Wednesday, August 14, 2013

The Final Preparations

So, today was our first day back of CE.  Or, as I like to call it, pass notes with my collaborative teachers all day fine tuning our plans for the year.  The professional development sessions themselves were relatively week.  We had a sales pitch for TechSteps, a review of risk factors for AIDS and Suicide, and then an incredible training session for Engrade since we are switching to it this year.  The Engrade stuff blew me away.  I think I'm going to like it so much more than GradeQuick, which was awful.

I also got bombarded with even more tedious beginning of the year Special Education stuff...which is poor timing as I'm trying to work with my partners to plan for my year.  Here is where things stand on the three preps I have this year:

Math 2 - This will be the first time this course is taught at our school.  The state seems to be using something very similar to the Appendix recommendations for course sequencing for Integrated Math.  We've been traditional for years so this is a new approach.  There are two general education teachers teaching this class this year.  One of them is my partner.  I was able to work extensively with the other at at training last week. We developed a very detailed scope/sequence for the year, with week by week objectives (although we realize that we will need to be flexible).  We will be working through the following units:

  • Real Number System
  • Quadratic Functions and Modeling
  • Expressions and Equations
  • Similarity, Proof, and Right Triangle Trigonometry
  • Circles
  • Probability
We decided to save probability until the end because they won't be tested on it this year, and it isn't as large of a prerequisite for their Math 3 course.  My actual teaching partner for this class and I were able to discuss a bit today about how to conduct the opening weeks of the year.  He wants to spend two weeks "reviewing" concepts from Math 1 by embedding them in an introduction to the TI N-Spires and Navigator system.

Conceptual Math - This was the course I spent the most time working on today.  We decided to organize it into eight units, based upon the standards for the class.  This is a course that WV offers between Geometry and Algebra 2 for those who aren't ready to move on to Algebra 2.  For some students, it represents their fourth and final math.  It is a course that is being phased out as we implement the CCSS fully next year.  So, this will be the last year teaching it.  Our unit sequence will go like this:

  • Math and Finances
  • Math in Art, Architecture, and Nature
  • Similar Triangles, Pythagorean Theorem, and Right Triangle Trigonometry
  • Perimeter, Area, Surface Area, and Volume
  • Probability
  • The History of Math
  • Data Collection and Analysis
  • Functions:  Linear, Exponential and Quadratic
We also decided that we are going to open class each day with Estimation 180 to help strengthen their estimation skills.

Independent Study - This is the class I was most upset by when I was originally given my schedule.  Of course, my original schedule had me teaching it four times a day with no math classes.  Yikes.  Thank God that was revised (sometimes temper tantrums the most professional way of course).  Anyway...I'm a little bit excited about the class.  I've been working on my Classroom Management Plan (which is what our school calls a syllabus-type of document).  The students are going to have to submit weekly reports from their Engrade showing that they are completing work and keeping their grades up.  If not, I will provide the necessary support for them.  In addition, each student is going to pick one independent research/study project every nine weeks.  I'm requiring them to submit a proposal, design their own grading rubric, a four-week status report, and a final "proof of learning" culminating project.  I have no idea how it will go, but I'm a little excited for the chance to experiment.  I was almost disappointed to get my class list and see that I only have two students in each section.  Seems like a colossal waste of man power given that three other teachers will be similarly scheduled each period.

Anyway...that's just my State of the Nation speech.  I'm excited.  And trying not to let the envelope full of Sped nonsense that came in the mail today discourage me.  Much to do on that front as well.  I've already developed the agendas for monthly PLC meetings with my department for the entire year.  I'm hoping I can get my department on board and start moving it in a different direction - one that empowers rather than enables students.  We shall see...

It's going to be a good year.

1 comment:

  1. Nice plan. Good luck with your new year. I'm actually most interested in your conceptual math class. Please keep us updated on that because it looks very intriguing. Anyway, best of luck!

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