Sunday, August 10, 2014

Getting Ready for the Year!

Like pretty much every teacher I know, I've spent some time this summer working on stuff for next year.  There are always things that I want to try during the year, but it doesn't always work out because of time constraints.

Next year my school is starting our "Journey to Excellence" (J2X), which is our version of the RISC (Re-Inventing Schools Coalition) model.  In a very brief overview, J2X means that Kenowa is moving the standards based grading.  This isn't anything new or revolutionary, but it is definitely a step in the right direction.  The part of J2X that I think is really going to make an impact on students is the fact that students will no longer move on if they don't pass a standard.  Every student will have a list of standards they need to master (80% of better) for them to progress from Kindergarten to 12th grade.  To say this is hard for us to envision is an understatement, but we did a lot of work last year regarding rubrics, expectations, assessements, etc., and I think we're starting to see how it might work.  Next year we are starting with math K-8, and 9-12 will pick it up the following couple years.

In preparation for the year, I started to compile all of the 5th grade documents in 2 spots.  First, we have a google folder that is shared with the entire 5th grade. It is divided by unit.  Each unit has all the rubrics for the student and teacher, different ideas for hands on activities, pictures, assessments, links to videos, etc.  I also started compiling things into a folder so I could easily reference them.  I took some pictures of the folder for unit 1 & put them below.

Before getting into that, I want to explain the stations I use during math, as I'll reference them in a second.  I use the acronym MATH to guide our stations (each one lasts 15-20 minutes)
M - meet with the teacher
A - at your seat
T - technology
H - hands on

This is the first page in the binder.  I found some math posters on TpT.  If they pertain to a particular learning goal, then I put them in that tab, if they pertain to the whole unit, it is in the front.  Since the whole 1st unit is on fractions, I put this at the beginning of the binder.

This is a snapshot of the tabs in my binder: 

 * Matrices * Homework Packets  * Assessments * LG 1 (learning goal) - LG 8 * Inquiry Project * Technology

The matrices are our rubrics.  I have the "student matrix" in this tab.  It ha all the learning goals for the unit on one handy page.  The students will all have one of these, and it is where they will track their mastery.

The next tab is our "homework" packets.  Since I flip my math class, the "homework" packets are what they do during the "at your seat" part of their math centers.  The other 5th grade teachers use this packet for homework.

Assessments come next.  In this secion I have our pretest, 2 versions of the end of the unit test, and the study guide.  They are all labeled according to learning goal.  This is one area that I hope to change.  Personal opinion: I don't think paper pencil tests are always the best way for students to show that they understand a concept.  I am a strong believer in giving students a choice in proving their knowledge.  At this point, the assessments are what they are, and I'm working with them.

After assessments comes the learning goals.  Behind each learning goal is a teacher matrix.  What's the difference between the teacher and student version? The student version has all the learning goals on one page.  The teacher has all the students on one page, but each learning goal is it's own separate page.  Eight learning goals means eight matrices.  Behind the matrix is any activities that might be used during the hands-on station.  The pictures below are what you'd find in the learning goal about finding equivalent fractions.


The next section is an inquiry project.  I like to try to do these at the beginning and end of the unit, but realistically that doesn't always happen.  The inquiry project is a real world application of the topics in the unit.  

The final section has to do with technology based games or videos that correspond with each learning goal. The google doc has direct links to all the sites.  Eventually, I'll put a link on my class website to each unit, breaking it down by learning goal and having links right there...I'm not there yet ;)

So there you have it, there is still a lot of work to be done, but there is something about having things in order that makes me happy :)