Monday, February 29, 2016

Monday, 29 February 2016 LEAP YEAR!

1) I started the day with an online meeting to learn about Think Through Math. That was an  interesting new experience. You won't be able to hear the other side of the conversation, because I was using headphones. Three people were linked at one time. Students who use this program can have 1-1 at any time they need it.

2) Students worked together to problem solve and I heard some good questions and statements as I walked around the room. They were learning to show integer addition and subtraction using a scale.

3) Students enjoyed the human Venn Diagram activity for Weather versus Climate. They articulated some good reasons for their position in class. They also found rainfall data for Oregon.

I also found a great resource for weather videos.

Sunday, February 28, 2016

Special Report: Gold Coast Science Network 2016

The day began with a wonderful keynote address by Quin Etnyre about Making. It is very uplifting to see such motivated young people and I applaud Gold Coast Science Network for inviting Quin to be the morning keynote speaker. 

More information about Quin and his endeavors can be found with the following links.
Twitter: @qtechknow
Facebook: Qtechknow

The first session I attended was about Green Screen Basics. The slide show is at:
I had fun working with my friend Ian as we learned how to make it work.

I also attended workshops about science phenomena, engineering, and robots. 


It was a full day with excellent food, motivated teachers, interesting presentations, and good ideas. 

Friday, February 26, 2016

Friday, 26 February 2016

1) Period 1 Students have almost all completed their percentage problems for the Triple Threat Collaborative Problem Solving Challenge!

2) It was Career Day at RdV today and the presentations were interesting, informative, and well done!

3) Period 4 was the only group who worked on Which One Doesn't Belong today and noticed some interesting things about the right triangles.

Some students did a great job on explaining their thinking on this week's Problem of the Week.

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Thursday, 25 February 2016

1) Students worked very diligently on their Number Devil summaries.

2) I experimented with student-led Number Talks today. It was a lot slower, but hey, they led it!
3) Students seem excited about the Collaborative Percentage Challenge. All three middle schools are working together. Students are writing their own percentage problem for a student at another school to answer.

Wednesday, 24 February 2016

1) I always enjoy hearing what students notice in the Visual Patterns.

2) Most of the CPS students finished their Genius Hour brainstorm.
3) Matt Becker helped out in Period 6 today and students had fun with the Climate/Weather Activity. 

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Tuesday, 23 February 2016

Today's positives started off with me finding out that I met the requirements for PADDLE Level IV!

1) Students gave an explanation of how to balance the equation with a visual representation.

2) Science students were applying equations in their science lesson today. Here a a couple of screen shots of student work online.

3) I made some videos to explain Hands-On Equations to absent students and students moving ahead.

Monday, February 22, 2016

Monday, 22 February 2016

1) CPS students created graphic organizers to compare two typing programs.

2) Period 4 students used Hands-On Equations to understand how equations work in a  more conceptual way. They impressed me with their perseverance.

3) Students are taking more control in class by putting up Words of the Week, reminding classmates of routines, and helping each other without asking me. They are still working on it, but making progress every day! Maybe we will get to try a Silent Day. #LLAP

Saturday, February 20, 2016

Special Report: EdCamp Ventura at De Anza Academy of Technology and the Arts

Arrived a little before 8AM and was Welcomed by @TechieTracie @YiūHungLi @coachchango and @Supes_on.


While adding and waiting for sessions to be developed I schmoozed with: @MrVanEyk1 @MrSorensen805 @mrgbulldogs @rdv_martinez @TechTeachRdV @sandra_legaspi @rio_lindo23
Sadly, I didn't hear the announcement for the Rio Pic.

From 8 to 9 AM I attended the session about Video. There were a ton of ideas about making video, editing video, involving students in making video.
Go to this link and click on the Yellow star to see a Minecraft school tour made by students.
This school in Arlington, VA has ELL students make videos.

This link will take you to notes from the discussion.

Paying attention to twitter paid off!

I started in Room B2 for interactive math, but Math TOSA J.C. @johncbaxter1 had it under control with a great hyperdoc. Since he was presenting what I already know, I went back to B3 to find out how people use classdojo. It doesn't look like Class Dojo will meet any needs in my classroom as I have other tools that do similar things. I set it up with student names though, so it can be used if wanted.

The final session I attended was called Things That Suck. Julie @techmaestra led this exciting session. I enjoyed some of Dr. Babb's reasoning (as it matched mine) on several topics.  Julie shared the link to the powerpoint.
 It is an interactive discussion session with a variety of topics and the group was full of energy! The way it works is: Get at least 30+ people in a room. Explain to them that as each slide comes up they will go to one side of the room if they think something SUCKS and another side of the room if they think it DOESN’T suck and stay in the middle of the room if they are BORING.Spend about 5-7 minutes on each topic depending on engagement. Have someone keep track of the time. Most people who do this DON’T use pictures they just have a boring timer up on their slidedeck. Towards the end of each discussion spend 1-2 minutes talking about how to remove or lessen the SUCK. This last little tweak makes this session more valuable to people who have gone multiple times and is courtesy of @LS_Karl who got it from edcampKC.

Topics and Overall Score
Grades: Mostly Suck, since it focuses on the score versus the learning, however there were some good reasons for giving grades for feedback purposes.
Homework: Overall on the bad side. Some sound bites from all points of the spectrum: Takes away from family time, causes friction, reinforces skills, if students do things incorrectly they don't get immediate feedback, homework doesn't have to be on paper
Flipped Learning: Overall on the good side.
Tests you grade with a scantron: Overall on the bad side.
iPads as your only 1:1 device: Overall on the bad side. Variety is the spice of life.
Cute classrooms: People were all over the place. Distracts students.
Worksheets: Overall negative. However, can be good depending on what is on the paper. When asked about packets, most participants shifted over to the SUCKS side very quickly.
BTSA: Again all over the place. Those who participated in the past felt that it was a waste of time, those participating now say that it is supportive.
School-based Sports: Sample responses- "Sports gave me a reason to go to school." "Saying No to quality programs because of sports is tough."
Gamification: Participants ranged from Sorta Sucks to It's the Best thing in the World. Someone other than me, pointed out that Fitbit is a form of gamification since you get badges based on how far you walk. One person shared that his students made their own games and as a class they rated them and played them. Other people pointed out that not all students/people are motivated by points/badges and may not participate based on that. Most of the people thought that gamification can be a valuable tool if used thoughtfully.
Teacher Rating Sites: Main idea is that the people who rate are usually super pleased or absolutely hate something, so you have to take it with a grain of salt.
Things that SUCK as a THING THAT SUCKS: We discussed the possibility of using it in class. Students learn how to debate. Opinions change based on what is heard. Widens viewpoints. Change the name or use a similar strategy:
  • Choose with your feet
  • Four Corners
  • Would You Rather?
Lunch was served at noon and I had a chance to update the blog and mingle with colleagues from all over Ventura County; public and private school teachers.
As you can tell, it was a busy day from 8AM - 1PM. I learned new things, got ideas to try, had fun connecting with friends and colleagues, and am thankful to EdCampVentura for such a valuable day!

Friday, February 19, 2016

Friday, 19 February 2016

1) My day started on a very high note, with several students helping to dust off the overly dusty places in the room. Room 1 looks remarkably better!

2) My students are learning about data analysis, and are comparing how long a person can stand on one leg with eyes open versus eyes closed. We also decided to compare 1st graders to 6th graders, so we set up a Google Hangout in which to do this. This is the first time I've done a google hangout with students. This was a positive because I finally did it!

3) The best part of my day was having a wonderful student teacher observing today. She didn't hesitate to get involved. Thank you Miss B!

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Thursday, 18 February 2016

1) Student shared with a partner and pointed at the pattern during think-pair-share. I was impressed when students simplified the pattern instead of looking for Step 43 right away. 2) Students enjoyed today's reading. The Number Devil introduced something called Vroom (factorials) and we used to figure out 21 Vroom for our students. 

3) Creative Problem Solvers solved the Daily Set Puzzle in under 3 minutes and made me laugh because they were upset that they didn't get it sooner! They were also the last group for Thursday's Block Schedule lunch so they brainstormed...

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Wednesday, 17 February 2016

1) Today was Number Devil read aloud day. I got distracted by a couple of students, but the majority listened attentively. I project the drawings on the Interactive TV, so students can see them as I read.

2) I put the daily syllabus on the board with many of the day's activities listed. Students worked quietly and efficiently on the assignments as they began. I was nervous, because I wanted them to work together and discuss their learning. Thankfully, they picked up their level of learning a bit later. (I'm learning new things about formatting as I listen to the students working on summarizing in their own blogs.)

3) Students listened attentively while I reviewed how to shorten a URL.

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Tuesday, 16 February 2016

1) Students worked diligently on some very complicated problems on the Math Olympiad. The problems are copyright protected, so I can't share them.

2) It was really hot in the afternoon, but students were focused in Creative Problem Solving. They brainstormed who in modern times would be called upon to fix Humpty Dumpty. They came up with:
Chef, builder, mom, police, doctor, Papier-mâché  artist, and more.

3) MM got to do his science experiment today after leaving early on Friday and missing it.

Special Report: Risk Taking with Student Led Conferences

Several years ago, I was a TOSA at University Charter Middle School (UCMS) at CSU Channel Islands. While there, I taught 6th, 7th, and 8th graders. All conferences were student led conferences. When I returned to Rio School District, I went back to conducting ordinary conferences when they were scheduled. In our middle school, conferences are only conducted when requested by teachers or parents, there are no scheduled conference days.

This year I have tried to implement student led conferences much like the ones from UCMS. This has been fraught with confusion. I use a checklist form and student portfolios as a way to ease the students into the conferences. However, the students have deferred to their parents in most conferences. The majority of students seem confused by this idea and the checklist doesn't seem to help.

I will continue to try student led conferences, but am no longer surprised by the reticence of the students to outline their work, progress, and behavior as they learn.

I found a video that I believe may help with future student led conferences.

Middle School Student-Led Conference from EL Education on Vimeo.

Wish me luck! I'm not giving up yet!

Friday, February 12, 2016

Friday 12 February 2016

Today I gave each student a candy bracelet with a heart. I asked them what questions they could ask, and the list was my #1 positive for the day.

During Science, students worked to improve their blog posts from last week. They also set up a demonstration of the water cycle. The excitement in their discussions was my #2 positive for the day.

My #3 positive part of the day was the work done in Creative Problem Solving. Almost everyone has a blog.

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Thursday, 11 February 2016

1) Students worked on a ratio performance task that allowed for student variability. Students can proceed at their own pace. Virtually everyone was on task.
2) CVal figured out the equation for today's Visual Pattern.

3) Students were busy, busy, busy all day!

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Wednesday, 10 February 2016

Today was a hot block schedule day. Each class is about 1 hour 53 minutes long, not that I'm keeping track.
1) As usual, number talks was one of the highlights of the day.
2) Creative Problem Solving students worked on making blogs or adding posts today. 

3) Science students were able to share their blog posts via a padlet. Thanks Christie Barnes!

Tuesday, 9 February 2016

The 100th day of school meant that first grade teacher, Abbey, wouldn't be joining us at the UCSB Leadership meeting today. However, it was a fruitful day full of good ideas and challenging math. My three positives for the day are:

1) I found two different ways in the task of finding exactly 5 inches on an 8 1/2 x 11 inch sheet of paper only using the paper.

2) I learned about other ways to use in the classroom to enhance learning.
3) The Generate, Sort, Connect, Elaborate Routine was used with technology and was very thought provoking. It was interesting to label the sorts from another group. I need to use this Routine more often with my students. 

Monday, February 8, 2016

Monday, 8 February 2016

It was a very blustery day! According to the weather service, the high will be 84° with an east northeast wind around 25 mph, with gusts as high as 40 mph.

1) Honors students solved a couple of problems asking for Mean Absolute Deviation. I made a video of my way to solve this type of problem. Show Me: Mean Absolute Deviation5wreuTA

2) We had a discussion in science regarding how to critique the work of classmates. Students then worked together to evaluate some student presentations. I was impressed by the comments.

  • On the first bullet point it could be changed by taking out On so it will be 70% of the Earth is covered of oceans.
  • For both slides 4 and 5, can you please explain why these images are examples and non-examples so we can understand why you chose these pictures? Thank you.
  • Good job citing your sources but you should have all of your sources the same size.

3) Creative Problem Solvers worked steadily throughout the warm afternoon. 

Here is the link to a design by LC.

Friday, February 5, 2016

Friday, 5 February 2016

Today was Rally Day! I had less time with students but I'm focused on the donut NOT the hole. I even got some extra steps in while walking around during the rally!

1) Students shared interesting choices for Which One Doesn't Belong?
2) Students started making their blog sites.
3) Several students came in at lunch to write explanations for a math assignment.

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Thursday, 4 February 2016

1) Students worked well together and shared ideas for today's Visual Pattern.
2) Creative Problem Solvers were given a challenge with few directions and only one demonstration. They worked diligently to try to solve the problem. The final product is a heart shaped paper basket. It was interesting to hear the discussions and watch the problem solving in action. There were a lot of smiles in the room, even though I kept hearing the statement, "I did it wrong." They just kept working on it until they figured it out.

They also worked on origami.

3) Students read aloud about Energy. They all participated and did an excellent job sounding out complicated words, like hydrologist.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Global EdCamp Special Report

On Monday, 28 January 2016, I participated in the Global Ed Camp online. It was definitely a challenge. I started at 4:30PM and ended about 8PM. 

It was problematic logging in to some of the events. Links didn't work, presenters didn't show, one presenter tweeted to me that something had come up. However, I didn't give up and found a presentation of something called a break out. A break out is an intriguing activity. I wasn't able to break out during the time I had in the session, but I was able to solve some of the clues. According to BreakOutEDU, all Breakout Edu games teach critical thinking, teamwork, complex problem solving, and can be used in all content areas. 

The one I tried was a google presentation with links in a slide. Participants work together finding the clues and solving them. Each time one is solved you get a letter in the one I tried. Here are some screen shots from that session.