Sunday, 29 September 2013

Common Core Math 8: Expoenents and Scientific Noation Resources

Found my recent unit went really well and thought I would share some of my links and ideas. As with most teachers redesigning units and searching for the right resources to adapt their courses for the Common Core can be time consuming, exhausting and frustrating.


The basis of the flow of the unit was based on the sequence I thought back home. But with the deeper understanding and discovery activities emphasised by the Common Core - it went better than I could of expected!

A rough outline (this is not broken into lesson but main ideas throughout the unit):

1. Get students to "discover" the rules. Allow them to see the pattern, discuss, anaylise and come up with a rule before formalising it or showing the rules in the text or other resource
2. Get them using them AND if they get stuck always emphasise to go back to the expanded version.
3. Avoid referring to the Exponent Laws as "laws". I call them "shortcuts" because that's what they are - emphasise the understanding not the process.
2. Summarise the Exponent Laws (Exponent Shortcuts) in different ways - see my previous post.
3. Do exponent laws first before introducing scientific notation. It is a real life application of exponents.
4. Review using the multiplying and dividing patter they have seen before with 10, 100, 1000 etc before using instructional "Learnzillion" videos
consolidate converting scientific notation with round robin activity with Beacon Learning Sheets to
6. Used M.A.R.S Task



Good resources I found:
Engage NY Curriculum Document (147 pages, PDF)
M.A.R.S. Math Task: Estimating Length using Scientific Notation (PDF)
Beacon Learning: Scientific Notation Sheets (PDF)


Thursday, 26 September 2013

Share Out session 25th September 2013


It was out first K-12 Math meeting last night. It was broken up into an introduction and a "share out" session. The introduction outlined goals for the year and set the scene for the future meetings.

The majority of the time was then spent in two halves - 4 share out sessions and then a second share out session run by colleagues of the Lower, Middle and High School. There were topics from technology, from reflections of PD, to instructional strategies.

Mine was titled:  Sharing my teaching experiences provoked from Dan Meyer’s TED talk: Presenting the math problem with minimal structure for maximum problem-solving from inquiry and discovery approaches. 

My first share out session was about a PD course that was run over summer by Stanford University. It was really good as it overlapped with my presentation!

Overall it went well. I didn't have a big audience, but it was good size to have a conversation and not to daunting for me as I need to develop my public speaking and being int he spot light.

I prepared a talk, an accompanying Prezi and a handout. I am trying to have less on my presentations and more visual stimulus. My prezi can be found here but needs the script to accompany it or it wont mean much! A rough script can be found here.


I made a handout of some references that I thought might be useful to the colleagues who attended.


Wednesday, 18 September 2013

Excitement!!! Project Zero


As soon as I heard this was happening I was over the moon!

Project. Zero. In. London.


I am excited to hear the likes of Howard Gardener, Ron Richhart, David Perkins etc. I remember quoting some of them in my education essays back in Uni not to mention the recent PD on visible thinking recently. Some would say rock stars of education.

The focus of the three days are:

Education in the 21st century is shifting in dramatic ways. We know young people are thinking and learning with tools never dreamed of fifty years ago.  How we as educators respond to these changes will have a significant impact on the shaping of minds in this new century.

At Project Zero, we continue to expand our understanding of what thinking and learning look like and under what conditions they flourish.

This latest Project Zero Perspectives conference will feature plenary sessions with renowned writers and thinkers Howard Gardner and David Perkins. Project Zero researchers Veronica Boix Mansilla, Lois Hetland, Carrie James, Ron Ritchhart and Shari Tishman will also give major talks. Interactive courses will be led by researchers and educators who have been putting Project Zero ideas into practice in schools and other learning settings around the world.

Held in collaboration with the Center for the Advancement and Study of International Education (CASIE), this Project Zero conference will highlight the following research strands:
  • Building a Culture of Thinking: How do we help learners develop dispositions that support thoughtful learning across school subjects? Why is it important to make thinking visible?
  • Educating for Global Competence: How do learners demonstrate global competence? How do educators ensure that learners in their charge explore complex issues of global significance through multiple perspectives?
  • Growing Up in the Digital Age: How are the meanings of local and global citizenship shifting in the 21st century? How do young people conceptualize their participation in virtual worlds and the ethical considerations that guide their conduct?
  • Learning in and through the Arts: What can we learn from the practices of teachers in the arts? How do the arts encourage creativity and certain habits of mind that are necessary in all disciplines?

Friday, 13 September 2013

Exponent Summary

I am teaching Math 8 for the first time. We are doing Exponent Laws (or Index Laws for us Aussie and UK readers). I really wanted to emphasize why the rules work. I often refer to them as "shortcuts" as I sometimes feel when I use the word "rule" with students it gives them the impression that its the only way to do the problem. I started by "discovering" the rules and seeing a pattern before formalizing the exponent rule.

The next lesson, I needed to finish off the rules (or "shortcuts") that we didn't get to in our first lesson. It was clear from my warm up from the start of the lesson that things were going a bit awry... oh no!!!

I decided to try something new. Quickly threw together a template to summarize the exponent rules. It contains the textbook rule, examples, the rule in words, and an example using expanded form to show how it always works - even if you forget the rule! Not to mention the deeper understanding of why they WORK!!


I filled one in so I could use to show them the end product. I really wanted them to connect with the math so I also got them to colour code the sheet - the textbook rule in green, examples in red, rule in your own words in blue and expanded form in black - as I never underestimate the power of COLOUR!

I set my board up the same way as it was on their sheet and hid the headings under blank A4 sheets and "reveled" them as we went along. My rationale, was not to overwhelm them and turn them off the task. I modeled the first one for them on the board, but them brainstormed as a group the rest. As we went a long I projected my pre-made one by sections as we went along. I understand it contained a lot of information (hence only section by section) and said "if you think theres anything more you want to add then do so, its your sheet not anyone else's. This is just my example and I am someone who like to write out details."

My example is below (bad news is there is a mistake on it  - good news is my students spotted it!!!!):



I found we really made progress and the students were a lot more independent. It also made a good reference when they were asking me questions "what do I do here Miss?". It was interesting to see what section each student would naturally go to - the rule, the example, the wording or expanded form for clarification.


Sunday, 1 September 2013