Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Monitoring My GAME Plan

I'm afraid I haven't made any real progress toward reaching my previously posted goals. There was a sequence of unsettling events in my building last week and this week and my GAME plan was put on my mental back burner. One of my goals was to use technology to engage students in solving authentic, real-world problems. In my initial post, I had mentioned incorporating technology into the unit on Statistics and Probability. It occurred to me later on that we don't teach this unit until May so even though I could plan for it now, I wouldn't be able to monitor or evaluate my plan. The other unit I had considered using, Ratio and Proportion, we covered last year with the group of students I was focusing on for my plan. Hopefully I can find sometime over the Thanksgiving break to search for ideas that I can implement in the up-coming unit which is Systems of Equations/Inequalities.
Concerning my second goal, which was to customize learning activities to address students' diverse abilities, I did log on to the Castle Learning site that I intended to use to post individualized assignments for students. I set up my classes and that was as far as I got. My department is in the process of doing an item analysis on the first quarter benchmark exams and I can use that information to create assignments for my students. This might be a great tool for assisting in cumulative reviews throughout the year.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

My GAME Plan

I just reread my last blog post. Had forgotten all about it actually but I'm happy to report that I did accomplish one of my short-term goals. I had put together a first day presentation for the Promethean board and incorporated a Web site that emphasized the need for math in different careers. Now to tackle the rest.

Being a digital novice I need to start with the basics, finding an easy to use technology I can master fairly quickly and that will enhance my students' engagement and understanding. Therefore, for this course, I will focus on the first two NETS-T standards: Facilitate and Inspire Student Learning and Creativity and Design and Develop Digital-Age Learning Experiences and Assessments. More specifically, I will #1, try to engage students in exploring real-world issues and solving authentic problems using digital tools and resources, and #2 customize and personalize learning activities to address students' diverse learning styles, working strategies, and abilities using digital tools and resources.

I co-teach an Algebra class for students on the slower two-year track. This will be the perfect class in which to integrate more technology. There are only 17 students, two teachers and access to the computer lab as well as a mobile laptop cart. My co-teacher and I have been discussing taking advantage of the technology available to us. To achieve my first goal of exploring real-world issues and solving authentic problems, I would like to apply this to either lessons in the Statistics and Probability unit or the one on Ratios and Proportions. Both topics have many real-world applications. For the second goal I can use the Castle Learning program my district subscribes to. With this on-line program, I can customize a bank of problems for my students. For the stronger students, I can choose more challenging problems so they won't become bored and for the struggling students I can choose more basic problems to avoid frustration while improving their skills. The program allows me to use this as an assessment tool as it keeps track of students progress or it can be used as a learning tool as there is a mode in which students can immediately check to see if their answer is right and receive hints on how to solve the problem if they need it.

I will monitor my progress by the feedback I get from my students in the form of their levels of engagement as well as their performance on traditional assessments. Having a co-teacher brings in a whole other perspective and will be a great asset when it comes to evaluating and extending my learning.