Tuesday, November 30, 2004

We have really been using the laptops lately in math class. We are in Variables and Patterns in CMP and my kids can whip off a spreadsheet and graph in such an amazingly short time. I feel we are spending more time analyzing the graphs, getting deeper in their understanding of the why's and what's than ever before.

Of course, there are always a few who totally baffle me as to how to MOTIVATE them to do anything.... but overall the participation of this group is amazing.

Where will we head next in math.... I am really struggling with the Grade Level Content Expectations and making progress through them and still incorporating the computer component. I feel what we are doing, we are doing extraordinarily well, but we will NEVER get to it all this year. My pacing is so off.... I am struggling with finding ways to use the computers meaningfully as we get into other units. I want them to be used, daily if possible...

EXCITEMENT ABOUNDS... We are making plans to attend our first hockey game - I will send home permission slips tomorrow with 7th graders. They are SOOO excited. We can only take the first 40 so I think we will get enough without a problem.

Tech kids here soon... the second group is so much EASIERto deal with than the first was :-) thank you LORD!!!

Wednesday, November 17, 2004

Math... for 7th graders... ah... the joy of laptops :-) My kids are getting so great at using Excel to make graphs and they are INTERPRETING them well also. I could not be more pleased with their progress, except for those few students who simply will not work... I am at the end of my ropes with several. They fiddle around, waste time... won't work without me right there... and the worst part of that is they do seem to be ABLE to do the work, they understand what is going on, but they just will not/cannot work independently....the same old struggle, every year... just new faces behind the problem...

the following is from a TLN conversation:

Helping Students Keep Pace with a Changing World
Bill posed this question to TLN members:
Have you ever thought about the idea that 'the world is changing -- schools are not?' What are some things that we could do right now to bring schools up to pace with the changing world?
For Cossondra, a math and technology teacher, the answer is "teaching students creative problem-solving."
* * * * *
My big thing for changing schools to keep up the pace with the changing world: TECHNOLOGY -- using computers to teach curriculum through inquiry. Too often we give our students assignments with one right answer, one possible solution, and expect/demand they all produce the same end result.
If you worked for an advertising agency, and all groups produced the same proposal, how impressed would your client be?
If you are an architect, and all your building designs look exactly like everyone else's, how long will you be successful?
Employers want employees who can work and think independently and creatively to solve problems, create solutions, make good decisions. Yet today’s education system (read "state/standardized testing") pushes us to produce cookie cutter duplicates, all standing straight in a row, with the same pasted-on smile, all facing the same direction, all saying the exact same answer in the same exact monotone voice, filling in the same circle with the same pencil at the same pace.
We need to break that mold and teach our students to think for themselves -- to be creative, productive, responsible contributing members of a larger society. We need to be able to be flexible in our curriculum and our pedagogy. We need to teach kids to do things that cannot be measured on a standardized test.
Is this our fault as teachers/educators?? Not necessarily -- we are often bound by higher powers which we have little or no control over. But we need to make our voices heard.