been using Google Forms and Infuse Learning to ask students questions about previous or upcoming concepts, get feedback on the homework, etc.  We had a great discussion about how she really feels like this integration of technology has her students more engaged in class and how she is able to really see what her students know and don't know much more clearly.  I asked her if she thought the students were more engaged because everything was still so "new" and exciting, and she said that she wasn't sure, but it would be interesting to see how things panned out as the year went on.  So, we decided to try out Padlet for a similar learning goal, but to "mix it up" for her students.  When students entered class, they went on Haiku, where she has a "Interactive in Class" page that everything is posted on for class openers or class activities.  The Padlet posed a question in the title of the wall and students answered to the best of their ability.  Both me and the teacher were able to walk around and ask students about their response, and help them to dig a little deeper.  Students are able to edit their own response, so many went back and added or modified their original response.

They started going over homework, which was on graphing absolute value functions, and I decided to plug the functions into Desmos to check a few things out I wasn't sure about.  After a few minutes, I had the opportunity to show my fellow the graphs and we decided to project them on the screen and have a class discussion.  So, this was totally impromptu and in no way planned, but it turned out to be an awesome learning experience for me, my fellow, and her students!

Afterwards, I was inspired to put together an "absolute value graph discovery activity" for Desmos, which you can see here... This has not yet been implemented in any classes, so I would appreciate any thoughts and feedback you have for it.

Fellow #2
This fellow planned a Thinglink activity for his students.  They have to choose four pictures that represent the time period / event they are studying and then "annotate" them using the Thinglink tags.  They can use text, other images, or videos as their tags.  They will be working in their study groups on this, but they can't "divide and conquer" - they must work together and collaborate on all four of them.

We also we able to talk about digital citizenship in terms of choosing images that are "labeled for non-commercial re-use" and citing the images with the image URL.  While this does narrow the available pictures, it helps teach an important lesson to students that everything on the internet is not free to use.  By embedding it into the lesson, there is immediate, practical application of this aspect of online ethics.

Funny enough, when I was going through my feedly yesterday, I came across an article titled "How to Attribute Creative Commons Photos".  Check it out as a great resource.

Implementation:  I visited one class period of the students working on the Thinglink activity.  They were highly engaged in analyzing the images, picking out different things they noticed and connecting it to what they had learned.  The teacher gave students the first image, and then gave them 3 topics of which they had to find their own image to annotate.  They embedded the Thinglinks into a Haiku Wikiproject.  I am looking forward to seeing the finished project and analyzing the use of Thinglink to help meet the learning objectives of this activity.

Fellow #3
We co-planned a lesson last week that embedded Socrative questions within the lesson.  This teacher does a great job of calling on all students throughout the class period but we wanted to be able to collect feedback from the entire class at certain points throughout the lesson.  I co-taught with her during 1st period and helped her navigate the Teacher-Paced questions throughout the lesson.  We weren't super happy with it; it stopped the flow of the class too much.  So, for 2nd period, I suggested using the Student-Paced questions, and just telling the students how many questions to answer at a time.  For example, it may have asked them what "m" was, then was "b" was, and then what the whole equation was (for y=mx+b).  That way, students could answer all 3 of those questions at their pace and get immediate feedback after each step.  The teacher could see the student responses on a nice grid as they came in and they were marked "red" or "green" right away.  The visual was just a lot nicer for the student-paced.  We had a great debrief and agreed that even though it was clunky and a little difficult, it did help to meet the learning goals of collecting better feedback from students throughout the lesson.  So, we are going to continue to give it a try and work through the weird parts.  Great lessons learned, and I'm glad we were able to do it together!

Fellow #4
With this fellow, we just practiced with some tech.  We went over Google Forms again and I showed her "summary of responses" for a form she created for one of her classes last week.  I also showed her some features of her Epson Interactive Whiteboard to get her mind thinking of ways she may be able to use that.  We also talked about the Socrative Exit Ticket  and she is really excited to use that in her unit starting after Thanksgiving Break.  She thought she wanted to do a Google Form for it, but that would mean she would have to create a new one for each day.  With the Exit Ticket, it is pre-made, and all she has to do is orally tell the students what to respond to for the third question and it will not require as much pre-planning on her part.  This will be fun!

Fellow #5 
This fellow developed a set of "I Can" statements for her current unit and then put them on a Google Form for the students to self-evaluate where they were at.  Keep in mind this was not prompted or guided by me at all! (Yay - our mission is to develop technologically self-sufficient teachers and they are definitely getting to that point!).  We were able to discuss how powerful having those statements are not only for the teacher in terms of planning, but for the student in terms of monitoring their own learning.  I hope to build on this to help the math department as a whole have "I Can" statements for each of their courses.

Fellow #6
We finally had the chance to debrief all of our Socrative activities from last week, and it was really good.  I did some searching online for some different prebrief and debrief questioning prompts, and I like what I found - I've done 2 debriefs talking through these questions and they have gone well.  I'm still looking to improve it, so please give me feedback!  (see below this section)

We gave a student feedback survey on Google Forms and my fellow was able to see how helpful it was to gather student feedback and get student opinion on class activities.  Most of them enjoyed the "Space Race" activity the most, but they also enjoyed the other two types (teacher-paced and student-paced).  They gave some great suggestions in terms of having time to review the PDF results during class time where they could ask more questions rather than that just being the homework the night after the activity.  We are excited to continue using it.

We set four clear goals for this fellow that we will be focusing on over the next several months:
1. Collecting student notes and posting a picture each day on Haiku as examples for both students and teachers.  We set up Dropbox Camera Upload so she can snap a picture with her iPhone and it syncs automatically to her computer for easy upload to Haiku
2. Start using a timer in class to help with transitioning to different activities and monitoring the length of different activities in class.
3. Start playing around with the room arrangement (currently in rows) to see what we could do if we had partners, groups of 3, etc.  And, how instruction could change to take advantage of the collaboration.
4. Continue to use Socrative. We are starting by planning a 2-5 question warmup for each day.  However, we would like to expand to using the Exit Ticket, Live within the Lesson, and then continue doing a review activity on Socrative.

PREBRIEF REFLECTION (complete before lesson implementation)
What are the learning goals/objectives?  What outcomes are you hoping to see?  
How will you know if students have met these goals / objectives / outcomes?
What activities, problems, tasks, or questions are going to help you achieve those goals?
Is this lesson introducing new knowledge or is it practicing / reviewing /  applying knowledge already taught?

  • What do you want me to look for?
  • What do you want me to listen for?
  • What do you want me to do? (Model, Co-Teach, Cognitive)


Lesson Notes & Observations from Crystal:
Lesson Reflections and Ideas for the future (from fellow & coach)
Reflection from Fellow (complete after lesson. We will discuss these questions during our debrief):
  • Did you enjoy the lesson? Why or why not?
  • Did the students enjoy the lesson? Why or why not?  What evidence do you have?
  • Was the lesson effective at meeting the lesson goals / student outcomes? Why or why not?  What evidence do you have?
  • If you taught this lesson or used this tool again, what would you keep the same? Why?
  • If you taught this lesson or used this tool again, what would you refine, change or disband? Why?
  • What did you learn from teaching this lesson or using this tool about yourself, your students, or your content area?
  • What problems or issues did you have along the way (in planning or implementation) that you had to address or solve?  How did you do this?
  • What would you like to learn more about? (teaching strategy, tech tool, etc).  What should our next Coaching Cycle be about?


Notes from Debrief (in addition to Lesson Reflections above)

Fellow #7
We just practiced with some tech today, mainly uploading files to Google Drive, sharing to "everyone with the link" and then hyperlinking the Google Document in a mass email to parents through the grading system... too many steps than are needed for a "simple" task, but it was the only way to accomplish it.  We also sent out our "live" Google Sheet for signups for an upcoming music concert/assembly and watched as people logged on within minutes of sending out the emails and signed up their names.  That was fun :)

Fellow #8
We did a lot of brainstorming today, mainly with figuring out the settings for Haiku assessments that would allow students to view the results only when the teacher wanted them to (i.e. after everyone had finished the assessments).  You can do that by setting a "password" for taking and then a "password" for reviewing.
We also were trying to figure out a way to have students sign up for the bi-weekly (Tues/Thurs) tutorial period in an online way.  Right now, every teacher just has a signup sheet.  We thought through the process of having students sign up on a Google Form.  I told her about FormLimiter, but that would mean that students couldn't "erase" their name once they had signed up and she would need to make a new form for every session (twice a week).  So, I showed her how you can turn a form "off", and how you can "hide" rows on the response spreadsheet, so she could continue to use the same form/spreadsheet, turn it "off" once the max number of students had signed up (around 30), and then turn it back on for the next tutorial period.  Sort of clunky work flow, but we'll see if it will work.

Fellow #9
This fellow had seen my tweet about Thinglink so wanted to explore it.  We ended up exploring Thinglink and as tools for students to annotate/take notes on both images (Thinglink) and Videos (  She is going to have them do an activity when we get back from Thanksgiving with Thinglink and still exploring options for using, possibly as a tool for a video they watch and take notes on at home.  It's always exciting meeting with this fellow and I love the ideas we are able to collaborate on!

Other Teachers:
We had a great PD session for the Late Start day where one of the teachers shared with the staff a few "Gradual Release of Responsibility" strategies and activities he uses in his class to help create a more student-centered classroom.  I was only able to stay for 2 of the 3 activities, but they were so great and I asked if I could come in to observe his class and even video tape the activities to be able to share privately with the staff on our Haiku page.  He was very open to that, so I look forward to the next time he uses one of the activities.

One of the activities was called "Bellringers", where basically you give the students a topic (a piece of text, a math problem, etc) and students go up front in groups of 3-10 and have a certain amount of time (2-5 minutes) have a discussion about the concept/idea/passage/problem in front of the class.  The teacher sits at the back with a bell, and when he/she hears something really profound, something the teacher "would have said", or something "you should definitely have in your notes", he rings the bell.  He keeps track of who he rings the bell for as a part of their participation grade, so students up front are striving to really participate and add meaning to the conversation, whereas students in the audience are listening closely and paying attention to when the bell is rung for really key ideas.

The other activity was a Vocabulary one (I don't remember the exact name) where students are given a list of up to 30-40 words some time in advance. Then, multiple strips of paper (probably 10-15 sets) are created, each with 10 random words from the list of 30-40.  All the strips are put in a bucket and the students grab a strip one at a time and go up front.  They have exactly 1 minute to use at least 5 of the words in context of answer a certain question/problem/concept.  Each of the strips is labeled w/ a letter so the teacher knows which list of words they are working off of.  He gets through an entire class in one period because it is literally one minute... the next student grabs their slip when the previous student begins so they have a minute to prep, and so on.
One of the key points is that the teacher always goes first, before any student(s) do these tasks.  I am very excited to see these in action!

Another great idea that was shared today was having some sessions during the tutorial period (Tues/Thurs for 30 minutes for all students) for "Basic Tech Proficiencies" for students (but not calling them basic...) such as sending an email, adding an attachment, typing in Google Docs, etc.  There are a lot of students, especially our EL/Transitional ones, who do not have experience with that and then "feel dumb" when they can't do it in class.  So, we want this to be positive, supportive, in small groups, and helpful.  I'm looking forward to being able to get this launched.

I have started meeting consistently with a non-fellow new teacher to help her with some different things.  She is actually doing some pretty awesome stuff already with VideoScribe, Prezi, Kahoot, Haiku Deck,and other stuff.  On Friday, we met for an hour and brainstormed organization for her Haiku pages and started adding content.  We are going to meet again next Tuesday to continue working on her Haiku pages, but also start talking about collaboration with Google Docs, Voice recording with either Google Voice, YouTube, or something else (still need to research), and see how else we can help make her first year teacher life more efficient.  I am really enjoying meeting with this new teacher!

I also met with a few random teachers to work on Google Drive (some just basic organization, others using Doctopus), getting Apple TV connected, and other small stuff

In other news, the math department got a site license for Kuta!  I'll be doing an overview/training for them on an upcoming late start just to make sure they are able to take full advantage of the features the software provides.  Wahoo!

Student Tech Team:
We had our second lunch meeting this week and continued to talk through our plans for the year.  I do have a great group of students and I'm looking forward to building our team together.

I met with a student who just transferred to our school from up north who was actually a part of a student tech team for a 1-to-1 iPad rollout.  We got to chat for about 30 minutes about how they did things and how things worked.  They were lucky enough to be able to actually have a class period "Technology Internship" so students were on duty during their actual class period and were getting credit for the time they were spending on it.

I also met with two of my seniors who are on the team to talk about leadership and to brainstorm ideas in a smaller group.  It was really positive and helped us to get on the same page with the goals and vision for the team.  I am looking forward to meeting again on Monday and then launching the team the week after Thanksgiving.

I hope you all have a fabulous Thanksgiving Week!

Friday, November 14, 2014

Coaching Reflections - Take 2 (What a great week!)

I've just had a really good week.  It doesn't hurt that Monday was a teacher work day, Tuesday there was no school, and today was a minimum day because teachers had "Report Card Night" on Wednesday.  It's just been really good.

Monday I offered 5 optional workshops for teachers on their work day on different tech stuff that I've been asked about.  I figured it would be better for me to teach several at once than go around and teach them all individually.  I offered workshops on Discovery Education, Google Forms, Doctopus, Socrative, and Diigo.  It was a crazy busy day, but I absolutely loved it.  I'm definitely doing what I love.  The teachers seemed to learn a lot and appreciate the sessions; I am excited to follow up with them next week to see how they are progressing and see what support they need to continue on.

Let me just summarize the exciting meetings I had with my fellows this week. I only met with 7 out of the 10 because of the two days off.

Fellow #1 - We've been working with Socrative and we planned three days of review using different features of the program: teacher-paced, space race, and student-paced.  I modeled the lesson during 4th period each day (last Friday, this Wednesday, this Thursday), helped my fellow get started with 5th period, and then she did the rest of 5th and all of 6th.  Let me tell you, it was so exciting to see how excited she was about the difference she saw in her students and their engagement/focus in class.  They took a test today, so we are anxious to see if there is a difference in their performance. We also had them do a reflection Google Form that we're already seeing great feedback on.  It's on my to-do list to do a detailed Lesson Reflection post with resources, pics, and other stuff at some point next week.  I was probably in this fellow's class 1-2 hours every day the last week, but it's just been so great seeing her make progress and take "bite-sized" pieces of new tech every week, seeing the excitement/joy in watching her watch her class, and to continue to build her excitement for using technology to transform the class environment.  One of the great things about Socrative is that we were able to download the reports by student at the end of the day, post them on Haiku, and the students could access them to see which ones they needed to review more.

Fellow #2 - This fellow implemented her first Google Form "Quiz" with Flubaroo this week on Unit Circle radians and terminal points. I went into her classroom for the first implementation to help everything run smoothly.  She asked for student feedback at the end of it.  One of the first questions I asked her was, "How do you think it went?" and she said "I would do it again".  It took longer for the students to take (12-13 minutes vs. 3-5), but it required a deeper level of critical thinking and comprehension than just filling out the Unit Circle by hand... AND it auto-graded!  We had a great discussion about that, and then delved into some Desmos talk.  I showed her some of the Desmos templates I had made for trig graphs last year and shared them with her (you can view those here and here) and then went to and showed her Desman and the Function Carnival... and she got SO excited and thought it was awesome! I'm really excited to see the whole-class implementation of one of these activities.

Fellow #3 - This fellow went to my Socrative training on Monday, and wants to start using it.  We decided to plan a lesson that uses the strategies she already has found success with (questioning students) and add in Socrative as a tool to provide better formative feedback to her throughout the class period.  We looked a lesson for next week on Writing Linear Equations from Data Tables and talked through the lesson, thinking of places where it would be good to get answers from the entire class via Socrative.  We created the quiz on Socrative and walked through it with me playing "the student".  I will be going into her class next Thursday to observe the lesson, we will debrief Thursday afternoon, and she will be doing a follow-up lesson also involving Socrative on Friday.

Fellow #4 - This fellow is always trying new things and trying to figure things out. Our meeting was short today, but she was having issues with her vlookup formulas so we talked through them and figured out the issues.  I find it important to remind them that asking questions is completely normal, and when I was first learning a lot of these tech tools, I was asking questions ALL the time.  (And, when I'm learning new things I am still asking questions!).  Whenever you encounter an issue and ask questions to find the solution, it gives you one more "tool" in your toolbox to try out the next time the issue occurs.   We started brainstorming ideas and she had the great idea to have the students record themselves (just using the Camera program on their laptops) while they are working through a word problem with a partner, so they can capture their real-time thoughts, questions, and explanations.  We are going to talk more about this  next week!

Fellow #5 - I showed this Fellow Google Forms last week for the first time and the first thing she told me was that she had an idea of how to use it!  She needed a place for teachers to sign up to attend the Christmas Concert, which she normally puts a poster in the staff lounge.  We ended up decided to use a fully editable Google Sheet, but now we have a digital signup sheet.  I showed her formulas like =sum( and =countif( and we learned how to color the background, change font sizes/alignments, etc.  I love the bite-size pieces of tech that help things to be done more efficiently!

Fellow #6- This fellow asked me to show him some things with Google Forms on Haiku, but it ended up being so much more.  We learned how to make a copy of a Google Form, embed it on Haiku, interpret and change the embed code height/width to be what we want, add a page break to a Google Form (and send certain answers to the extra page vs. other answers just to submit).  Then came two incredibly exciting things... he had never seen "show summary of results" and was IN COMPLETE AWE at the data (pie charts, bar graphs) that it just gave him automatically.  Like he just wanted to keep looking at it.  Then, we downloaded his rosters and created a =vlookup roster for one of his Google Forms that was going out to over 200 kids and I showed him how to use filters to see who still needed to do it.  This is a fellow who I haven't been able to show too many new things to, and it was just so great to see him so excited!

Fellow #7- This fellow went to an EdCamp last week and got inspired to do an "EdCafe" for student DBQ discussions (  She did all the research and was all ready to go; I just asked to be able to come in and watch.  It was awesome. I've asked her to do a guest blog post on the process, including planning and in class time, as well as student feedback.  That will be up in a couple of weeks, around Thanksgiving.  We debriefed right after and just talked through the process and how she thought it went and what she would change for next time (she is trying it again on Thursday of next week).  Then we just started talking about the changes she has seen in her classroom, and the first word she said was that it is much more "student-centered".  She is spending more time planning the lessons, but she sees that they are things she can continue to use throughout the years, so it is worth her time.  Her next step is to learn how to record some basic videos with either her document camera or iPad so she can model different skills such as annotating in a way that students can access anytime and at their own pace.

Besides my fellows, I was able to help a teacher set up her class Haiku pages for the first time, met with my "Beckman Tech Team" of students for our initial meeting (I'll blog more about that later), follow up with a teacher using Doctopus, help another teacher with downloading and uploading PDF files, and work with another teacher on exporting ExamView questions into Haiku.  In addition, the class set (12) of iPads for our Moderate/Severe Autism teacher came in and I got to help her talk through some set-up stuff.  All in a day's work :)

Not every week is this amazing, but I feel like all of my fellows made such great strides this week and are trying new, exciting things in their classroom that really have the potential to transform the class environment.

I'm hoping to be able to do some Lesson Reflection posts soon with more details on each of these, but we will see how my time looks this weekend. I'm excited that one of my fellows is going to do a guest blog post, and if it goes well I may ask some of my other fellows to share their lesson process on this blog, too.  So, look forward to that!

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Steve Leinwand Math Presentation

I went to a workshop at Downey Unified a few weeks ago and Steve Leinwand was the speaker - it was a great day, full of thought-provoking problems and considerations to make in regards to math education.  Here are my notes:

Check out for so much more :)

  • Coaching Debriefs - Always start with something specific and positive
    • What I really liked was…. What was really impressive is when…
    • So tell me what your learning goals were for this lesson?
    • What your plan for meeting these goals? (that is what activities, problems, tasks,questions)
    • How well do you think your goals wereachieved?
    • What would you do differently?
  • Coaching-
    • What do you want me to look for?
    • What do you want me to listen for?
    • What do you want me to do? (Model, Co-Teach, Cognitive)
  • NCTM Article by Steve Leinwand - Four Teacher-Friendly Postulates for Thriving in a Sea of Change
    • Change 10% ever year 
      • 6 minutes of every lesson
      • 1 unit out of every 10
  • Teachers need to observe other teachers at least once a week!!! 
    • Model lessons + videotape + debrief
    • Coach and teacher both teach same day
    • Post videos on secure website for teachers to share and collaborate
    • Teachers bring an activity to PLC meeting & post it with a reflection and student work on secure website.
  • None of us know it all.  We all have different specialties.  We all have something to bring to the table.
  • THINGS WON'T CHANGE UNLESS... There is time for collaboration and coaching!
  • People won't do what they can't envision
    People can't do what they don't understand
    People can't do well what isn't practiced
    But practice without feedback results in little change, and
    Work without collaboration is not sustaining

    We must help people envision, understand, practice, receive feedback, and collaborate 
  • Ideas for Collaboration:
    • Time & Structure
      • Structured & Focused Department Meetings
      • Common Planning Time
      • Subs for classroom visits (or coach/principal teach a period to free up teacher to visit colleagues)
      • Debriefing sessions for any classroom visits
      • Summer Workshops
    • Strategies
      • Classroom visits
      • Demonstration lessons w/ debrief
      • Co-teaching opportunities (join 2 classes together)
      • Common readings assigned w/ discussion
      • Technology demonstrations
      • Video analysis of lessons
      • Analysis of student work
      • Development/Review of common finals or unit assessments
      • "What's not working" sessions?

  • We must have problems that allow for multiple approaches.  There is not one right way to solve it.  Allow students to struggle and think through problems on their own first - you will be amazed with the methods they come up with. THEN, you can show them the "math" way that may be more efficient... but it's not the only right way!
    • Problems that allow for multiple approaches general have "nice" numbers to work with, so you can approach it in several different ways.
    • Once they struggle through coming up with multiple approaches and sharing the different approaches (display student work and discuss the method), then pose a question that doesn't have nice numbers as an extension, showing students the need for a more mathematical way of solving the problems.
    • *You are creating the need to know!
    • Get students invested by making them guess first. Estimation & Logical Thinking  --> Justification for Estimates.  "What are you thinking?"
    • This is one method of differentiation in the classroom - accommodating multiple ways of thinking

  • In Singapore, the "Teach Less, Learn More" and "Talk Less, Listen More" 
  • Things we want our students to do:
    • If given a set of data: Organize it, identify trends,ask questions, develop and justify hypotheses, summarize data
    • If given a situation: represent it, describe it, interpret it, make predictions, plan a course of action, decide what's fair, identify contradictions and rip-offs
    • If given a claim: evaluate it
    • If given a set of constraints: satisfy them, find an optimum solution
    • If given a model:  explain it, debug it, refine it, generalize it, evaluate it, apply it
***VERY IMPORTANT*** - it's not the teacher's job to create all the modeling tasks (3-Act, Estimation 180, Would You Rather, 101 Questions, Open Middle, Robert's Problem-Based Tasks)... it's the teacher's job to bring them into the class!  They are created! They are out there! Use them.

  • Every time, probe a little further... look for multiple approaches, multiple answers, multiple viewpoints.  This gives students multiple access points to the content.

  • Things we need to consider...  Our students...
    • Forget - so we need to more deliberately review
    • See it differently - so we need to accommodate multiple representations
    • Approach it differently - so we need to elicit, value, and celebrate alternative approaches
    • Give ridiculous answers - so we need to focus on number sense and estimation
    • Don't understand the vocabulary - so we need to build language rich classrooms
    • Ask "Why do we need to know this?" - so we need to embed the math in context. 

  • Reading in math vs. Reading in English
    • "Jane went to the store"
      • Who went to the store? (literal comprehension)
      • Where did Jane go? (literal comprehension
      • Why do you think Jane went to the store? (inferential)
      • Do you think it made sense for Jane to go to the store? (evaluative) 
    •  In math, we stay at the "this is the right answer" - We don't ask "why" or "How do you know" or "Who has a different answer" or "Does it make sense".

  • Steve's suggestion for Math Homework:
    • 2 - Problems on new skill
    • 4 - Ongoing review (one from yesterday, one from last week, one from the beginning of the year, one from last year)
    • 2  - Problem Solving, Explain Answer, Reasoning, Conceptual
    • Homework on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday.  Friday is assessment or problem solving task day and there is no homework unless students want to preview material for the next week.

  • Steve's suggestion for How Class Time is Spent:
    • 5-6 minutes cumulative review
      • not problem solving
      • 5-6 questions that should be quick and automatic
      • Example for Pre-Calculus: (sorry, no math type)
        • 1. What is the value of tan(pi/4)
        • 2. Sketch the graph if (x-3)^2+(y+2)^2=16
        • 3. What are the equations of the asymptotes of f(x) = (x-3)/(x-2)
        • 4. If log base 2 of x is -4, what is the value of x
        • 5. About how much do I weigh in kg?
      • Example for "Oh Crap I don't have Time to Plan"
        • A term of the day
        • A picture of the day
        • An estimate of the day
        • A skill of the day
        • A graph of the day
        • A word problem of the day
    • 5 minutes - go over 2-4-2 homework with questioning in mind (no more than 5 minutes!)
    • 20 minutes - chunk 1 teaching
    • 20 minutes - chunk 2 teaching
    • 5 minutes - closure & exit ticket

  • What is math?
    • Option 1: A set of rules to be learned and memorized to find answers to exercises that have limited real world value
    • Option 2: A set of competencies and understanding driven by sense-making and used to get solutions to problems that have real world value

Ideas for Activities in Class
  • Put 2 numbers on the screen that mean something to you.  He put 27 and 15.  We had to reason and try to deduce what the numbers meant.  Then, he put 27/50 and 15/196, and we had to continue to reason.  Lastly, he put up 27/50 states and 15/196 countries and we were able to see what the numbers actually meant.
  • Take a textbook word problem and put it on the screen one part at a time.  After each part, discuss what is going on, what the question may be, etc.  Although it may be a "silly" problem, some good conversation and critical thinking can come from this activity. 
  • "There are 310 million people in the US. There are 13,000 McDonalds in the US.  There is a point somewhere in the lower 48 that is farther from a McDonalds than any other point. 1)  What state? and 2) How far?. [Answer is South Dakota, 107 miles away]
    • Follow up: McDonalds claims that 12% of all Americans eat at McDonalds each day.  Make the case that this claim is valid or invalid.
  • Open with an engaging video or image and ask students what they see (can use 3-act math tasks).  At this point, you've got them hooked and wanting to jump in.  Steve added prompts or questions to the pictures.
    •   "You Pour I Choose" 
      • just have a picture of the two glasses - "Tell your partner three things you see here"
        • When they tell you something, ask "How do you know?" If they say "It's a cylinder", ask "What's a cylinder?"... get them thinking, get them talking mathematically.
      • Play video - "Which glass has more soda?" - What is your guess, and share your guess w/ a neighbor, with justification
        • Once they share their guesses, ask them "Convince me of your guess"
      • Play video again - "Guess how much soda is in each glass right now?" (A can of coca-cola contains 12 ounces). 
      • Ask students - "What information is important here? How would you get it?"
      • ... follow the rest of the 3 Acts, and there's even a sequel!
  • Exit Ticket - have a Green/Yellow/Red poster on the wall by the door. Have students solve a problem or write a summary on a sticky note and place it on the wall on their way out depending on how they feel about it (Do they feel really confident? = Green)
    • One tip to make sure this closure is happening is to have a student be the "five minute marker" for each class period. That student is in charge of telling the teacher when there are 5 minutes left in class. 
  • "Tell me what you see"
    • Start by showing students numbers, a graph, an equation, etc and simply ask "Tell me 5 things you see"
  • Have students solve a problem with multiple approaches (could be math, but could be with drawings, graphs, guess, and check, etc).  THEN show them the "math" way. THEN have them apply their knowledge to a new situation
    • example: You have $10, Big Macs cost $1.59.  What questions can be asked??
    • go through and discuss/solve,etc
    • formative assessment at the end - Oops! They are on sale for $1.29 and you've got $20.
  • Reconsider how we teach different math topics
    • Adding/subtracting integers with rules "Keep the sign of the bigger one" vs. understanding why with real-world contexts and multiple representations 

Classroom Mantras:

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...