Sunday, July 27, 2014

T Minus 7 days and counting....

It is almost that time again...time of laughter, lesson planning, assessing, and sleep deprivation.  Yes the school year is quickly approaching.  To commemorate this auspicious event my school district held a two day conference of workshops and development meetings.  Here is a list of the workshops I was able to attend.  I am including what I took from each of these courses bulleted below the title....

Thurs 07/24

  • Breakfast
  • Student to Student Interaction Grades 4-8
    • When planning for s-s interaction you need to ask yourself
      • How will the students demonstrate individual accountability?
      • How will the student demonstrate equal participation?
      • How will the student apply content vocabulary?
      • How  will the student justify their ideas?
    • Some strategies which facilitate academic dialogue include...
      • Expert groups
      • Reciprocal teaching
      • Academic conversation cards
  • Critical Thinking for Grades 4-8
    • Discussed the differences between Bloom's Taxonomy of Learning & Depth of Knowledge Levels and what they looked like when writing objectives.
    • Blooms:  What type of thinking (verbs) is needed to complete a task?
    • DOK:  How deeply do you have to understand the content to successfully interact with it?  How complex or abstract is the content?
    • Great Resource:  Hess' Cognitive Rigor Matrix - combines both Blooms & DOK into one chart to help enhance planning to ensure appropriate objectives for the lesson.
  • Lunch
  • Tiered Assignments for Differentiation
    • Tiered instruction should not leave the students wanting to do what another group is doing.
    • All activities/instruction should be based on assessment.
    • Higher level work is not simply more work.
    • Use the would/should/could questions to breakdown what type of lesson fits the content needed to learn (whole group/small group/individual work).
  • Using Model Drawing in Mathematics Grades 5-6
    • I left this workshop more confused than before.  It was presented by Sue Larson, a phenomenal mathematician.  Who at the end let us know she only learned this strategy 2 weeks before she brought it to us, and then highly suggested to Google the topic and watch the plethora of videos available on the subject.  
    • I found a great app through Google called "Ultimath" which shows modeling drawing as well.  Why reinvent the wheel when "there is an app for that" (LOL)  The link for Ultimath is here

Friday 07/25

  • Breakfast
  • Integrated Language Arts Grades 5-6
    • This meeting focused on the utilization of thematic units.  These lessons help reinforce all content areas and are a great tool to communicate what the student knows or should know throughour all content areas.
    • Plan on focusing this idea especially in Science.
  • Mathematical Practices Grades 5-6
    • We need to shift our thinking in Math from "how to do it" ----> why we do it"
    • Was given a Great Resource for help in finding content:
    • Students should explain & share ideas on how to solve the problem.
  • Lunch
  • Digging Deeper with Student to Student Interaction
    • If you want a great attention getter to settle down your class go to YouTube and search Kid Snippets...soooo many funny clips, soooo many laughs.
    • Be cognizant of where you place s-s interaction in the lesson, it should align with the lesson objective.
    • It will depend on how well the student understands the routine or process which help develop the s-s interaction on a higher level.
  • Balanced Math Framework Fluency & Mental Math Grades 5-6
    • Fluency goes beyond memorization - it help apply what you know.
      • Aromaticity
      • Flow / mastery achieved
      • flexible / ownership
      • accuracy
      • help achieve a desired outcome
    • How to help with fluency
      • provide practice
      • expose to different strategies
      • connections to prior knowledge
    • Mental Math & Fluency help student ownership of numbers.

I took quite a bit of information away from this workshop.  Plus a variety of tools, which as soon as I get the electronic versions sent to me I will be sure to share them with you my friends.
This next week will be filled with final classroom setup, meetings, planning, and to end the event before school begins "Meet the Teacher" night on Friday.  I will post pictures of my finished classroom & the materials I am supplying my parents to help our students achieve success this 2014-2015 school year.

I wish everyone the best of luck on their own school year!!!

1 comment :

  1. Hi Melissa! I saw you're just starting out teaching Math and Science in middle school, so I thought I'd venture to suggest my site to you; there are a lot of math and science resources there specifically for middle school kids:

    We have pages on the chemical elements, the parts of a cell, the planets, Newton's Laws, weather, the stars, and so on, all written in easy language for middle school. I hope that's helpful to you! I'd also love to do a guest post for you if that's something you'd be interested in.