Here is one of the discussion questions from the wrap-up on day 8. Post your responses and comments here.

How does your classroom feel different as a result of the AfA training?

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I think that the new feeling begins with me. I am more confident in my ability to integrate calculator lessons into my old paper/pencil lessons. The few lessons that I have tried have also shown a rise in the confidence level of my students. My focus has also widened (if that is the way to describe it). I now look at many more ways to deliver material. My text is already function-based, but as I said, I was just doing the same old paper and pencil assignments. One of the most significant changes can be found in my assessments. I am using more activity-based assessments similar to some of the activities presented in A4A. As a final note - the smiles on the faces in my room tell me that math can be fun.
A great deal of the lessons in A4A were too advanced for my group but what I found was that my teaching evolved to include more discovery based questions and lessons. My students have responded positively to this more hands on approach to teaching math. We are having more fun.
I would agree that many of the things that we did was beyond my students abilities. I need to work on using the discovery based questions and lessons. I just fear with my students and their attendance issues, that we wouldn't get very far.

I'm in the same boat as I teach Algebra I for special ed students and anything that involves a number of steps really throws them, as does change. I too would like to use discovery based lessons and can't wait for next year when I can introduce this approach right from the beginning, rather than trying to do it part way through the year. My students tend to be very anxious and insecure about math, and anytime they figure things out for themselves their self-esteem goes up a notch.

 

I am back to school in California.  I had students write me a math story about their experience with math and I learned that many have very low self-esteem.  I can't wait to incorporate some discovery into the process so they can see the excitement math can bring when the learning is earned instead of given.  I feel the textbook only methods have robbed our students of opportunities to be creative, experiment, and discover like a mathematician does.
I feel by participating in this training I have learned many different tools to help ALL students successful in learning Algebra content.
Students don't expect to come in and use the book everyday. They know they will be responsible for thinking about and explaining their ideas and answers. They come in asking if we're doing an activity or often refer to something we've done when they explain their answer. ("Well, I knew it the graph would be a V shape because the function had absolute value signs. That was on the poster we made.") My students are also feeling more comfortable with the graphing calculators which is key for my learning disabled students who suffer from lack of number sense. Some of the activities were very difficult for my students and after trying to lead them through the process they still were not able to make the connections, so a couple times we did the activities with me doing more leading than I wanted to do.
As a result of my A4A training, I try to better connect past and current ideas and topics. Additionally, I am trying more cooperative group work while my wait time is much better (which makes my students feel a bit ackward at times, lol).
I really feel more confident using the algebra tiles, and online resources I otherwise would not have used. My students seem to enjoy the lessons a little bit more with these additions, and I also think that some students have taken responsibility for their learning because now the learning interests them. The students also seem to understand the material better seeing it displayed several different ways.
It is nice when students start to make connections.
My classroom feels enhanced rather than different. Many of the things I have done have been reinforced and made better by this course. I definitately have MORE activities which gives me more days of dazzling students!I use functions now on a daily basis rather than a now and then approach. The class has a more relaxed pace, because I am able to use prior activities as springboards.

Because we took this as a 9 week class, many of the activities presented will be used in the future but haven't been tested yet.

I appreciate the opportunity to participate in this course.
Thanks
Dawn Meacham

I like how you have said that you feel this is an enhancement of your course.  I think this AFA is a resource to use in my class to make it better.  I like many of the activities and feel that they help reach all the different learners.  I think when I get to my class (it is summer right now), I will use it as springboards to next levels.

 

What did you feel was your best lesson so far that you have dazzled students?  What were your students responses from those assignments?

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