Well, it's a sure sign of spring when the snow has melted, the kids have gone absolute stir-crazy for summer, and my colleagues and I gathered for our last Algebra for All After-School meeting.

 

This time, we had so many things to talk about - there wasn't much time to waste.

 

First on the agenda was the upcoming final project for our last face-to-face meeting in May.  I came across an astounding lesson in the Connected Math series that we tweaked and adjusted to fit the standards of an Algebra class.  That took up an incredible amount of time as we tried to decide what to include and what to throw out.  We all agreed that the "hook" for this lesson would generate a large amount of interest for our students.  We also decided that with the recent FAIL on the Spaghetti Bridge lesson, we wanted to create something that would allow a little more structure, only for the students that need it.  It appears that a couple of us will have the time to fit in a "test run" in our classes before presenting this lesson to colleagues at Algebra for All.  It appears as though we will just show the Power Point at the face-to-face meeting rather than having colleagues test this one out.

 

Other topics included how to make our last dollar stretch as the talk of education cutbacks loom on the horizon.  We're going to need to be very creative in the coming months/years!

 

The new video flip-cameras are out and on the prowl.  We shared a couple of ideas for lesson plans... one of which being this project.  Some students may be ambitious enough to create a video for their project, and wouldn't you know - we'll have a video camera available for them to use.

 

Finally, we talked about a documentary seen by a couple of members of the group, "Waiting for Superman".  Enlightening and frustrating all at once!  We are falling behind the rest of the world, we need to make some changes in the way we teach,..... but the good news is that Algebra for All is certainly a step in the right direction towards making some changes for our students!

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Tags: connected math project, final project, flip video cams, waiting for superman, year long school

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Comment by Beverly George on May 11, 2011 at 9:05am
I guess I've thought of year-round school..... it would certainly be a challenge, but I don't think necessarily impossible.  The only reason kids are "shutting down" this time of year (and believe me I experienced that mode in FULL FORCE yesterday) is because they know the end-of-the-year is nearly here.  I'm betting that if they knew it was only going to be for a couple of weeks, there wouldn't be that tendency to completely shut down a month before summer break was actually here.  Maybe.....
Comment by KC Mowrey on May 11, 2011 at 6:49am
Year round school is an adjustment but for us it would add an outdoor component not available now.  The kids adjust.  We have had one elementary going year round ...confusing as they run on their own schedule but 9 weeks on 2 weeks off and 5 in the summer.  It allows teachers and students to rest and recharge between 9weeks sessions.  There is a week of remediation and it allows  time for some families to vacation off season.  Teachers I know who have worked this love it. But it makes taking summer school college classes a bit of a challenge.
Comment by Jamie Tuch on April 26, 2011 at 9:16pm
Our last meeting we also were working on out final project.  We are going to incorporate our video camera into a lesson using tinker plots.  It seems that the end of school year comes so fast that it is almost impossible to cover all of the standards that the state requires.  The kids have already begun shutting down for the year.  Seniors especially.  I don't know how year round school would ever work for these kids.  They can barely handle 9 months of school.

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