Thursday, December 2, 2010


So I literally just realized that I hadn't blogged about how well my "Keys to Math" students did on their TAKS retest in October.  We got the results shortly before Thanksgiving break and I've been diving deep into the data and crunching the numbers since then.

Last year in the October retest and traditionally we have had ~31% passing rate.  This year I kinda gently tossed the previous system out the window and the passing rate for students in my class as well as the school was 45%.  Here is where you picture me jumping up and down for joy and screaming like a little girl in my Associate Principals office.  And yes I really did that, and yes some of the admin was doing that with me.  :-)

As a result we are taking the system I hit the ground running with and expanding it while also having our Intervention teacher, let's call him "Stu" teach the same course but his is going to be more directed towards the 10th graders that have always struggled.

My principal, the sweetheart that he is asked me to start writing down the process that the students are doing so that, in his words "someday if you wanted to you could have it ready and go out and sell it to other school districts to implement it."  My response; "that would be awesome but I'm happy in my classroom and it seems like a pretty common sense approach to me."  My thoughts now are that I'm going to TM and a circle so that if someone else wants to do the leg work of presenting it to other schools that's awesome and I'll take the credit and royalties :)

So without further ado, here's what I have typed up so far.  I'm also going to share the MASSIVE spreadsheet I have come up with that has tons of the kids historical data in it (basically anything I could get access to).  Feel free to Oooh and Aah when you see the spreadsheet.  It's kinda like my baby.

Here's the whole process
Keys to Math Process

Here's where you can find all of the documents:
this is the one for the beginning of class or when the kid walks in your doors.
Personal TAKS Reflection

TEKS Tracking Chart

Helps me figure out what the kids need help with. Will be online next semester.
Daily Check

My baby <-- This is where you can Ooh and Ahh :) Everything File to Share

Template for Giving New Results
And yes the raw score means more to the Keys Kids than the scale score.

Earlier in the year as the students were still working their way through the steps before the test we had to present to our co-workers and some central admin through a gallery walk things we were trying in our PLC.  I threw this poster together totally last minute at request and got a lot of positive feedback from coworkers, students and the superintendents right hand woman.  Here's the pics of what the poster showed.  I'm going to be moving it to Glogster whenever I find the time.

Some awesome applets!

So I've learned that not only am I a teacher and a Step Team sponsor, but I'm also a counselor and a data guru.  I've been pulling my students past data from as far back as I can get it and I'm analyzing the begesus out of it!

One thing I've noticed on the reports we got back from the state on our October Retest results is that the students didn't score to hot in Objective 6.  For you non-Texans that's the one over 2D and 3D Representations which includes different views of 3D figures, building them, and lots of scale factor stuff.

In an effort not to have the students revolt post TAKS test and the return of results I've found some awesome resources that the kids enjoy doing and is making them use their wonderful little brains.

Just a fair warning, the WisWet page is out of Norway (I believe) so some of the language and spelling is off but the big idea here is building these figures.

Rotating 3D objects: Just to start get the ideas of the different views of figures.

Building Houses with Side Views
***Note, the laws of physics and gravity don't apply in this online world and the kids love figuring that out.

Building with Blocks: Lots of cool stuff on this one.  When you get to the page click the gray box and there's lot of cool tools.

Transformation Golf: This is awesome and the kids eventually start to get the idea.  I had them keep trying holes if they didn't get par the first time.  Now to just integrate transformation notation into it!

And you know the kids love Tangrams!

There will be more to come, I promise.  If you ever feel like checking out some of the links or activities I have the kids do feel free to check out my TeacherWeb Page.  This is directly to the page that has the more interesting stuff.

HELP!!! Need out of the box ideas fast!

With the end of the semester rapidly approaching I don't know why I never took into consideration the fact that my "Keys to Math" students (the TAKS remediation students) would need to take a "midterm" for me and have something put in the gradebook.  The class is a local elective and for some of them won't count one way or another but now I'm pressed to come up with a "midterm" for these students to do.

I know what you're thinking.  "Duh Sarah!!!  Come on!  It's not like you can just have a party and actually expect the kids to show up for their grade."  As far as the details of this are concerned I just texted my AP and hopefully I will hear back from him soon.

Here's my issue:
These kids don't do well on tests.  And the focus of the class was to have them all work on their individual weak objectives, reflect on their progress, work in small groups, and take ownership of their own learning.  This happened for almost all of the students and I'm super thrilled.  BUT I can't give them a traditional or they will revolt.  Plus, the students were working on their own personal weak objectives so if I did come up with a so called test it would need to be tailored to the individual student.

So here's the deal:
I'm in need of ideas, activities (preferably computer/internet based) that aren't super crazy difficult but something that kid would enjoy the fun math challenge of and I could come up with a grade of.  And everyone needs to be able to succeed at it. 

Anything and everything would be greatly appreciated!  I hope everyone's having a great week so far.