Today was a magical day of learning and camaraderie. I met the fabulous @allison_krasnow 
(Pretend there is a happy, smiling picture of two Ts lucky enough to meet in person after knowing 
each other from our beloved #MTBoS) We finished each other's sentences and "got" each other. We talked 
living in Nor Cal, what makes an elementary school great and what does part two of wherever we are in our 
lives look like.

Then we talked Math Intervention. Allison teaches middle school in urban Berkeley. I teach in Suburban 
Windsor. She teaches 7th grade math intervention, I teach, um, a class of 10th, 11th, and 12th graders. You 
would NOT at all be surprised how much those two classes have in common. Both have management challenges.
Both have students that lack confidence. Both have students with gaps in their math education. Both need more 
practice looking at operations with flexibility. Both have teachers with multiple preps and not enough band 
width to do everything we want to do in our math intervention classes. Both have white teachers, who for
the most part, don't share our students non-whiteness. We both agree that beyond the gaps, 
learning how to be students and advocate for oneself are essential keys to helping these kids believe in 
themselves not only as mathematicians, but as students. 

Being together today made doing a little more seem not so impossible. 

Allison does number talks almost every day. She asks students to keep a notebook. She grades them once per week. She 
Students need to write down a few of the strategies of others. She does this amazing tweak of @saradwerf 's 
Stand And Talks. Instead of holding card stock, she shows a short part of an instructional video, pauses, has the Ss move to talk to a partner about what they learned, heard, wonder, notice, then they get Ss get to sit ON(!) the desk nearest them and watch the second part. Pause video, stand and find a new partner, discuss, sit on desk, repeat. 

We talked about the confidence that comes from playing games. How we both wanted to spend more time playing board games, how we both dread how long it takes to teach the rules and the fear of managing game pieces, how we both have grants with money just for intervention support. I grabbed Maya Madness and Scan, and we played some quick rounds. Out came the phone, pictures snapped. (You are welcome Ebay Sellers). She will try using IXL or Delta Math to occupy 1/2 the class while she teaches game rules, then switch. 

I have done many things in my HS Math Support Class. I am the one with the 28 students from 8 different teachers, teaching 10th, 11th, and 12th graders taking Math 1 and Math 2. I have done Number Talks and Clothesline Math, Close Reading and Vocabulary Sorts, SSR and Activity Logs, and now I am on to the Math Question of the Day. I have a 33% of the student's grade based on a Delta Math Component. 50% of my students are still failing their math classes (not a proud stat for me) as they have D's and F's in at least 3 classes. 

I am in the process of interviewing each one of my students. Asking them how they feel about math, about how they are doing, and how they are being successful. I have access to all their grades so I know where they are being successful. I have interviewed several the teachers. The teachers talk about making the learning exciting (They teach Music and Integrated Science) and relevant. Folks I am trying. I want to learn what they need from an intervention class. Ah, from sharing this with Allison and her wish to be able to do the same, I came up with the idea of a Google Form for their Math teachers. "How can I support you?" And Allison and I decided this would be a good idea to give the question to the students also.

We both talked about the comfort of routines (see this post by @lisa_bej) and how we weren't so consistent about it, but thought it was good idea to be better about it. 

We shared other ideas like using the NY Times What's Going On in This Graph (we both had it bookmarked) and Allison is going to share with me her work with Fraction Strips. 

It was so helpful to know I wasn't alone, that there are amazing and generous and real and SMART folks at the other end of my keyboard and we look forward to the lucky chance to meet up again.

What do you do in your Support Classes that has a positive impact on your students ability to be students?

My College Readiness students did pretty poorly on their review test--topics from Algebra 2 that were supposed to be review. I am not proud to say this. I do believe I play a definitive role in their mediocre showing.  AND I saw them doing the problems in class! They were being so smart!
I was not expecting them to mix up exponents in simplifying radicals, I did not expect them to forget how to rationalize denominators, I did not expect them to refuse to enter

I did not expect them to thoroughly forget what we had practiced.

I just don't think their hearts were into it. I tried not to take it personally.

Here's what I did to try to turn this defeat into a learning opportunity:

I started by telling the students the truth: every single student put something intelligent on their paper. I was really impressed by that. Then I shared my favorite no:

Question 1: What is the same? What is different? Give at least five examples all together: (yes we practiced in class prior to the test!)


Student Responses: (x - 5) in the second one has an exponent and the first one doesn't. 

Next we talked about the nuances of academic vocabulary verses what is written. I used:

What is the same? What is different? Give at least five examples all together:

         terrible                       fabulous

After some low bar characteristics: they both have l's, they both have vowels for the second letter:
the students went deeper: both have 3 syllables, both are adjectives, both have eight letters,  they have different meanings 

I applauded them for using academic vocabulary and asked them what could they say instead for the polynomial function. 

I then showed them a list of possible mistakes: (Thanks Tina Cardone)

Next I handed back the tests and gave them a template for considering their work with all the topics we covered (same list I gave in the review sesh) Thank you Krystal Mills (Lessons From The Middle)
I did a complete test with them.

We looked at each problem and the topic for one student. Next they will look at the type of error they made and correct the problems they missed. I am giving the students an entire week to do the corrections because I want them to have time to access me, the web, and each other. I am hoping they will engage and learn.

I will do an exit survey and let you know if they did! 

How do you turn mistakes into learning opportunities?

As I clean out last year's planner, I thought it would be interesting to see what is in it besides my plans.

These are things I.cannot.throw.out. I need them like security blankets. Really, and I am 55 years old and have taught math for 32 years.

The items that will also go into this years planner book:

  • Health Care Clinics in Sonoma County-- a two page document with EVERY kind of low cost or free mental health and physical health clinics within 50 miles of our campus.

  • 5 Practices For Orchestrating Productive Math Discussions Cheat Sheet--Side 1: Set Goals and Select a Task. Side 2: Anticipating, Monitoring, Selecting, Sequencing, Connecting.

  • CF Icebreaker Questions--150 questions to ask kids as they high five you out the door.

  • Warm-Up Blank--I am always running out of these and needing to copy more.

  • Making Number Talks Matter Grades 4-10--a progression from Cathy Humphreys and Ruth Parker.

  • A Rumi Poem--Out beyond wrong doing and right doing, I will meet you there. 

  • A Quote From A History Teacher's Door--Some getting more rights does not mean you get less, it's not pie.

  • Finding the Words: Leaning the Language of Mathematics--An article by Drawing On Math on increasing equity in math through strong vocabulary. Tina gives us a road map to meet students where they are at, but not leave them there. 

  • Strategies For Students To Move Around--from I have no idea. 

Things that are in there because they gave me comfort, but won't be carried with me next year (but may get filed for handy reference).

  • CPM Lesson Plan Blanks. They are helpful to review. 
  • Lots of Scratch Papter
  • More Scratch Paper
  • A Blank Name Tent. After not seeing the students for two weeks during the fires last October, I re-introduced the name tents. First Question: What strength do you bring during challenging times?
  • An Algebra 2 Test. I picked up it up off the copier. It has 19 short answer questions on one page. It was a reminder to ask College Math Educators how they format tests. I did ask, and it wasn't like that. (This format makes my ADD brain hurt)
  • Sub Plans 
  • Natural Circle Measures--A lovely introduction to radians by The Roots of the Equation
  • Revised Assignment Sheets
  • The Binomial Theorem Jigsaw by This a beauty. I think I will use it early in College Readiness. You know, before the SAT. 
  • Commonalities Among the Practices in Science, Math, and English Language Arts. A venn Diagram. Mostly around arguing from evidence. 
  • 2017-2018 Pacing Guide. Every day of the school year, Fall on one side, Spring on the other.
  • My Book Club Reading List. I read 3 out of 8 btw. 
  • My Favorite Guest Post from Ilana Horn's Daughter.
  • A Swim Workout that I can no longer translate. 
What are the items in your planner that provide you a sense of well being?
Hello Friends!

I have been at a CPM workshop (Math 3) all week. I love geeking out and playing math with my colleagues. I love how we think of teacher moves the best ways we can facilitate student engagement and learning.

The trainer gave us a carousel activity where each group of teachers got a card and, using post-its on the back, we gave one or two possible answers to questions like these: 

I thought this would be an excellent way to have groups re-visit the individual team member roles of Facilitator, Task Manager, Recorder/Reporter, and Resource Manager early in the year. (Has anyone ever had their students "apply" for a role? Maybe this could be a fun way of creating groups if there was an equal distribution of 1st and 2nd job choices) 

So I started thinking about a carousel/post-it activity for the students that I would use after 3-4 classes of using and defining the roles:

One team member has gone ahead of the others.
The______________ could ask_________________.

What other questions would you like to see the students think about? 

If you use groups of 4 and have team roles that you find effective, what are they? 

Hello from Washington, D.C. Not my usual hood, but my daughter lives here and I get to visit this amazing city.

My head is swirling with history and observations from 5 weeks of traveling in Eastern Europe and then back to visit family in NY and DC before heading home to California. On this trip the hubs and I asked each other' "Why do you travel?" My response after a gigantic pause:

To Understand Time.
To Be an Ambassador of Peace and Mend Cultural Misunderstandings.
To Get Out Of My Comfort Zone.
Understand History from Place and Culture. 
Finding Beauty EVERYWHERE.

I have an earlier post < > where I contemplate my judgment of what teachers ought to bring to their students. I used to be in a state of dismay, that so many of the teachers at my large high school grew up in the same place they taught. I used to think this was unfair to the students. Our community can be fairly provincial. For example, we are 65 miles north of San Francisco and many of our students have never been to the city. Even though we are 40 minutes from the beach, some have spent very little time there. (Our students have a wide variety of experience, from traveling to Mexico each year, to a few who have been to Europe and Washington DC, to those will go as far as the lake for the summer)

Many of our teachers went to the local Junior College and Cal State Campus. Very few are from UC’s (Including myself) or from prestigious universities. I used to think our students deserved teachers who were worldlier, more academically, “high brow.”

Then I had an epiphany, that the local teachers spoke the student’s language. They show the students what IS possible. They possibly do a better job of meeting them where they are at. Maybe I was the one that made them uncomfortable, always challenging the status quo.

Some teachers relate to their students by reading YA fiction, some play country (cough) music all.the.time., some are into super 
heroes, some are into shoes and fashion, and some are so cool, they surf before school.
I am not at all hip.

I travel.

Here are some photos to go along with the reasons:

To Understand Time:

400 BCE Wailing Wall Jerusalem, Israel

To Be an Ambassador of Peace and Mend Cultural Misunderstandings:

Muslim Ladies taking their Children to the Beach, Hertzalia, Israel

Ifran, a Muslim, gave us an all day tour of Jewish Sarajevo.

Understand History from Place and Culture:

Those are shrapnel holes outside our amazing apartment in Sarajevo received during the 1992-1995 war. (up to 350 + average missiles on civilian targets daily for over 1400 days)

Finding Beauty:

 Left: Old Jaffa port manhole cover, Tel Aviv.

Below: Love is Love.

To Get Out Of My Comfort Zone:

Konjic, Bosnia. River Rafting on the Neretva River. Jump from 6 meters. (Love mostly because it turns our notion of “Bosnia” on its head) 

What did you believe that you no longer believe about what makes a teacher effective?

What hobbies and/or interests give you “creds” with your students?