Skip to main content

Allowing for change

When I was interviewing for this position, one of the things I wanted to make clear was that when it comes to teacher-change, I wouldn't proceed too aggressively until I had dealt with the issue of time-and-space. Teachers at our school are extraordinarily busy; they wear many hats (teacher, coach, club leader, service trip organizer, residence staff ... and then they have lives) and tend to be over-scheduled during the school day. Yes we get great holidays but during the time we're in school, it's an 8-5:30 day followed by planning and marking overnight, not to mention the evening and weekend responsibilities as part of our academic and co-curricular components. So, if we're going to ask these folks to think deeply about their practice, we need to find the time by making their present work easier and more efficient. All those situations where they run in to an impediment, when they don't have the information they need at the time they need it or if they have to repeat a task that could be automated ... those are what I'm looking for right now. If I can save 1 minute out of their day, that's almost three hours over the year that I can than give to them as learning time. My push for maximizing time goes back to an old book: "Every minute counts" So far, I think I've saved about 5 minutes per teacher per year -- when we do our report cards, some of our students get letter grades rather than numeric (for a variety of reasons). The Academic Head kept a list and posted it every reporting period. Teacher would have to continually check against the list and adjust the report card manually. But the report card system would keep resetting it back to numeric at any mark change or addition -- and the teachers would be embarrassed when the number showed up on the report if they didn't continually check and double-check. No more... the AH's list is now on the student database and the report system checks against it and replaces the number with the appropriate letter. Frustration lessened and time saved. _There is time to change... but you have to make it._ Image: == Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic License  by  emilywjones  ==
Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Escape Room / BreakOut in OneNote

[[Part 2 of this article is here: Link]]

So when I was visiting Anna in Edinburgh during March Break, she showed me how she used Password-Protected OneNote sections within the OneNote ClassNotebook to help students check their work -- she set the password to the correct answer, so they knew they had it right when the Section opened up.

I figured I could use this for Math Review, so I set aside a couple of hours (turned out to be 3 hours but a fair chunk of that was solution-time) the other night to put an Exam Review together for my Grade 10 Mathematics course.  I pulled together as many multiple choice questions and short answer questions on the topics as I could Google and tried to balance each Section with a mix of topics and then threw in a couple of pop-culture questions, too.  The students worked on the problems in each section and used the answers as passwords to unlock the next section until they got to the Prize section.
Result?  Near total continual engagement for the 60 min…

Desmos, OneNote & Replay

So using Desmos activities are a great way to encourage exploration and discussion in math class -- if you haven't tried them, I encourage it.  They're collected at https://teacher.desmos.com/ 

But ... Desmos doesn't give you quite enough.  It doesn't have a way of capturing the work that the student does within their space, and it doesn't allow for annotation of class contributions as we come together to discuss.  Well, not surprisingly, OneNote comes to the rescue. 
Using the Windows shortcut Windows-Shift-S it is really quick to snag the Desmos screen and pop it into a waiting OneNote page.  From there, we can grab our pen and (using wireless projection) talk about what all the different responses mean and where to go from there.
(An aside : one of the nice features of Desmos activities are the way you can hit PAUSE and it will pause all the screens of the students working.  I always give them a heads up "10 seconds to pause..." and it's refreshing…

Teacher Professional Development and Microsoft OneNote

During the first three weeks of July, I have the amazing opportunity to work at the Park City Mathematics Institute.  It is, without exaggeration, the best professional development opportunity for teachers of mathematics.  Participants spend three weeks thinking deeply about mathematics and mathematics education.

There are three main aspects of PCMI:

learning mathematicsreflection on practice (RoP)becoming a resource to others.I'm part of the team for RoP and in charge of the third aspect, in which participants consider a gap in professional development back at their home districts and work in small groups to help fill that hole by developing a rich PD seminar on that topic.

It is not easy to develop professional development.  Teachers who haven't written PD have to patiently learn how to write (essentially) lesson plans for someone else.

This year, I used Microsoft OneNote to facilitate the process.  We have a central OneNote Notebook through which I lay out the daily schedule…