Things I have been working on…

Math Recorded

This semester I have beScreen Shot 2013-05-24 at 3.17.41 PMen trying to encourage other teachers to start recording themselves teach.  I brought this idea to my assistant principal (who liked the idea), and he started randomly picking teachers to record.   Teachers were terrified and hated to get picked.  Which I get, it is scary to have your peers watch you teach.  We also ran into the issue of what do we use to record with?  Then, once we got something recorded, we never had time to watch the entire1-hour video. So what I am going to try this semester is start out by just recording myself and then sharing it with other teachers using this site.  Instead of recording or uploading the entire video, I am just going to put up small clips of different parts of the lesson.   That way, if a teacher wants to see how other teachers open their classes or how they facilitate a discussion, they can watch just clips of those videos. (Also, it is much easier to upload a 10 minute video then a 60 minute video.) Teachers can simply filter the Google Spreadsheet for whatever they want to see.

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Later on in the semester, I would like to have teacher start feeling more comfortable with recording themselves and then upload those videos to the website.   I think watching these clips could lead to great discussions at our PD meetings and could lead to teacher being real reflective about their teaching.   To record the videos I bought a small tripod to hold my iPhone.   I then simply edit the clip and upload the video to Vimeo.   I change the privacy settings to require a password to view in order to protect the privacy of our students.

Vertical Non-Permantent Surfaces

After seeing the slides from Peter Liljedahl’s presentation on whiteboards, I was intrgued on how to best hang my large whiteboards that I made out of panel boards.  I came up with drilling holes in the corner of the whiteboard and then using grommets to make sure the holes last.  Here is a picture of my room with all of my whiteboards hung up.

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And here is an up close picture of the corner.

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Quadratic Toolbelt

This year when I was teaching students about quadratic functions I wore a tool belt and told students we were going to learn how to use some tools in order to work with quadratics.  So, for example, when I taught students how to complete the square, I would say something like, “this “tool” is used for putting a quadratic function into vertex form.”   Or, “Sometimes we can use the “factoring tool” for solving quadratics equations, but if that tool doesn’t work, we can always get out the power tool, “the quadratic formula” and he will do the job.”   Then, I would belt out a Tim Allen grunt. Using the tool belt analogy helped students realize what all these things (completing square, factoring, quadratic formula, ect.) are best used for. When we were working on more open ended problems, I would hear students say things such as, “Let’s try a different tool.” or, “Isn’t the completing square tool good for finding the vertex?”    I am going to continue using this analogy when we look at other functions and see if it has the same effect.

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