I am excited to begin the school year so I can incorporate all that I have learned through the AfA online class. One thing I will be doing is having the students work in groups. I'm hoping this will increase the communication among the students and increase confidence in their math skills. I am also excited to have my students use the n-spires and/or TI-84's. I always thought students using these would be more of a crutch, but through this class I've seen that the calculators can just increase the understanding of the relationships of the functions. AfA has given so many ideas of how to show relationships through multiple representations. I have a great resource to turn to for ideas of lessons.
I have already made some changes to my curriculum for this upcoming school year after taking this A4A class. I have learned that it is critical to give the responsibility of learning to our students and begin this on the first day of class. I have also found that it is still possible to provide real life activities and projects and still cover the requirements. In fact, in some ways it may be easier to cover the standards by focusing on applications. The students will be much more involved and see why math is important and what it can be used for, not just letters and numbers on a worksheet. The idea of multiple representations will make connections that haven't been there before. It will also help the struggling students find a way that makes sense for them. It makes differentiation in the classroom much easier. It has been a great learning experience and has given me alot of ideas.
I would love to say that I would be able to try all of them, but we all know that this is unrealistic. Not to mention overwhelming and very time consuming. I will definitely incorporate the Algebra Tiles, Exploring Linear Equations, Comparing Linear & Exponential Models and Exploring Parabolas. I believe students will benefit in several ways. The first would be engaging more learners by using interactive technology instead of traditional instructions. Students would also be able to utilize the tools to practice instead of performing the tradition homework practice. Most of the time I feel as though many students don’t ask questions because they don’t know which questions to ask. If students do even have enough confidence to try the homework they sure won’t be able to come back to class asking questions. The modules allow the students to practice while receiving immediate feedback via the computer but also allows the student to get timely help from the instructor. In the end, showing students multiple ways of approaching a problem enables them to find what works for them. I think that it is important for
students to realize that just because one way is “easy” for them that doesn’t mean it’s the best or only approach.
As for the changes I will make, in only a few short weeks, to my classroom and instruction, I would like to begin by attempting to not approach each chapter as a separate concept. But rather, use the strategies from this course to show the relationships and patterns of the various parent functions. I will also begin using the page protector idea someone shared in one of our previous discussions. The protectors can be used just like small dry erase boards, so that students can show me what they do or don’t know and I can better assess what I need to re-teach. I will also work with my colleagues to begin modifying our common assessments to increase our test questions to reflect a functions-based approach.