Sunday, January 6, 2013

Dianne McCune and Common Core State Standards

Whooo Hoooo! I got an exciting call tonight from an old friend. Dr. Dianne McCune who was formerly here in Louisiana with the Rapides Foundation Grant teaching writeing strategies across the curriculum. She is one of those teachers that never stops! Here is a little information about Dianne. Dr. McCune has been presented at state, national and world conferences. The recent presidential directive, No Child Left Behind has focused the spotlight on her results-oriented strategies. As an author of several teacher resource books and a comprehensive literacy video program, she brings her inquiry-based teaching approach to schools and educators, transforming children worldwide. Dr. McCune spent over thirty-five years in the public school system teaching a span of grades from pre-school, gifted and talented to special education. She established her reputation in the field of gifted education K-12, where she developed her own interdisciplinary process based on a hybrid of The Bloom Taxonomy of Educational Objectives and The Scientific Method. Her “multi-sensory” approach, reminiscent of the Socratic format of learning through direct experience, is designed to meet the needs of diverse student populations. This approach produced two world champion Olympics of the Mind teams (known today as Odyssey of the Mind). As an international literacy consultant, Dr. McCune has benefited from evaluating other successful teaching approaches used around the world. She continues to teach university courses as well as a variety of literacy workshops as an adjunct professor with Ohio University, and has taught at Ashland University and the University of Rio Grande in Ohio. She has been honored with numerous awards including, The Gifted Teacher of the Year Award, Ohio, and was inducted into the Ohio University Hall of Fame in 1996. She is a firm believer in using the latest technologies to address the educational challenges presented by the new millennium. Dr. McCune was a featured presenter at the COTA State Conference in Columbus, Ohio 2008 as well as the National Reading Recovery Conference in 2009 and 2010. As well as the JASCD World Conference in Toyoka, Japan in 2012. Dianne shared her newest endeavor with me tonight and continues to amaze me with her talents. Be sure to check out her new site. I can't wait to become a member because she is addressing all curriculum areas. I visited her site tonight and love what I have seen: Here is what her Home Page looks like: I love her information on Metacognition: Check out her site, you won't be sorry!

Friday, November 30, 2012

Subtracting by Counting UP!

I find it amusing that even though we are already into our 64th day of school some of my student don't know what to do with the signs +, -. Well actually they do know what to do with those signs but the indecision on which one to use is complex in some of their minds. I began using the Subtracting by Counting Up strategy. This is an amazingly powerful way to subtract. Van de Walle in his book "Teaching Student Centered Mathematics" explains it as students working on the think addition strategy for their basic facts can also be solving problems with larger numbers. The concept is the same. It is important to use join with change unknown problems or missing-part problems to encourage the counting-up strategy he explained. I have noticed that although we have done many 2.OA.1 word problems that when I use the terminalogy "how many fewer did Jack have than Bob" or when I use a problem like Korryn has 9 dolls and Kate has 3 more dolls than Korryn. How many dolls does Kate have? My students come up with some amazing ways to solve this word problem. Many got it right on target but many were more than a little confused. I have begun to use the subtracting by counting up strategy and I hope on next weeks summative assessment I will see more students "get it". Does anyone else have this sort of problem when adding words or creating a word problem. They can actually add 9 + 3 = 12 but it seems with the CCSS terminology they get confused. I have been adding one to three of these each week and hopefully next week I won't have to omit it. YIKES!

Monday, November 26, 2012

How to Assess in a Problem-Based Classroom

One of the things I have learned as we have begun our journey with CCSS is that assessment can and does happen every day.  It is an integral part of my instruction.  I have gained knowledge through my readings of Van de Walls' book Teaching Student-Centered Mathematics, I realized that in the past I  missed the point.  Now I see how assessment has allowed me to help my students grow and how these assessments have informed and driven my instruction.

Previously,  I used assessment in test form and now I use a task or problem which allows my students to demonstrate what they know. Since my classroom has become more problem-based I no longer focus on assessments that require recall, skill, or closed response items that send a message to my students that getting answers is valued. Now I am focused upon engaging discussions and proudly watch as my students problem solve in teams.  I realize that even lower-ability level students should be encouraged to use the best ideas they have to work on a problem, even if their way is not the same skill or strategy everyone else in the room is using.

Ticket Out the Door has been a useful tool that has allowed me to see what student are thinking and how their errors were made.  I am more capable of assisting them in learning and not controlling their learning.  I love the TOD because it gives me a snapshot of what each child is capable of, the diversity among students or groups has guided my instruction.  I am enjoying the new things I am learning this year in math.  So keep an open mind, be willing to bend in the winds of change, and enjoy your students as they work to solve real world problems.  They are seeing the revelance of math in their universe.  They seem excited and engaged this year.  I can see the change that has taken place within my classroom and I like what I see.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

The Common Core Expectations

What a wonderful resource for teachers! These little books put out by McGraw Hill "The Common Core, Clarifying Expectations for Teachers & Students."  Align, Assess, Achieve, LLC or is the place to go to when purchasing this handy little resource. 

Our principle purchased one of these for each teacher that did the planning in that subject. One of us plans ELA first grade, one ELA second grade, one Math first, and one Math second. I must say that honestly this book is the best resource I have in planning.  They provide the cluster, standard, suggested Mathematical Practices, Enduring Understandings, Essential Questions, Suggested Learning Targets, and vocabulary.  Along the very bottom right of the page is the 2.MD.7 standard listed, on the page it is clarified and described.  These books are a must have in my humble opinion.

Please excuse my blog's appearance.  It is under construction and within a week or so it will be looking spiffy.  Check out these essential books if you are entering CCSS.  I absolutley love mine.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

So much to think about and so much to consider when planning a lesson. This is a very interesting read.  Just sharing thoughts and comments that are not my own.

Thinking Through a Lesson Protocol

By Margaret Schwan Smith, Victoria Bill, & Elizabeth K. Hughes

The main purpose of the Thinking Through a Lesson protocol is to prompt you in thinking deeply about a specific lesson that you will be teaching. The goal here is to move beyond the structural components associated with lesson planning (e.g., listing the materials you will need, describing the way students will be grouped, determining teacher actions during the lesson) to a deeper consideration of how you are going to advance students’ mathematical understanding during the lesson. This is not to say that structural components of a lesson are not important, but rather that a focus on structural components alone is not sufficient to ensure that students learn mathematics.

Selecting and Setting up a Mathematical Task
  • What are your goals for the lesson? What mathematical content and processes do you hope students will learn from their work on this task?
  • In what ways does the task build on students’ previous knowledge? What definitions, concepts, or ideas do students need to know in order to begin to work on the task?
  • What are all the ways the task can be solved?
    • Which of these methods do you think your students will use?
    • What misconceptions might students have?
    • What errors might students make?
  • How will you ensure that students remain engaged in the task?
    • What will you do if a student does not know how to begin to solve the task?
    • What will you do if a student finishes the task almost immediately and becomes bored or disruptive?
    • What will you do if students focus on non-mathematical aspects of the activity (e.g., spend most of their time making a beautiful poster of their work)?
  • What are your expectations for students as they work on and complete this task?
    • What resources or tools will students have to use in their work?
    • How will the students work -- independently, in small groups, or in pairs -- to explore this task? How long will they work individually or in small groups/pairs? Will students be partnered in a specific way? If so, in what way?
    • How will students record and report their work?
  • How will you introduce students to the activity so as not to reduce the demands of the task? What will you hear that lets you know students understand the task?
Supporting Students’ Exploration of the Task
  • As students are working independently or in small groups:
    • What questions will you ask to focus their thinking?
    • What will you see or hear that lets you know how students are thinking about the mathematical ideas?
    • What questions will you ask to assess students’ understanding of key mathematical ideas, problem-solving strategies, or the representations?
    • What questions will you ask to advance students’ understanding of the mathematical ideas?
    • What questions will you ask to encourage students to share their thinking with others or to assess their understanding of their peer’s ideas?

Sharing and Discussing the Task

  • Which solution paths do you want to have shared during the class discussion in order to accomplish the goals for the lesson?
    • Which will be shared first, second, etc.? Why?
    • In what ways will the order of the solution paths help students make connections between the strategies and mathematical ideas?
  • What will you see or hear that lets you know that students in the class understand the mathematical ideas or problem-solving strategies that are being shared?
  • How will you orchestrate the class discussion so that students:
    • make sense of the mathematical ideas being shared?
    • expand on, debate, and question the solutions being shared?
    • make connections between their solution strategy and the one shared?
    • look for patterns and form generalizations?
  • What extensions to the task will you pose that will help students look for patterns, make connections or form a generalization?

Smith, M.S., Bill, V., & Hughes, E.K. (2008). Thinking through a lesson: Successfully implementing high-level tasks. Mathematics Teaching in the Middle School, 14(3), 132-138.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Where Am I Taking My Students? How Will I Get Them There?

Oh my!  We learned so much today about planning our lessons and how useful it is to think about the larger, lasting instructional concepts as Enduring Understanding or the lasting understanding that exceeds the curriculum content.  I realize that Enduring Understanding is the ultimate goal of my instructional planning which my students will develop through meaningful engagement based on the carefully planned Essential Questions I will formulate.  These questions help my students dig deeper and make connections between content and concepts they are learning. I must focus on designing questions that spark inquiry that invokes a deeper connection for students between concepts and connections they are learning on a daily basis. 

I learned that there are four types of learning targets which are based on what I ask my students to do: Knowledge (K), Reasoning (R), Skill (S) and Product (P). These were adapted from Stiggins et al. Classroom Assessment for Student Learning.   I recognized that based on what I ask my students to do I must ask, "What is the goal of instruction?"  Once I have answered that question, I select a learning target or targets that will align with my instructional goal.

Instructional Goal                       Types of Learning Targets                            Key Verbs
Recall basic information            Knowledge (K)                                             Name, identify, describe
and facts

Think and develop an                 Reasoning/Understanding,  (R)                     Explain, compare and
understanding                                                                                                  contrast, predict
Apply knowledge and                Skill (S)                                                         Use, solve, calculate

Synthesize to create                    Product (P)                                                     Create, write, present
original work

So much to learn and so little time to learn it.  I am thankful that there are only four critical areas
in second grade math.  I have a lot more to learn especially when it comes to Quad D Moments.
Well I will save my study on that for another day. 

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Talking Points training your student to talk in Cooperative Learning Groups

Are you having difficulty training young learners to speak appropriately to each other during cooperative learning?  Do you have a source of questions to train them to use during whole group or small group discussions?  Have you looked at the Teacher Evaluation Rubric in your state to see what you will be scored upon?