Delta Math Homework

I’ve gone back and forth about how I should do homework. I don’t really fully completely think that homework should be given. I’ve done a few years without giving regular homework and I don’t think my learners’ understanding was any lower than when I did give regular homework. But then also I teach mostly freshmen and the biggest complaint I hear from both previous learners and their new teachers is that they are not ready for the homework load. I’m not at a place right now to try to change those teachers’ minds about homework, so I had to shift my thinking. If I’m going to truly prepare my freshmen for the years ahead, I need to prepare them to work outside of class.

Enter: Delta Math. I’ve been using Delta Math (DM) this year with both of my classes, but more consistently with Algebra I because it has more topics for that than Geometry. So I have one DM assignment going per unit. They typically have a few weeks to complete each assignment, and I have a bunch of topics in them. Our first unit after our two-week October break didn’t have a DM assignment, so that’s why you see such a big date gap right now.

Screen Shot 2019-11-10 at 8.17.03 PMScreen Shot 2019-11-10 at 8.18.46 PM

I’ve learned from my tries at DM last year to keep the number of problems required low. You want to do more with your learners, but for me, 1-3 is usually enough to show they know the topic but doesn’t burn them out on it. If it’s something where there are multiple levels of difficulty, I’ll maybe have 1 easy, 2 medium, and 1 harder problem. I also allow them to have multiple attempts (2-3 depending on the type of problem) and do include a penalty (0.25-0.5 off) for incorrect answers. I went back and forth on the penalty thing, but after seeing them do their first assignment and how they just wanted to click submit after barely doing any thinking on a problem, the penalty decision was confirmed. It slows them down. Even though they get multiple attempts, they really think about it more when they know that they can’t get more wrong or else they’ll have to do it more.

Screen Shot 2019-11-10 at 8.21.06 PM

I also have a due date schedule because after they get out of the Freshman Academy, most teachers do not allow late work at all. However, they are coming from their junior highs where they were able to retake and resubmit everything until the end of the year. So this transitions them a bit easier. I do forgive lateness for certain circumstances, like chronic absences and 504/IEP directives.

Screen Shot 2019-11-10 at 8.25.16 PM

Not all of my learners have access to the internet at home, but that hasn’t been much of an issue. I always give at least a few days’ worth of class time to complete DM and also, I make a paper copy by screenshotting double the amount of required problems for each section. I have only had to actually print that for a few learners at the beginning of the year who didn’t know to use their time more wisely.

These are worth 10 points each in the grade book and I give them their percentage out of 10. So if they did 85% they would get an 8.5 in the grade book. I use the Problem Logs in the Student Data dropdown frequently to see if I should update someone’s score on an old assignment, but also remind learners frequently that they need to tell me when they have updated an assignment. I also post this as an assignment on Google Classroom, so sometimes their way of telling me is to just resubmit the assignment so I get a notification.

Screen Shot 2019-11-10 at 8.39.41 PM

Overall, I really like using DM for homework. At first, I did get some push back because it wasn’t what they were used to and they got a lot wrong at first because they didn’t know how to structure their answers. For example, they didn’t know on the solving equations ones that you just needed the number and not x= with it. So I learned then to demo how to answer each question where it wasn’t obvious. It’s made my learners much better at attending to precision, too. And, sure, there are some that still get 0’s on their DM just like you’d get some that got 0’s on a paper assignment. And some guardians do not get why they’re not seeing a textbook out to do the homework. But then when I talk to their guardian about how they can do this anywhere they have access to the internet, including on their phone, they get on my side pretty quick.

My learners have really come around to it, too. At first, there was some anxiety around it. Like “If I press Submit and I get it wrong then I’ll have to do more!!!” But now it’s more like “Ok I worked through it and then I got it wrong the first time and then looked at how DM got the right answer and saw my mistake and now I got it right!” Well, I’m sure they think that, at least. But they look forward to DM days and feel like it’s helping them learn, and I agree. I can even say – hey you only did 1/3 problems over this on DM and then you got the question wrong on your quiz, soooo what are we going to do for the next quiz?

Another thing I added this quarter on our first DM assignment two topics at the end that are review from first quarter. I should have done that from the beginning. I need to do more spiraling in general. But even the learners expressed that it was nice to go back to that to try to keep it fresh.

I want to express a big THANK YOU to Zach Korzyk @MrDeltaMath who makes this amazing resource!

Image result for thank you gif

What do you do for your homework/Delta Math to make it good for your learners?

J’aime que mes étudiants voient leur connaissance avec Delta Math.

Rigid Transformation Unit and Superhero Transformation Project

I’ll admit, I was really nervous about teaching Transformations in Honors Geometry. It was a topic I didn’t remember learning myself and I had never taught it before. I luckily had the #MTBoS and especially Michele Torres (@Teachmathtorr).

Lots of people suggested using things like patty paper and Miras to help learn the different transformations. Unfortunately, I do not have access to those and I’m trying to not buy a lot of things this year for my room, so I hope to one day be able to use those. Instead, I did a lot more Desmos than I ever thought I would! If you haven’t seen her Geometry Desmos Activity document yet, be prepared to blow your mind here: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1m82reYFkQZtjnptTWo0_G0k6Kmbc7jjo-OFjT3l0wMY/edit?usp=drive_open&ouid=104053001916447058622

I also loved the advice to focus on points transforming instead of the entire shape – it really helped my students who were having trouble visualizing the transformations.

We started with a Polygraph. I’ve noticed that in an honors class, I don’t get too many that get it wrong when they’re trying to find the graph. Instead, they just use a ton of questions. I challenged them to try to use the least amount of questions.

We also started off with some Des-Patterns.

Screen Shot 2019-10-09 at 9.57.30 AM

After learning all the transformations, I think my learners would agree that this Multiple Transformations Check Desmos activity made the biggest impact. I had them work in pairs and had them do the worksheet first and then check with Desmos. This was really a turning point for the class. A lot that thought they didn’t know were able to confirm that they really did, and it was also much more apparent to them if a transformation was off than when they did it on paper. My struggle sometimes with having students check in Desmos is that when I try to project the summary, the names have to get so small as I zoom out so I can fit everyone. Sometimes I forget that working in pairs not only helps them learn and have awesome math conversations but also just makes them have fewer names to look for.

I somehow ended up with three free days before Fall Break and they had already taken a quiz over transformations. I wasn’t ready to start a new unit (congruent triangles) right before a two-week break. I had remembered Mandi Tolen’s Global Math Department Presentation and thought to look for anything she shared. She did not let me down.

I modified her assignment a bit. Here’s what I did:

Screen Shot 2019-10-09 at 10.13.05 AM

This was a blast for the learners to work on and for me to grade. My biggest advice is to encourage them to make a plan for their story first. A lot of them spent the entire first day just making their superhero and other images. Even though that really brings the project to a higher level, it also made them have to work on it outside of class and that was never my intention. Also, I learned that demonstrating some of the shape and arrange and grouping tools to the whole class at once isn’t good enough. Instead, make an expert at each group and have them be the ones to ask after that. Also, next year I would like to add a peer review component. I hope that will save some of the ones that decided to wait until the last minute or not do it at all. Any advice on what to do when you’re giving 3 days and nothing is getting done by one or two students? I don’t want to be too hover-y, but I also had my smiles turn to frowns a few times when I had to give a couple learners 3/35…

This twitter thread below has a bunch of pictures from my projects. These weren’t all 100%s and I only included one page of the comics, but I just loved how they were able to show their understanding in a cool creative way that most of them are really proud of.

La créativité de mes élèves m’impressionne!

Fun Free Tech Tools that Aren’t Kahoot

I’m making a presentation at my district’s Teaching and Learning Conference in a couple of days and made this presentation. I don’t plan on actually showing much of this during the presentation – this is more for when people want to look back at it later.

I remember a few years ago when everyone and their mother was playing Kahoot in class and I hated it from the first time I played it. I felt like my learners were just guessing to try to get the fastest answer and I didn’t like that the questions all had to be projected…I also was already using Plickers and quickly found Quizizz so I never really saw a reason to go back to Kahoot. Maybe I’m missing something about it – please inform me if I am! It still seems to be something that a lot of people use at my school and I want to show teachers that there are other (better) free options. The free part is important because I know I’d never try anything new if I had to pay a cent.

PDF: Fun Free Tech Tools that Aren’t Kahoot

I’m really excited about this stuff. I may have gone a bit overboard with how much there is when I only have 55 minutes to share, but it still should be a good time for everyone and hopefully people learn a bit.

Est-ce que quelqu’un utilise plus Kahoot?

Parent Survey

At the beginning of the year, I attached the link to a Parent Survey at the end of my syllabus. That got me a handful of responses. I also sent it out in my first few mass email newsletters. I’ve gotten 14 responses, so a very small portion of my students’ parents. But hey, something is better than nothing, right?

Here is a copy of what I sent: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/16C-N9Y9rcCkCYd4O4xlhO_52QFt3HbW8VYxGTtX5eJw/copy?usp=sharing

Screen Shot 2017-11-27 at 11.17.54 PM

I decided to ask for information about when their learner was successful and not successful, and I’ve gotten some really great insight from that. It helped me see into some of the past experiences that my learners had faced. I was happy to see that all of them could share a time when the learner had academic success. There was also a lot of wincing on my part when I read what some of them went through to give academic difficulty. All of the responses were helpful.

I also made sure to put a note about when to contact home in my class roster spreadsheet that I keep. Most of the time it was if the learner was failing, but there have been a few times this semester where I’ve had to contact about a different thing that the parents asked for.

Also, the best thing I changed about this survey from last year is that I set it so that I get an email notification every time the survey is completed. That’s helped me keep up with the responses way better.

Is there anything I should change about my survey?

Je veux communiquer avec tous des parents de mes étudiants. Un jour.

Class Twitter Page (Updated 11/27/17)

 

One way that I communicate with parents is by my Class Twitter (an idea I stole from Annie Forest). At the end of every week, I have students do a Weekly Summary. One of the prompts they have for that is to answer the “Tweet Question”. Guardians do not see these answers when they get the emails. That’s because I curate the tweets to put on our class Twitter. I usually use one tweet per period. I have the Twitter feed on my class website and currently have 5 followers…but some students have said that they just look on my website. I also post pictures from class on the class Twitter. I haven’t gotten any parent comments about it yet. Honestly I don’t know if any look at it. I just keep putting reminders that it’s there when I send my unit emails and, if nothing else, it’s nice for me to chronicle the year.

The Tweet Questions I ask can be something about the current topic, or can be more general. Some examples:

  • What is the most difficult part about ____?
  • What is one piece of advice you’d give about ___?
  • How can you use ____ in a real-life situation?
  • What do you wish your teacher knew about you?
  • What is one good thing that happened this week?
  • What is your goal for next week?
  • What is your favorite ____ and why?

I try to get one per class to post but sometimes I do more.

J’espère que les parents apprécient les mises à jour.

Weekly Summaries (Updated 11/27/17)

Parent communication is hard. At the start of last year, my principal mentioned something his old school did where students texted their parents during the day with kind of a status update on how they’re doing in classes and what they’ve been doing. I took this idea and tried to do it daily but that was a little much, so I made it into a Weekly Summary. Students do these at the end of the week (mostly Fridays but sometimes Thursday if we have Friday off or something like that).

I made a Google Form for each class and used a few Add-ons to make it so that when the students submitted it, a copy of their responses would be sent home to their guardian email and cc’d to me. The link to the Google Form is posted on the home page of my class website. Here is what I ask them to answer:

  1. What they did in class this week
  2. What they learned in class this week
  3. A rating of how they’re feeling about class
  4. The response to the day’s Tweet Question
  5. Anything else they want to say.

Also, the form will automatically pull the student’s grade to put in there (I have to copy it from my gradebook into my Class Roster spreadsheet that’s referenced in the directions below). Students were surprised the first time that it actually went to their parents (I guess my disclaimer at the top wasn’t convincing enough). Since I receive an email, I am able to check this and send additional notes to guardians if necessary. I use the responses, especially the ratings of how they’re feeling in class, to help me know who I need to talk to most and what I need to address.

These are what students see:

 

This is what I see, either in the spreadsheet (which I really only look at to get the Tweets) and the emails that get sent home:

 

My favorite student comments about this process were along the lines of: “Ugh I wish we didn’t have to do this. It makes my parents want to talk to me about class!” I did have students that told me they liked the process, though. Some of them write notes to their parents, like what they hope to have for dinner, in the “Anything

I do not get too many parent responses (I set up the email so that they would reply to me). It did keep guardians updated and I hear from them that they appreciated the updates. I did get one response that stood out. It is an email from a board member that teaches in another district. She said:
Screen Shot 2016-05-23 at 8.28.04 AMTeacher sharing for the win! So since this was a pretty important person that was requesting it, I spent some time making sure my directions were good. I will admit, they are pretty long and it will probably take at least 30 minutes to set up your first class, but after the setup, it just always works. I’ve never had an issue.

Here are the directions: Class Update Directions (docx)    Class Update Directions (pdf)

Let me know if you have any questions or suggestions. I want to be in touch with families more. The Weekly Summaries helped, but I know it doesn’t reach everyone. The ones that don’t have an email, unfortunately, do not get a weekly update, so I try to call those families.

Il faut communiquer avec les parents, mais c’est très difficile.

How I Sold #Plickers To My Admin

I realized recently that I didn’t have a post dedicated to how I use Plickers in my class. I had how I make sure each student has a card. I also have how they are used in my warm ups. Then, I mentioned that I plan out my Plickers questions when I’m unit planning. But I recently had a conversation with my admin about it and they were completely sold. This was basically what I talked about in the conversation:

So I have about a little over 100 students this semester, last semester I had 120. I know that to some of you that’s not a lot, but to me that was a lot a lot. I had been used to no more than 70 students because I had been teaching in a small school and/or on block scheduling. So I had been trying exit slips at the beginning of the year, like I had done in my previous schools, but it just wasn’t working. They became a chore, and plus with only 50 minutes I kept not being able to fit them in. So now I use Plickers as an exit slip. I also use it before practicing, and in the middle of practicing. So there are many days where I’ll use Plickers 3 or 4 times in a period.

The great thing about Plickers (besides that it’s 100% free), is that it’s immediate feedback, for me and the students. So when I put up a problem, sometimes I’m feeling pretty confident about how it was learned and I expect something like this:

Screen Shot 2017-04-17 at 7.01.17 PM.png

And instead I get this:

Screen Shot 2017-04-17 at 7.05.11 PM.png

Whoa…

What happened?

So now I can know that everything I thought was wrong, and I can go over it with the class! Or, I can now group up students and talk to them about what they did and how we could get the right answer. I actually do the second option a lot. I make sure I meet up with every single student, so sometimes I’m talking to a few of them at a time about how they worked out a problem and what they could do differently. I’ll also meet with the ones who got it correct and see if I can extend their knowledge in some way. It’s really cool that I get little meetings with every single student because of their Plickers response and it’s a regular part of the routine now.

Another thing I’ve started to do this quarter is add the “I don’t know” option to all my questions. I never use Plickers for a grade, so the “I don’t know” keeps some the students from lucky guessing. I really stress that I’d rather them be honest about not knowing than guessing for the problems I put up. I still have a couple that insist on guessing, anyway.

Also sometimes it’s important (to me) to have questions like this to gauge how the class is feeling.

Screen Shot 2017-04-17 at 6.55.25 PM.png

Sometimes my district’s pacing calendar doesn’t let me, but I try to do what my students need/want in terms of practice vs moving on.

And there you have it! #Plickersforever

Je peux parler de Plickers pour toujours.