Thursday, August 11, 2016

Opening Week - Unit 0 (Blog 1 of 3)

I am incredibly crappy at blogging.  I didn't even write a #TMC16 reflection this year.  The pressure to put something out there that has value makes me uneasy, because everything...absolutely everything...I do is a work in progress.  So, I'm thinking maybe I need to stop worrying about the fact that people may read what I write and just use this space to help  me process my ideas.  So that's my goal today.  

I am trying to flesh out how I want to use the first seven days of class.  To recap, I am teaching sixth grade and we are (thankfully)  moving away from tracking the students in class.  As a result, I will have 5 heterogenously grouped classes this year, plus some additional enrichment/support mini-classes which I will tackle at another time.  The general way I break down my class is about two units each quarter:

  • First Nine Weeks:  Integer Concepts (including Coordinate Plane) and Decimal Computations
  • Second Nine Weeks:  Factors, Multiples, Fraction Calculation and Ratios 
  • Third Nine Weeks:  Algebraic Expressions and Algebraic Equations
  • Fourth Nine Weeks:  Geometry and Statistics
But I make it a point to spend a good week or more laying out expectations and setting the tone for my classroom before we get into a lot of new material or start our INBs.  This year, I will have 7 days to work with since I try to work in approximately week intervals throughout our regular material.  I'm trying to figure out how to merge the following three approaches:
  1. What I did last year
  2. Jo Boaler's Week of Inspiration (of which their now appear to be two: here and here)
  3. The Contemplate then Calculate introductory material (here).  
There is some overlap between Boaler's material and the CthenC stuff and likely between the two Jo Boaler's weeks themselves, but I haven't worked out where all of that is.  Here's a quick overview of what I am seeing:

 Jo Boaler Week 1
 Jo Boaler Week 2
Contemplate then Calculate 

  • Day 1 - Math Takes Practice (Journal/Video) and Telescoping Sum
  • Day 2 - Thinking Like Mathematicians (Quiz/Article) and Tilted Square
  • Day 3 - Working Like Mathematicians (Letter to Future Student) and Coin Problem 
  • All of the Growth Mindset Activities are Available Here

There is also probably overlap with some of what I did last year:

  • Day 1 - Introduce Myself Briefly, Marshmallow Challenge, Homework ("What are some ways your team was able to be successful working together?") - NOTE: I think there were other things we did that first day but I don't have that resource accessible at the moment
  • Day 2 - Groups Use Last Night's Homework to Create Group Norms, Student Journal ("Write about a time you have failed"), Failure Commercial, Student Journal Part Two ("How can failure be a good thing?"), Death Crawl Scene Video Clip  
  • Day 3 - Class Procedures/Routines, Get It Together Activity ("Build It!"), Revise Group Norms, Assign 1st Weekly Homework
  • Day 4 - Combine Group Norms Into "Our Class Norms," Which One Doesn't Belong (whole group practice), Which One Doesn't Belong (individual groups create)
  • Day 5 - Dot Talk (two examples), Number Talk (one example), Number Talk in Thinking Journal (organize in classroom)
  • Day 6 - Estimation 180 (Day 1) with Number Line Group Representations (group whiteboards), Gallery Walk, Class Discussion (labeling, precision, clarification in expressing ideas)
  • Day 7 - Set Up Interactive Notebook (foldable for SMPs and Tables of Contents), Complete Foldable for SMPs, Journal about SMP (Which do you think is most important and why?) - NOTE: Reteach class later in the day also completed a Card Sort based on @MathProject's SMP Posters

It might be helpful to clearly state my goals with this "Unit 0" because it is possible that I try to do too many things with it:
  1. Begin with the idea of Growth Mindset as a foundation (mistakes have value!)
  2. Help students to learn what Collaboration looks like in our room
  3. Celebrate the value of Differing Perspectives in mathematics
  4. Set the tone that mathematics and problem solving is FUN
  5. Establish the basics of our Class Routines 
OK...that may be as far as I can go right now.  I at least have all of the thoughts and ideas in one location and hopefully I can pick up later and flesh out how to merge them.  Any thoughts and input would be appreciated.  :)

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