Posts tagged instruction

8 results

More Metaphors for my Teaching Journey

I was cleaning out my “Camera Uploads” folder on Dropbox and moving the pictures to my computer. I hadn’t done this in a while and had been meaning to do so. As I was doing this, I came across this picture of myself and Wes Fryer from October, 2013. My first reaction to the picture was, “Wow! I cannot believe that I got so heavy. I can really see that in this picture.” You see, I have been working with a nutrition coach to improve my eating and get to a healthier weight. I have lost about 45 pounds since just before Thanksgiving, 2013. I still have a ways to go to reach my goal. I am closer to a healthier weight than when I began. My eating habits have changed. However, over the last few weeks (well, maybe most of the summer), I have stalled in my efforts. The stalling is due to how I have been eating over […]

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Math Class With Less Direct Instruction?

I have a request and if you would be so kind to indulge me, I’d appreciate it. If you can answer the following, I would appreciate it. Tag me on Twitter (@lmhenry9) and/or post your answer in the comments (or blog about it and post the link in the comments). Thanks. How does a math class look/operate/function that is NOT based on direct instruction? What does a typical day look like? How is direct instruction infused in when needed? Background on my question: Andrew Stadel in January had posed a question on Twitter about finding and implementing tasks. Since then, I have been pondering on and off how I would change how I currently teach. I do quite a bit of direct instruction. I know that I should be looking at other options and not relying on DI so much. However, I find that when I ponder how my class would change, I feel completely clueless. And when I start to really […]

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Cleaning the Chairs

We have a covered back porch and we have some white plastic chairs we keep on the porch to sit in and enjoy the porch. I’m sure you’ve seen the type of chairs we have – they’re like $10 at lots of places. I finally got around to the annual cleaning of the back porch – even though it is covered, it does get dusty and dirty and can get pollen covered. I usually wait until after the trees are done pollening and then I spray down the porch and clean the furniture on it. I’m just a bit late this year. So, I sprayed down the porch after I took the chairs and other pieces of furniture off the porch. Then I sprayed down the chairs. They didn’t look too bad. But upon closer examination… oh boy. Although I got some of the dirt off (and they were pretty dirty), they were still dirty. There is no way I would want to […]

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Transformations Unit

Last year, I shared the transformations matching cards I used with my Advanced Algebra 2 students. With teaching transformations for the first time to all Algebra 2 students, I have revamped my lesson and cards. Thanks are due to @druinok for her help in hashing out what I was doing with this unit. I’m working with F.BF.3: Identify the effect on the graph of replacing f(x) by f(x) + k, k f(x), f(kx), and f(x + k) for specific values of k (both positive and negative); find the value of k given the graphs. Experiment with cases and illustrate an explanation of the effects on the graph using technology. Include recognizing even and odd functions from their graphs and algebraic expressions for them. After discussions with both @druinok and our pre-calculus teacher, I decided to hold off on the f(kx) portion. @druinok shared that in her state, they don’t do the horizontal stretches and compression in Algebra 2 and our pre-calculus teacher said that until […]

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What would YOU do??

I have 4 sections of Algebra 2. My smallest section has 17 students, but it also has the largest gap. I have the brightest students in there – students who want to learn math, are enthusiastic about it, and do well with mathematics. They are extremely motivated. I also have students who are not very motivated, who complain I am going too fast (even though I am actually going at a much slower rate that I probably should be), and who are not as strong as other math students. The students who aren’t as motivated actually seem to resent the students who do well and are motivated. Although I do try to do grouping with them, unlike most of the students in my other classes, when the groups are of mixed ability, the students who struggle don’t necessarily want help from the students who know what they are doing. We did a relay in class to review this week and […]


Change is Hard

(Warning – rambling and ranting ahead) I don’t feel like I am a very good math teacher. I can explain the concepts fairly well so that many students understand it. I can structure the lesson so that it makes sense. But, I am pretty much a traditional teacher. I have made no bones about that here. But then I start reading Mathematics Formative Assessment and we had a Waiver Day last week where a lot of the discussion was around formative assessment and now I feel like I suck as a teacher. As it is, I have been stressed and barely on top of stuff and it is extremely easy to revert to my old, established ways of just teaching and students watching, taking notes and then having to work out the problems. During the Waiver Day, one of the speakers was talking about making formative assessment part of the daily culture of your classroom. I wish I could remember what […]

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Thoughts on Retention

Why is it so hard for students to retain information? I know this is a question that has been popping up for me almost daily as we are working through the rational expressions unit. Students have to factor as a part of the process and I still have students with issues factoring. There is multiplying binomial times binomial and they don’t remember how to do that either. Both concepts I have taught this year. I think I have some of the answer. It is in our culture of how we teach our students. My dad and I had a conversation about it. He shared with me his adult learning experiences and how he was more successful than other students who had just left college. My dad’s approach involved asking questions and tying the new material to his experiences and prior knowledge. The students in the course who had recently attended college tended to “study” the material the evening prior to […]

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I can’t figure it out

I just spent 3 out of 4 classroom days out of my classroom. Between taking sophomore girls on a field trip to learn about careers that use math and science, doing a gap analysis between our old curriculum and Common Core, and attending the first meeting of a committee working to close the gap between High School and Higher Education, I have been one busy puppy as of late. I was out two days, back in for one, and then out again. The day I was back in the classroom, I did try what @druinok suggested in our chat last weekend. It did not go well. The directions on the board told them to sign up for a problem from the previous assignment, work it out on the whiteboard, and put the whiteboard on the chalk tray when they were finished. My Algebra 2 students actually did a little better with it once they were reminded to read the board […]

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