Tuesday, June 27, 2006

5-hour classes...

...didn't seem that tough at the time... I thought I was going to have a nice, easy summer. I don't know what I was thinking. Planning 5 hours of lecture, handouts, selected readings, sketchpad labs, quizzes, and so on is pretty demanding. So far, it's taken me about 4 - 5 hours of planning a day. So, instead of leaving school at 5 like I was hoping, I'm there till 7:30 or 8. I'm thinking that I will get more efficient at it as we get farther into the summer - well, here's hoping anyway. But it's going pretty well - the students have actually commented on the fact that the day goes by relatively quickly.

The note taking system seems to be working pretty well so far. As the daily quizzes start happening (we've only had one so far), I'll have more of a sense as to whether they are able to process and retain the vast amount of material I am trying to teach them.

We finally got a computer lab at school, and it's pretty cool. I am able to present on the projector while they work, and with Remote Desktop, I can take control of their machines and even send them to the projector. Today, I sent a student's screen to the projector so he could show the class how he solved a problem (figuring out how to construct a pair of complementary angles). He talked it through from his seat, using his mouse as a pointer - then, as I walked around, I saw other students begin to copy his technique and run with the problem. Technology is pretty nice when you have it, and it works!

The nice thing about having a 5 hour class is that we can work on the same content in multiple ways during the same day - from guided exploration on sketchpad to lecture / reading to practice problems, followed up with a formative assessment the following morning. I'm hoping that this reinforcement from multiple ways of presenting information will help them absorb it.


Anonymous said...

Liz here from I Speak of Dreams.

I knew about this from another mom of a kid with LDs that affected his math performance--Making Math Real.

Making Math Real is an innovative, fun, hands-on method of learning math that integrates key cognitive development such as symbol imaging, detail analysis, and sequential processing, within every lesson and activity. Students who struggle with math do not lack the intelligence or the motivation to be successful. Typically, they lack the underlying development that supports the acquisition of the basic tools to do math.

Making Math Real builds development by helping students create their own mental pictures, thereby reducing reliance on memory. Students are successful because they see and understand what they are doing rather than memorizing a rote procedure.

ImageThis is achieved by:
• guiding students incrementally through the concrete, semi-concrete, semi-abstract, and abstract levels
• providing a comprehensive manipulatives-based program
• integrating concept with every procedure
• developing higher order thinking skills through full synthesis of left and right hemisphere processing
• increasing math vocabulary by association with informal imagistic and story-based language
• authentic experiences of success that break through their preconceptions of failure
• dramatically improved motivation and achievement
• intensive cognitive development for getting students off of their fingers and learning and retaining their math facts
• the self confidence they can learn

The program was developed by David Berg --

Making Math Real Institute and Clinic
900 Regal Road
Berkeley, CA 94708
Voice: 510-527-0720
Fax: 510-528-9060
E-mail: info@makingmathreal.org
Webmaster: webmaster@makingmathreal.org

I wonder if he would be willing to come to DCP on a pro-bono basis to help.

Darren said...

Should you get to solving algebraic equations, I like Hands-On Equations at http://rds.yahoo.com/_ylt=A0geuq_1LqNEIkIAMqBXNyoA;_ylu=X3oDMTB2b2gzdDdtBGNvbG8DZQRsA1dTMQRwb3MDMQRzZWMDc3IEdnRpZAM-/SIG=11cn74s6g/EXP=1151631477/**http%3a//www.borenson.com/

It's one of the few manipulatives I've ever used that I'd say is valuable for teaching and learning math.

Arturo Rodriguez said...

Hi Dan,
One thing to keep in mind is that students will interpret the multiple ways of learning as different problems, not necessary different ways of learning or solving a particular problem type.