The first day of school is right around the corner and I am getting all anxious to meet my new students. I am hoping to start the year off with my students. I am teaching only Integrated Math 1 this year for six periods.
Some of my plans this year:
I am looking forward to implementing more writing for my students. I am always hearing from them that this is Math and not English so they think that they can get out of writing. Well not gonna happen.
Another thing I want to do is not use pencils in class. I did this last year and it was good. Mistakes are excellent learning opportunities and if we are using pencils that can be erased, then we are missing out on a valuable learning tool (at no additional cost, and what teacher doesn't like free).
I need to sit down and think of some of the other things I need to do for this year. Any suggestions?
We have seen a number of districts roll out one-size-fits-all solutions. It sounds a little like the Oprah show: “You’re getting an iPad, you’re getting an iPad!” But is that the best decision? What are the key factors to consider?
One of the primary considerations is the Smarter Balanced assessments. There are requirements that whatever technology is purchased meets a set of minimum specifications, e.g. 10 inch screen, 1024 x 768 resolution, keyboard, as well as certain operating systems (click here for complete information).
Besides the new assessments, there are other considerations. Cost, of course, is a big one. How much money do you have to make the purchase? What about sustainability? What is the life of the device? Which devices are easiest to manage? All of these are important, but they neglect one of the biggest factors that often gets overlooked: the classroom.
The decision-making process must include how the device will be used in the classroom. The mobility of tablets is great for science classrooms and allows students to do science. What about a class where the primary use will be word processing? Then an iPad or Android tablet may not be the best solution. What about Chromebooks? They work great with Google Drive and web based applications and you can’t beat the price. You can get two Chromebooks for the price of one iPad, and you don’t have to purchase an additional keyboard. But if you need to install software, then you’ll need a different device. Netbooks are another possible solution, but they tend to have slower processors and have a difficult time running large operating systems such as Windows.
The reality is there is no single device solution that will cover all your needs. While a single device type may be easier to manage, you should consider a variety of devices. Talk to teachers who are already using devices in the classroom. Find out what devices they prefer. Pilot a variety of devices with teachers of various skill levels. Survey students to find out what they prefer to use. Weigh the pros and cons of the various devices and how they will be used. There is no perfect solution, and no way to make a good snap decision. Whichever devices you choose will require careful consideration and planning.
Our Class is something different because we approach math differently rather than the traditional way I have always had. This way is much better because we understand a lot better. This type of class environment is most effective because we are free to express our own individual opinion on the subject rather than just telling the teacher what she wants to hear. We do not just memorize our answers and then put it down on a test. Our curriculum is different because we take our time and work at our own pace and we are free to tell the teacher that we need more help on something or if we can show that we know it, we can move on and not have to spend time with all the boring stuff. Sometimes it is very chaotic in class, but that is because we are all given individual assignments based on what we need and what we are interested in. One thing that I have learned in this class is that math is more than just memorizing facts, but it is how numbers relate to each other. If I understand that relationship, then I don't need to remember the formulas because that formula is just a representation for the relationship. If I know the relationship, then I can figure out the answers and this will help me in my other classes and when I graduate.