Monday, January 31, 2005
More reason to be using blogs as the "digital repository" for portfolios. Hopefully, through my informal research, I'll be able to live up to that goal.
Wednesday, January 26, 2005
Let's begin with the tags section of the site. I'm currently in the middle of a unit on geometry so I was interested what I might find in the architecture and buildings section. Here I found a cornucopia of photos containing parallel and perpendicular lines, geometric solids, & symmetrical buildings, all in a real-world context. An image like this one could be posted to a discussion forum or group blog to elicit discussion about symmetry.
While exploring the above tags, I came across the urban and street tags. There were photos that illustrated the above concepts. However, it wasn't until I came across a photo that took me to the squared circle group that I really got excited. Thinking of problems that related to the photos was incredibly easy. I started blogging the best of them as I went so that I wouldn't forget them (see a few below). The rest I put in my favorites. So many concepts could easily be covered through these photos--fractions, concentric circles, and more.
So I know I can take the pictures from the site and use them elsewhere, but how could I have my students actually find their own photos on the Flickr site? I thought a tag scavenger hunt might be interesting. Give the kids a concept and have them search under related tags for photos that illustrate that concept. The only problem with this activity is that some of the photos are titled with inappropriate language or have inappropriate content. A solution might be to have students do a favorites scavenger hunt. If you have a concept in mind, like parallel lines, search for photos that contain examples of parallel lines and add a ton of them to your favorites. When mixed with the other photos in this page, students will have to look closely to find the pictures that best illustrate this concept. When they have found one, have them blog it with a short description.
Monday, January 24, 2005
Sunday, January 23, 2005
Sunday, January 16, 2005
So I thought of a tool that I would love to have--InspireNote, based on Webnote, a tool for taking notes on your computer during a meeting, class, or any other time that you have a available. The difference here is that instead of the notes appearing as post-its, they appear as symbols like the ones in Inspiration. In fact, InspireNote would perform all the same functions that Inspiration does--linking symbols, rapidfire brainstorming, adding URLs--only through a web browser.
For those of us who see the world better visually, this would be an amazing tool. We would be able to open a couple of tabs in Firefox, and as we came across interesting quotes and other information, we could copy from a Web page on one tab and paste them into InspireNote, open in another tab, making a graphic organizer with the information.
Now I'm no developer, but I would love to see somebody out there take on something like this!
Thursday, January 13, 2005
Derived Measurements Extened Response
Marks heart beats 16 times in 15 seconds. Atthat rate, how many times will it beat in one minuite?
Mark's heart will beat 64 times in a minute(64 BPM). I got this by knowing that 15 multiplyed by 4 is 60 and thats equal to one minute(Because there are 60 seconds in a minute). Then I multiplyed 16 times 4 and thats 64. Thats how I got 64 as the solution.
Tuesday, January 11, 2005
Monday, January 10, 2005
- Focus on academic achievement
- Clear curriculum choices
- Frequent assessment with multiple opportunities for improvement
- An emphasis on nonfiction writing
- Collective scoring of student work
So why did the nonfiction writing produce such positive results? Written responses "...help students demonstrate the thinking process that they employed to find a correct (or even incorrect) response to an academic challenge." They "write to think" and gain the opportunity to "...clarify their own thought processes." This type of writing was also beneficial for the teachers as they had the opportunity to gain valuable diagnostic information about their students.
These results reinforce most of what I have been writing about (particularly in the blogs section of my Web site)--students need to be writing in the mathematics class, and using blogs is a great way to get them doing it. Hopefully there is somebody out there who will take notice.
- Is it clearly written?
- Is it sequential?
- Do I repeat myself?
- Does it use math terms?
- Does it use them correctly?
- Did I remember to include my solution?
- Is my solution correct (or does it at least make sense)?
- Did I use information from the problem (tell what I know)?
- Did I give examples (when needed)?
Completion of the extended responses is followed by another important step, self - evaluation. Before publishing, I ask students to once again look over the checklist, focusing on Communication and Solution. I ask them to make sure they understand their own writing and that they have included their solution with an appropriate unit (two things that students often forget).
Thursday, January 06, 2005
Today I will assign the problem and have the students solve it in class. Monday they will enter their solutions into their blogs. Here is the problem:
Mark’s heart beats 16 times in 15 seconds. At that rate, how many times will it beat in one minute? Be sure to include the appropriate unit.
The standard is select appropriate units for measuring derived measurements. For example, MPH and RPM.
As with any experiment, several questions have surfaced. How will I grade these? If students use symbols, tables, diagrams, or certain mathematical notation that can't be found on the keyboard, how do I get that into the blog? We'll get to those on Monday.
Wednesday, January 05, 2005
So how would this look in practice? I think every student and teacher should be set up with a blog account. Teachers could give students an extended response item to solve that fits into the curriculum begin studied at the time. Students would work the solution individually, with partners, or in groups. Once a solution is found, the students could then post an explanation of how they solved the problem as an entry in their blogs.
The extended response is now available for feedback. During this feedback period, teachers can comment on the work by clicking on the comment link. Another option might be to assign a partner to each blogger and have them comment on the entry. After feedback is given, students could either revise the entry at that time, or use the information to improve upon the next entry.
This cycle--solving a problem, posting an explanation, receiving feedback--continues throughout the school year. The entries will accumulate and eventually form a body of work that will show how the student's writing has progressed over the course of the school year. This type of portfolio is known as a growth portfolio.
There are so many questions that still need to be answered (and generated). Future posts will consider them.
Tuesday, January 04, 2005
The premise here is that there is a great deal of writing on the mathematics portion of the state test. In Ohio, questions that require a great deal of writing are called extended response items. These are typically the questions that students struggle with the most on the state test, particularly in my school district. As a result, their test scores suffer.
Obviously, the solution to this problem is to have students write more in math. At the Future of Math Web site, I describe several forms of writing that could be used in the mathematics classroom: journals, learning logs, math autobiographies, and explaining solutions to problems. For the purpose of improving test scores, teachers must focus on having students solve--and explain the process involved in--problems. But this type of assignment must be more than a token assignment thrown in once a month, or as a word problem at the end of an exam; it must drive the mathematics instruction in each and every classroom.
I have come to believe that blogs hold incredible potential for improving student writing in mathematics, specifically peformance on extended response items. There are several reasons for this. One is that blogs allow others to easily provide feedback. By clicking on the comments link at the end of each entry, teachers can provide students with information on how to improve their writing on the next entry.
Blogs furnish students with an audience. Residing on the Internet, a blog can be read by anybody with an Internet connection. Every entry is open to criticism from teachers, parents, administrators, and other students.
Blogs also allow students, teachers, and others to see progress throughout the school year. As they are updated, all previous entries remain on the page so that by simply scrolling, students and teachers are able to see the entries for the entire year. The whole year's learning is on one screen, similar to a whole year's learning in the contents of a notebook or portfolio. This leads to the next important point, and the topic of my next entry, using blogs as digital portfolios.