Assessment in MFM1P – Update

Here’s a short update on my grade 9 applied course. I’ll try to explain this as clearly as I can…bare with me.

An integral part has been our weekly mastery days. I’ve written about those days along with the tools that make them possible here. These days have been so important to our learning and we will definitely be doing them again next semester.

Allowing For Differentiated Learning and More Student Accountability.

Having these days allows students to have more responsibility in their learning not less! We are using a web based and app based tool called Freshgrade (You can read about how I set that up for mastery days here – this post will be mostly about the benefits). On our mastery days students have to scan through their portfolio and decide which learning goals (expectations) to improve on….then, they, the student, has to go and make that improvement happen (Each LG in Freshgrade has links to questions for them work on). So our mastery day is filled with students all working on different expectations from the course — according to their need. With the encouragement I give them they know it’s up to them to work towards mastery on each learning goal.

Student view of a learning goal to improve:

An activity in Freshgrade I’ve called a learning goal. Each one shows student achievement and next steps to improve.

Capturing Growth Informs Instruction & Assessment

The portfolio tool in Freshgrade is amazing. It captures and holds all of their work. It provides me great insight into their learning. As students work to improve their learning goals (expectations) they upload pictures of their work through the app. I get to see that work and provide audio or written feedback also through the web/app or in person. What I love is that I get to see all that interaction for each learning goal (expectation) forever. I can see the growth that my students are making. My old spreadsheet tool never tracked past work…only most recent. I love being able to see a student’s thinking progression as they attempt problems. It makes me as a teacher more confident about that student’s ability on the course expectations.

For example, this student uploaded a picture of their work on solving a proportion. They were confused on the nature of proportional relationships. After a comment and talking with the student they made corrections and re-uploaded. Their next step is to attempt a new problem to show consistency. That progression of learning stays in their portfolio for us both to see!

A student view of their portfolio:

Can’t see the video? Click through to the post

Capturing all of their progress and achievement in Freshgrade also provides me a ton of data. Since I set up the categories in Freshgrade to be the strands from the curriculum and each learning goal is assigned to one of those strands I get to see my class’ achievement on those strands. For example, If I filter the activities (learning goals) to only see the ones for linear relations I can see if we need to work more on linear relations. This has been great in the spiralled course. We can spend more time on what we need.

Gradebook view showing learning goals and student achievement.

I hope I explained our mastery day process clearly……now, onto an updated day-to-day plan for MFM1P.

Planning:

Each semester I’ve spiralled I’ve kept a spreadsheet that outlines my day-to-day. In the links below you can see those outlines in detail. I’ve included each semester on it’s own tab.

Webpage view of the outline

Get your own copy of the Google Sheet (You’ll need a Google account).

Sign up for a free Freshgrade account

Perimeter Jumble

You’ve seen this problem before.

I was discussing this problem with a co-worker a week or so ago and they suggested I change the scenario to a fence around a skate park….”to make it more relatable to students.” I wasn’t sure that particular fix was going to make my students want to solve it more (more on that from Dan here, here, and here). Instead, “I want to make it more curious than that…and get my students to do most of the heavy lifting”.

The textbook and many teachers will tell you to break out the geoboards and bands. But I still feel like that is telling them what to explore. I wanted them to ask the question before we do the exploring. How can we make this topic more curious?

Here is my attempt at making this more curious:

Show them this and ask for what do you notice? What do you wonder?

Today, my students noticed: “The number of pieces stayed the same,” Different rectangles, squares were made,” “The rectangles were blue,”

Today, my students wondered: “What would the perimeter be?” “How big were the rectangles?” “Were they all the same area?” “Why are we doing this” “Which shape would be the biggest?” “How long was each piece?”

I circled the wonder: Which shape is the biggest? But I extended it…. I confirmed some of their other wonderings like…yes the number of lines didn’t change. How many did you see? Did you guess 24?

screen-shot-2016-12-20-at-1-35-17-pm

Draw one of those rectangles you saw on your whiteboard. Write the dimensions. Determine the area.

I asked each student what dimensions they had and the area. Who has the biggest? I extended the idea….”I wonder what would happen if we had a different number of lines, a different perimeter to work with?”

The rest of the lesson would flow much like all of those geoboards lesson (get their hands/minds working — the less I talk the more they learn).

I assigned each pair of students a piece of chart paper with a new perimeter to work with. Draw rectangles with your set perimeter. Record the dimensions and the perimeter.

img_5398

The recorded on the sheet:

screen-shot-2016-12-20-at-1-35-01-pm

I showed some pics of student graphs on the TV and we concluded together that squares were making the largest area!

The groups then turned to doing some practice problems of “Here is a perimeter…what dimensions will produce the max area” and the backwards questions…”If the largest rectangle has an area of ___ what would the perimeter be?” Some groups were given the problem where we only use 3 sides to enclose an area. What now will make the largest area?

Stripping this problem of context didn’t make them want to investigate less……in this case my students were engaged as much as I’ve seen them lately.

I wasn’t pushing them to memorize that it’s a square that will give the max area….I feel like the big idea here for us was taking our own wonderings and investigating them systematically to discover a relationship. For me that is the bigger take away for these grade 9 students.

 

 

Fav & Fix – Dec 1

For the Favourite & Fix series I’m posting one idea from my lessons that week that was my favourite and one topic that I need help on. Something I hope to fix. I’m hoping that in the comments or on Twitter (#Fav&Fix) you amazing readers can help me out with some hints, tips, and suggestions.

Favourite: The Cheating Quiz

This week I gave a quiz to my grade 9 applied students. It consisted of 4 questions – Two on linear relations and two on reading distance-time graphs. After the quiz was over I said “It’s time to do a little cheating.” Each student is to find another student they were comfortable sharing their work with. I said, “For question 2 only, share your work with each other. Discuss what you notice about each other’s solution. Do you have the same? If you have different solutions who is more right? After you discussion go back and adjust your solution if you need to. Hand in after.

I really enjoyed listening to them share. It was interesting to see how they defended (or didn’t defend) their answers. After reviewing their new work on that question it not only gave me insight into that one students thinking, it gave me some insight into what their partner was thinking too. For the student below I can see some really good thinking about how the linear relation changes. But now I know for both of these students we need to have a discussion how the increase of 100 every 5 people affects the equation. Looking at each students paper in the room now tells me a lot more about my class’ understanding compared to not having a “cheating quiz”

img_2628

Fix (just a comment)

My MEL3E class is coming off a two week themed activity where we designed, built and launched rockets. Today we were completing the Sugar sugar Desmos Activity and a student says to me: “When are we going to do something fun?” I relply, “Fun?”….he says, “yeah, like watch a movie.”

I’m not one to show movies in class. 

Why do students always equate fun in class with movie watching? How does the student who just smiled through two weeks of math class, built and launched rockets, helped me fix the launcher numerous times, and today, yes today, defended his choice on which sugary cereal was the best choice not know he was having fun?

I guess enjoying class does not equal “having fun”.

Math class doesn’t have to be fun…just worth it. 

Really Big Lights – A math problem

Here’s a really big problem you can work on with your students this holiday season.

Act 1:
Show them this video and ask: What do you notice? What do you wonder?

After allowing them to voice their noticing and wonderings guide them to wonder: How big is that new light? How many times bigger is the big light compared to the old light? How many Really Big Lights would you have to put up to cover the same length as last year?

Act 2: Here are some images to help make some conclusions:

Guess: How long is the big light? How many times longer is the big light than the small light?

screen-shot-2016-11-28-at-8-07-17-pm

Reveal:

screen-shot-2016-11-28-at-8-07-34-pm

Guess: How many small lights are in one string that stretches 15 feet?

screen-shot-2016-11-28-at-8-07-54-pm

Reveal:

screen-shot-2016-11-28-at-8-08-02-pm

Work together to determine how many Really Big Lights would replace the string of 50 lights? What assumptions will you make?

Act 3: Reveal

screen-shot-2016-11-28-at-8-08-10-pm

Why might your calculated answer be different from the answer shown?

If you had 50 Really Big lights how long would could they reach? How many cars could you put in that garage?

Grab all files for this activity

You can see more info about the lights over at http://reallybiglights.com/