Math Professional Learning Community (PLC)

A math Professional Learning Community (PLC) is made-up of course team members that are teaching the same subject of math.  For example, course teams members who are all teaching Algebra I or all teaching Pre-Calculus.  In small schools, the course team may consist of one PLC team/group of teacher teaching the math level of math such as college prep class or gifted classes. Either way the course teams are designed the purpose of the PLC team does not change. My experience of being team leads of several different math course teams and also being just a member of course teams has taught me the following: 1. Set a pacing calendar that all team members have input on the design. This may take several days or a week to fully design because of the varying input from all team members. I suggest to Not move forward until EVERYONE is on-board and agrees to the structure of the content pacing. 2. Set group norms.  What are the expectations at the meetings and between meetings?  3.  Assign duties/

NCTM 2015

NCTM 2015 Conference, Nashville  Come to my presentation at 11:30 Ballroom AB 

Grades represent what...

The concern with communicating grades to parents is the idea of what is represented by a numerical grade.  I have had many great conversations with school leaders about “the truth in grading.”  Robert Marzano mentions the concerns with our current grading process in  The Mandate to Change Classroom Grading  which was adapted from Transforming Classroom Grading, Robert J. Marzano, ASCD 2000.   “…grades are so imprecise that they are almost meaningless.  This straightforward but depressing fact is usually painfully obvious when one examines the research and practice regarding grades with a critical eye.”  “Today’s system of classroom grading is at least 100 years old and has little or no research to support its continuation.  At least three inherent problems make that system highly ineffective: (1) it allows, and even encourages, individual teachers to include, at their own discretion, different non achievement factors in the assignment of grades:(2) it allows individual teachers to diff

Climate of Risk: Allowing for Failure

Imagine a picture of someone that has failed at something.  Did the person you just imagine give up, stops trying, or walks away not to ever return to the activity or job?  Probably not!   The person works to improve his or her weakness and focuses on his strengths to keep pursuing the dream or goal set forth.   Because i f we don’t fail, then we cannot succeed.      Teachers should produce lessons that will challenge students to be successful through the process of problem solving and learning.  T eachers should teach students that failure will happen along the way, but don’t give up.   Students will be able find a possible solution or answer.   Yes, teachers we can teach our student in this way. To teach students through failure is to remove the obstacle that there is only one way to solve a problem.   Allowing for failure will promote students to derive their own path to solution and answers.   Giving students ownership to their own learning.   It empowers the student to wan

Sucess in Math

Based on a true story of mine: When I was in college I asked my math professor who taught previously at Duke University before teaching at the small Georgia College I attended, " What is the difference between a the students at Duke and the students here at this college ?"  If you would, take a moment before reading ahead to think to your self what the difference is a small Georgia college and Duke University would be.  ... Okay, now back to the story. As I waited for his reply to my question, my mind started racing with possible answers such as the students had higher SAT scores, better study habits, are good at school, had really smart parents, and so on.  But these are not even close to his answers because it was simple.  First he said the student read the math section before coming to class (just read the section, they did not solve the problems).  And second he said that they students would re-write their notes after class.   How difficult would this really

Lesson Content & Rigor: Is it Grade Appropriate

Lesson Content & Rigor:  Is it Grade Appropriate As I watched my almost two year old daughter singing along to Barney and Friends (video is below), I realized that I could use this song in my high school math class.  What?!  Wait, did I just say that I could use a video that my daughter is watching in a classroom with kids that are about eight times her ages.  Students are being taught many lessons they already know because as educators we "think" that they don't know the material.  At time this is true, but shouldn't we as educators want to challenge our students to keep up with the correct grade level content and rigor?   Yes, we should. So, then why are we teaching students to name shapes in a high school geometry class?  Barny and Friends are currently teaching this to my daughter thirteen years before she will be asked in high school to regurgitate this information. Educators can fix the process of re-teaching already learned material by expecting

Problem Solving

Problem Solving So today I went to the grocery store with my almost 2 year old daughter.  We went down an isle that contained kid toy s to get to the back of the store.  And I am sure I am like many other parent to travel down the one isle in the store with a kid.  As we passed by the balls, my daughter starts saying, "ball, ball, ball."  So I reached into the ball pen to let her choose a purple or pink ball to take home.  She was very happy, smiled throughout the store and played with it for hours that day. I am glad I bought the ball for my daughter today because it made her happy, so it made he happy for her.    In this short story, I wanted to suggest the idea of how I could have avoid buying the ball (had I needed to or wanted to not buy it).  I could have read the sign above the isle to see that it was the toy isle. I could have looked down the isle instead of laughing with my daughter.  I could have done many different things in reflection to have avoided the toy