Week -3: Not Ready for a First Day Lesson

mtbos-sunfun-logoOMG!!  School starts in 2.5 weeks, so I have NO.IDEA.WHATSOEVER about what I’m doing the first day or week.  I’m still laying out my academic year and new, fun things for my classroom.  So I’ll touch on some ideas I have for the first day/week, but instead I’ll share what I’ve been working on to get me to the first day.  So here are some random things I’ve done this week:

Standards Based Grading Musings

I am still waffling between 10-12 power standards for the year vs. 4-5 standards per unit.  I am almost leaning toward using a Power standard (maybe essential learning?) as the umbrella with gradated/granulated stands in units that support the “bigger idea.”  I’m almost envisioning a key word/phrase that exemplifies the Big Idea standard (ooh, I like that term!) and then connect to related focused standards that help students understand more clearly what is expected.

@lisatimon shared with me some of her #SBG items for Precalculus. I just loved the way she organized her study guides and how they highlight her identified standards for the unit.  I’m not expecting to go full bore into #SBG this year, but want to build into my assessment a way to signal to students where the they demonstrates their level of knowledge/aptitude for an identified standard. Then I also want to include one to two items that require my kiddos to recognize the need for multiple standards in one setting and then expertly leverage them  to complete the question.  After reading some other blogs (Anna Vance at typeamathland.blogspot.com, @druinok at statteacher.blogspot.com, and Jared Derksen at mrmathman.com), I’m also leaning toward offering an opportunity to demonstrate mastery of a leveraging skill on a later assessment.  I have had random questions from earlier topics on an assessment, but not purposefully.  I know I need to do this more thoughtfully.

My course is “honors,” so students often grasp the basic skill relatively quickly but because they are so quick, they miss nuances that I want them to wrestle with.  I find when they need to connect or recognize things in unfamiliar or unexpected situations, they falter. So I also try to incorporate rich tasks, and deeper thinking conceptual experiences…but I’m really struggling with how to quantify for a measurable standard. I see these learnings as developing over a long period of time rather than the couple of days for a new skill.  That will be my next ponder.

I love summer, because I dream about what could be.  Then I get hit smack in the middle of my forehead (with my hand) when reality sets in the second to third week.  But this year, I definitely want to push myself toward using the power of SBG.

AP Stats Summer Work – Missed Assigning

Because I was at the AP grading during the last week of school, I missed the opportunity (actually poor planning during an extremely busy time) to get my summer work set up.  Oh well!  Just means I have to really move through our first chapter on Data Display and Analysis more quickly.  Luckily, the Algebra 2 and Precalculus teachers did a statistics unit last year, so I am hopeful they will readily retrieve the learning – Make It Stick in action?

So I spent time creating a handout to go along with a new site shared on Twitter called Exploring Histograms.  It is the first blush, but I think I want to use it during the first week of AP Statsistics.

Also thinking of using the Kristin Gilbert Activity again.  Have to think it through as the last time I used it, I had mediocre results….probably the way I presented it.

Organizing for Group Work

I had to have some fun time creating and gathering for the school year.  So here are some of the things I did:

  • Group Tubs – got numbers put on them
  • Group Roles and Tags – using Sara Carter at mathequalslove.blog‘s group tags, and yes, the hot gluing took longer than “a couple of minutes.”
  • Group Folders – taking the leap based on blogs by Anna Vance at typeamathland.blogspot.com, @druinok at statteacher.blogspot.com, and Sam Shaw at samjshah.com.  I am taking pieces and advice from each of them. Now I have to think about how to introduce to my students and develop a procedure…really like Sam’s Class Captain idea!  Also decided to put little numbers in the upper left corner so my problem-solvers could find their group folder quickly.
  • Random Group Assignments – I was looking for fun ways to create random groups and came across this lovely blog by Jenn Larson at The Teacher Next Door for some ideas. But the gem was at scholatic.  I like the synomyms and antonyms for pairing. I’m thinking of printing another set of pairings (maybe pictures or mathy things) on two color card stock so I can pair by color and then group as 4.  Also found a poster set of Einstein quotes; I created four of the same color for my groups of 4

I’ve gotta stop!!  Time to get to work actually figuring out my standards for Precalculus and re-writing for AP Stats.

I’m really getting into Make It Stick – yeah, I know I’m late to the party – but the party is still going on.  I plan to blog about this sometime, but I wonder if you have any thoughts about how you’ve introduced and then sustained the principles and strategies developed in Make It Stick.  I would love to learn from you!!


Posted on August 11, 2017, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. Hello! So glad you linked to #sundayfunday. Can’t believe I have never come by before. Now I will add you to my blog roll! Thank you so much for sharing all this goodness. I love how you organize by color. I need organization in my life. Can a veteran of 31 years (um, as you said, time flies!) get organized? I have to admit I rely on the strength of the lessons. The rest will come…So, where do you get the borders for your quotes? I want to use that idea for random seating! My favorite quote is from @cheesemonkeysf: “My learning to swim drowns no one.”


    • Hi Amy. Thanks for your comments!! And welcome to my blog. Being a very long-term veteran in the classroom myself (starting 38 years of teaching) I do believe there is always something to learn, to grow and to share about teaching and learning! The cards you see are actually free posters created by the CrazyScienceLady at https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/FREEBIE-Albert-Einstein-Quotes-Poster-Set-1369343. I reduced them to 1/4 page size and did 4 per page. I know that there are free borders offered often on TPT. I want to create more of these grouping cards with quotes, and then have the new groups share what they think the quote means or how it is relevant to them.


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