Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Latest Thinking

I spent the day working with Erin Crisp, the literacy coach at West Jessamine High School. She was incredibly helpful as we hashed out different approaches to a professional development (PD) that we will be doing at her school this summer. We are focusing on depth of knowledge (DOK), rigor and relevance, and importance of/how to incorporate higher level DOK into classroom instruction. We discussed different approaches to the planning piece of the PD. We know we want to walk though an example piece discussing how the different levels of DOK are embedded in the instruction. We've determined that using a graphic (I will have to work on that tomorrow and attach later) The basic idea is to have the teachers plan 3-4 learning events around a 'Big Idea'/unit of study. The learning events will be fleshed out in approach but not necessarily in lesson plan format. The focus will be on integrating higher level instruction. In order to reach the higher levels of depth of knowledge it is our contention that literacy strategies that incorporate the read/write/speak connection will be necessary. I would love feedback on this thinking. I will post another example tomorrow that more closely follows this format.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Getting Feedback

As I think through this collaboration more thoroughly I struggle with the best way of starting conversation and getting feedback. I want teachers to be able to give feedback, offer ideas, critique and be able to think through the planning process in 'public'. The idea of putting ideas out for public consumption may be a little intimidating. I know I'm a little intimidated putting this idea out there. As I work through some of my lesson ideas. I struggle with how much I should put out as an initial idea. Will I be encouraging feedback or shutting down input if I put more fleshed out ideas? I'm proposing to create three learning events centered on each of the topic areas. In the first example I'm going to propose one more thoroughly ellaborated idea, one very minimally ellaborated event and one that I'm hoping someone else will propose.

I'm going to publish the first event to get feedback. Everything is negotiable, so please feel free to offer advice/input/....

Example #1- Grade 8 Estimation/Data Analysis

Learning Event #1 Village of 1000
M-8-DAP-S-DR2: Students will select an appropriate graph to represent data and justify its use.
M-8-DAP-S-CD4: Students will compare sets of data.
MA-8-NPO-S-E2: Students will estimate with large and small quantities of objects.
MA-8-NPO-S-RP1: Students will use percentages and proportions in problem solving

A copy of the book If the World Were a Village: A Book About the World’s People. Written by David A. Smith
If the world were a village of 1000 data sheet
Graph-making software/materials
World population data

Learning Cycle:
Pre Activity:
• Admit Slip: “How many and what portion of the world’s population do you think… (is well fed, lives in poverty, is unable to read, will be near death or die this year, speaks Chinese, speaks English, etc.)
• Read Aloud: Excerpts from If the World Were a Village: A Book About the World’s People

Mid Activity:
• Model by taking one area (language) of the statistics from the sheet, turning them into fractions, decimals, percents; create a graph to represent the data
• Have students choose a family of statistics to represent using appropriate graphing model
• Think/Ink/Pair/Share: “What characteristics caused you to choose the style of graph you chose to represent the data?”

Post Activity:
• Exit Slip: “Which statistic from today’s research surprised you the most? And why?”
• Exit Slip: “If 89,801,576 people in the United States are over 80 and the population of the United States is 301,626,524, how many people in a ‘US village of 100’ would be over 80?’

• Students will research more statistics and represent the data using two different graphing styles
• Students will research/use data from the state, city, district or school and represent in the setting of a village in our classroom.


• Students illustrate one of the statistics from the book
• Create a bulletin board posting student graphs to be revisited to discuss the different representations of the data
• Students research more statistics and present the data in the form of a quiz with extension information (example: A World Food Production Quiz)

Create a Graph Tool
• Village Data:
Village of 1000- 2000 Census
Village of 1000- 2005 Census
State of Village Report
Village of 1000
• Population Data:
Census Bureau
Census Bureau- quickfacts
Free Demographics [dot] Com
• Lesson Resources:
Village of 1000

Friday, April 13, 2007

Collaboration to Develop Model Math Lessons

I'm starting this blog as part of a project to create a shared learning community of math teachers in the Striving Readers project to create model lessons for mathematics that incorporate content literacy strategies, provide teachers concrete examples of how to plan the content using strategies that allow students opportunity to experience content in different ways, and to create experts across the project who can then help guide their colleagues through the planning and development process.

It's a test for me of using blogging as a collaborative tool to engage teachers in a professional development model that is totally optional. I am inviting a core set of teachers to participate. My goal is to involve approximately 8-12 teachers in this first trial. Additionally, I am inviting (haven't discussed this with them, yet) Darren Kuropatwa, Amy Awbrey, Karen Karp, and Sara Kajder. Darren is a math teacher from Canada who is very knowledgeable in Web 2.0 apps and, more importantly, engages his students in collaborative and highly engaging learning environments. Amy is an expert in planning and asking guiding questions. (Also, she is the director of the Striving Readers project for CTL, so I need to include her for her input from a work perspective, also.) Dr. Karp is the math ed department chair at the University of Louisville and one of my professors this semester. Her input from a math perspective will be very helpful, and, perhaps more importantly, her input from a teacher preparation/development perspective will be helpful. Dr. Kajder is one of the most insightful practitioners of web/distance teaching and learning that I know. Her rigor and insight will be of great value to push the development of the lessons and the model.

My initial plan is to enlist the help of teachers to plan four units of study that incorporate content literacy strategies. The focus on the planning will be on the read, write, speak/listen connection that we are emphasizing in this summer's Striving Readers school trainings. The units will center on content from: 8th grade- estimation, data analysis; algebra I- rate of change; algebra II- systems of linear equations; and precalculus- exponential functions. All of the topics were chosen because they could easily be adapted for use in multiple courses. I would like the plans to include at least three learning events/lesson plans that are well developed. I would like to throw some ideas out and see if I can’t get response from people about how to improve, extend, and add to the thinking. Additionally, I want to use the artifacts in the trainings this summer as models for other teachers to use.

Ultimately, I would like to create a learning community that can share ideas, access thinking across content areas, encourage collaboration between schools, etc. I would like feedback from you before I open this to the classroom teachers so I can prepare myself better for issues that will arise, and make the project as successful as possible.

As a side note, I don’t want anyone to feel obligated to respond, because I know you are all busy people, but I wouldn’t have invited you if your opinion wasn’t valued. Additionally, if you don’t have a blogger account I can help you set one up so that you can post to the blog.

Finally, (and this is directed mostly to Darren and Sara) any recommendations about the best site/manner/format to share the actual files? I am hoping to do some open collaboration editing online so I will be using some type of file sharing site, but I have to be careful to make sure the teachers can access the site from their schools, which means it has to be a site recognized and accepted by the filter gods.