Friday, Session 1: Creating Student Centered Lessons


Presenter: Beth Rogers, Kennesaw State University

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Technology: PPT, (handouts of PPT, but ran out and offered to email upon request)

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Hands-On: None really. She did ask for discussion. I’m totally going to sleep here even though I like and agree with the things she is saying.

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What I liked: Sample lesson (factoring & graphing polynomials)–she showed/talked about phases of the lesson, from “traditional” (highly structured) to requiring more student involvement and exploration. Sometimes started with analyzing the function algebraically, sometimes graphically (Idea:  make 1/2 a class set of one approach, 1/2 of the other, and label A-L on each set, then partner up with the other “A” person so one student has algebraic approach and one has graphical, but they have the same problem, then switch papers to verify each others’ methods. Reminds me of row games).

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Interesting: She got my interest at the beginning, but I’m starting to feel like I’m in the wrong session.  They’re talking about resources for teaching Math III (junior year) . . . It was enlightening to hear different teacher perspectives on what they are doing in their classrooms and what their basic philosophy is.  And by “enlightening” I mean that it makes me want to stab myself in the eye.



Session 4: Math Tools for Teachers


Presenter: Felicia Cullers, Grovetown MS

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Technology: Introductory remark “OK, y’all, most everything we’re doing today is web-based, so there’s not really any hand-outs, but if you want me to email you the Mp3 files you hear, job down my email address” I think I’m gonna like this.  Tools demonstrated:  Teacher Tube (order of operations rap video);  Alabama Learning Exchange (ALEX–search by grade level, subject, topic, etc. They have lesson plans, PPTs, pdf’s, word documents, etc.); Utah Education Network (curriculum resources, lessons, fold-ables, songs, games, etc. in pdf form, essential questions, etc.);

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Hands-On: Nunnathat. (Unless you count participating by writing our own songs!)

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What I liked: Incorporation of music into math class. Once again, something I like, but just don’t think about enough.  It really does help students remember concepts, especially when they’re involved in creating the songs.

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Interesting: Girlfriend is BRAVE to be up singing & rapping in front of all of us!

The rap that we made up today:

Working with integers can be fun, follow the rules and then you’re done.

When you multiply or divide, do what you know and check the sign.

When the signs are the same, positive is the name of the game.

When the signs are different, it’s a negative thing.

Working with integers can be fun, follow the rules and then you’re done.

Hope you liked our song, ’cause we are done.

Adding and subtracting rules are still to come.



Session 3: Bridging Literacy and Mathematics


Presenters: Tonya DeGeorge & Zandra de Aroujo, UGA

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Technology: PowerPoint. Black & white,Times New Roman. There was a “wordle” on the title page.  When they ran out of handouts, they gave us their email address & said to request copies.  Better than the last one, but would have been even better to give us a website to find/download them.

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Hands-On: OK, it wasn’t really hands-on, but they did give us 4 math-themed graphic organizers that were only partially filled out and had us work together with out group to complete it.  Good point made: Graphic Organizers shouldn’t need lots of explanation, their whole point is clearly show relationships. We also received a copy of roles for group work and got to practice it with the people at our table on a real math problem.

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What I liked: Focus on vocabulary and reading strategies. They talked about graphic organizers in math, which is something I really like, but that I’ve been extremely slack about. I should totally do these for “do now” problems to activate prerequisite knowledge and for “tickets out the door” to see what they learned from the lesson. We also had good whole-group discussion time to reflect on what we are learning. (Note to self:  I may need to do this part more with my students–I’m at the point right now where the majority of class time is group work and small group discussions, but wrapping up the ideas for everyone is very useful!)

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Interesting: This is the first session where they mentioned any research. It seems to be largely about ESOL students, but as they say, strategies that are good for ESOL students are good for any struggling readers. They were also the only people who asked for feedback (verbal, during session) on how interesting/helpful their session was.



Session 2: What is an “average” pencil?


Presenter: Sharon Taylor, GSU

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Technology: Word document on the projector. Computer decided to update itself 10 minutes into the session.

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4-page packet (including cover page–she also is sending a blank copy home with us so we can write on the first one). Why not just give us a link to it? This could have been more of a problem for her if more people showed up. She also had a tablet to write on for recording the data, but wasn’t very adept at it, so the data did not go into the actual table.

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Hands-On: pencils of different lengths, scissors, thin & thick paper strips, scissors, rulers, tape.  Lots of verbal directions at the beginning (she seemed very nervous & stumbled over words, perhaps because there wasn’t a large turn-out and she lost some confidence?).

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What I liked: Cool extension ideas for exponents, standard deviation, using Legos for # of letters in your name and then “evening out” the stacks. Someone also mentioned making a “human box & whisker” plot, which I’ve done before, but she added in the idea of “stacking” people who have the same number of letters in the name to show that the length of the box (or whisker) will be shorter due to repeated values.

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Interesting: Some teachers weren’t very adept at measuring in inches/centimeters.  I noticed several people writing 5 3/16″ as 5.3″.



Conference Session: Exploring Geometry Using Inquiry-Based Activities


Presenter: Susie Lanier, GSU

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Technology: PowerPoint projected on screen. She ran out of copies and said to email her if you didn’t get one.

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Hands-On: Started with a handout (worksheet), a cut-out paper circle, and a square of patty paper. She asked us to find the center of the circle.  There were some awesome questions about area at the end!  I was very engaged.  I really thought she was going to get to incenter/circumcenter/orthocenter, but I suppose that’s not really applicable to middle school.

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What I liked: She teaches pre-service teachers and uses this book http://www.amazon.com/Geometric-Structures-Inquiry-Based-Prospective-Elementary/dp/0131483927  We did lots of constructions without any compasses or straightedges–the paper folding is very intuitive. I hope that if I do this with my students before we get to traditional constructions that it will make more sense to them.

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Interesting points:  The teachers who are participating are very eager to show what they know!