Friday, October 29, 2004

CRAZY day in 7th grade :-) We started out in the cafeteria with a Survivor challenge between homerooms. What fun... the kids rotated through 7 stations with a variety of challenges. They were absolutely awesome. Behavior was extraordinary. Today is the high school football game - first in playoffs, complete with pep assembly. Also, elementary Halloween parade. Since all schools are in same building... we were wired today. I let my math classes make banners for the football game. I knew very little would be accomplished anyway :-( and we have not had a free day all year - so this was a "structured" free day. They could play online math games I chose or make banners. It was about a 50/50 split in each class. The banners are beautiful, hanging in gym for pep assembly, each carefully labeled FROM 7th GRADE :-)

Things have been going well - we just stepped out of our Data Unit to review decimals. The basic skills these kids are missing is just amazing and terrifying. They are great problem solvers, but they cannot add, subtract, order decimals, don't know place value.... so we spent the past week hitting the high points, and for the most part, I'd say it was beneficial. The predicatable ones still cannot round decimals.... or even find the millions place... I really struggle with what to so with some of them... partof itis low skill level for some of them... others attendance.... others simply do not to work... they don't participate in class, even when we are doing something online, interactive - they do not want to make any attempt to DO IT. It is frustrating and saddening... No child left behind... right.....

The interactive mean, mode, median lab online we started yesterday was fun. The kids could really SEE what changing 1 piece of data did to the mean, median, mode... Even I came away with a stronger understanding of the relationship between these 3 measures:-) Monday will they be able to do it on their own??? is time for my 6th graders so I must go...

Sunday, October 17, 2004

We started Come Fly With Me last week. WOW!! I overestimated their ability to simply measure with a 150 cm measuring tape. One minute I am amazed at my students' abilities to comprehend impressive tasks, and then suddenly, I am shocked into the reality of 7th gradedness again. Each group of 4-6 students had at least 3 measuring tapes. I demonstrated briefly in the classroom how to work together to measure accurately and efficiently but still some groups really struggled. It seems such an easy task in my mind, still... But we had fun!! Their airplanes were amazing. I wish we could have also measured the altitude some of them attained!! Absolutely amazing flights.... tomorrow, the "paperwork" part as they find their individual means, groups means, and ultimately class means. Then the reflection component. I am glad this was built into Brenda's plan since that is one thing I am really trying to focus on - the writing in math part. This was the lowest part for my kids on the MEAP last year so I want ot bring those scores up with this group when they are tested next year.

My pesky little 6th grade tech kids - yikes... they are still driving me nuts but they are kind of growing on me I must admit. I let them play online games Friday and they had a blast. I took digital pics and made a quick slide show so they could watch themselves. THey were thrilled. The one little girl who drives me absolutley crazy - when I dismissed them, she came back into the room because she forgot to give me a about a rush of guilt...

Sunday, October 10, 2004

My math grades for the first marking period are done - I always analyze the overal grade distribution. This time 52% of my kids earned A's - what does this mean? I hate grades - I wish we could just teach for the sake of teaching, and kids could jsut learn for the sake of learning. Do I grade too easy? DoI demand mastery so that most students achieve and therefore get A's? I had 3 E's and in all honesty, that bothers me WAY more than half the kids getting A's. Why can't I reach those 3? Will their efforts increase over the course of the year? I have talked to the parents of 2 of them, with little success or satisfaction. The other boy lives with grandma but I can never get anyone to answer their phone - I have sent home letters indicating I need to speak with them, but noone calls back... :-(

Our cereal box project is wrapping up - I have been so impressed with how fast most students picked up on using spreadsheets. They are no where near proficient yet, of course, but they ae becoming independent problem solvers and using Excel to create most awesome work. TOmorrow I will discuss at greater detail their final product, a newspaper article. We will see how they can analyze and make conclusions.

Then onto COME FLY WITH ME :-)

Tuesday, October 05, 2004

This week marks the end of the first marking period. I feel like we have accomplished so much, but have not made a dent in what we need to do this year. With the laptops here, I have adjusted lessons so we are using those every day in math class. I cannot say we are doing anything even closely related the NTeQ lessons yet, but just trying to get kids comfortable enough with the technology that they will be able to do some things on their own. For most, this project were are working on now was the first experience they have had with Excel. I have been so amazed at how quickly they pick up on creating formulas.

This cereal box project, while very skill oriented, is so disjointed I am not sure I will be able to bring it all together to a successful ending. While trying to cover enough different formulas for them to experience, I think I have brought in tooooo much info and overwhelmed them with things to accomplish. But they are doing great - I think maybe I worry too much sometimes.

Next we are doing Brenda Dyck's Come Fly With Me tellecollaborative project. The kids will love that, and so will I. After that?? I am not decided yet. Maybe surveys? I know they will really balk when I make them make circle graphs by hand.