Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Monitoring My Game Plan

First Goal Recap: My first goal is to engage my 7t grade math students in authentic problems using digital tools.

I am finding it difficult to find the information and resources I need. Unfortunately, my class is very fast paced and we are gearing up for our first district benchmark test, which must be given on a certain date. I have found great ideas and potential lesson plans to use, but unfortantely I have not found anything appropriate for my students regarding rational numbers.

I have decided I need to modify my plan. Originally I had my timeline set to implement a problem-based type learning activity that utilizes technology by next week. In order to ensure I am implementing an activity that builds on my students’ learning, I want to extend my timeline. I want to wait until the beginning of December. Due to Christmas break; my math-pacing guide has a lull in December, which proposes the perfect time to implement a project. I do not want to implement an authentic problem that can be solved completed in a fifty-minute period. Authentic problems are not neatly packaged in a certain time frame and I want to allow flexibility during this learning curve. As Dr. Peggy Ertmer states in “Enriching Content Area Learning Experiences with Technology, Part 1” part of integrating technology effectively relies on a teacher’s confidence (Laureate Education, Inc., 2010).

During my research for this learning goal, I have learned that authentic learning problems do not have to be complicated. I am finding it harder to find ways to integrate technology into activities within the limits and confines of my school’s resources. My question remains the same: how do others use technology in fast-paced math classes? I find by the time I get technology, such as computers, passed out, my time left in class is limited.

Second Goal Recap: My second goal is to use a variety of formats to communicate with parents and students.

My goal specifically revolves around using Edmodo to interact with students and parents. I have found many resources, specifically from my colleagues. I have two colleagues who already use Edmodo in their classroom and have shared the ways they implement it within their content area. I have already created a parent letter, which introduces Edmodo, and gains parent permission for students to use Edmodo. I have also set up individual sections on my Edmodo site for each class period, along with an introduction activity.

At this time, I do not need to modify my plan. My students will be registered and utilizing Edmodo within the next two weeks as scheduled. So far, I have learned that Edmodo can be used in a variety of ways to enhance student participation and communication.

Laureate Education, Inc. (Executive Producer). (2010). Enriching content area learning with technology, part 1 [Webcast]. Integrating technology across the content areas. Baltimore, MD: Author.


  1. I am glad you are having success with Edmodo and I can sympathize with your first problem. I have been trying to find something I can use with The Jungle by Upton Sinclair. Unfortunately, I have not been able to find what I need. I was hoping the Library of Congress would have something. They have a great site on political cartoons, but not so much on interactive tools for the novel.

    I noticed what you said about benchmark tests and how such exams inhibit your timeline and creativity. My district is beginning work on Common Core, RtI, and SBE. This is going to consume us, I fear, and we will not be able to create interesting assessments that engage the kids. We will be making plans only to meet assessment scores.

    1. Rachel-

      This is a problem! I find we focus so much on standards and how to test them that time is taken away from coming up with interesting, creative, and effective lessons.

  2. Rachel,
    I totally sympathize with the lack of time for creativity because of mandatory testing. Throw into the mix; I am still a member of the Ida B. Wells Fellowship and I sit on the textbook committee, so I miss time with my students, which gives me even less class time for test preparation. In fact, I spent the whole day on Thursday in meetings with textbook sales associates. I noticed one amazing thing; all of the College Prep books are online with online activities and some even have a space for setting up discussion boards, similar to what we use at Walden. I also noticed that the online activities are much less prominent for the honors and AP classes, where we use college textbooks. However, the new CP books also have button on the online version to help our diverse students. You can have the book read to you (audio), you can change the reading level with a button set for a student who is ELL, or a student who has not mastered the written word. Truly amazing things are coming out of education research and going into textbooks. However, none of this helps me with preparing and enacting creative projects with my students.

    1. I meant to address Danielle, not Rachel. My mistake.

  3. Danielle,

    As a ninth grade math teacher, my experience it quite similar to what you have shared. I am struggling with implementing technology tools and resources effectively into the classroom due to the limited availability. Like you, I too share in the complications with time, pacing charts, and benchmarks. As I approach the eighth week of school I feel that I have spent the majority of my time testing, in meetings, and many other "teacher" duties. I would love just be able to teach and really connect with my students and I feel that the right technology will make that possible.

    I like that you are taking the time to keep up with your timeline and keep your students and the other school "stuff" in mind. I think that December is a great time for a project. At that time students will be able to apply everything they have learned in the semester as a final culminating task to bring it all together.

    I hope to have my Edmodo site up and running within the next two weeks. I think this resource will be helpful for both myself and my students. I am positive that it will enhance each of my students' learning experience. Great post, you seem to be on the right track. Good luck!


  4. Danielle,

    I understand your struggle to implement technology and projects into such a fast paced curriculum. I also teach a high stakes class and my 11th graders take 2 state exams in my class. Luckily (or unfortunately...depending on the situation), we are on block scheduling and I have an hour and forty minutes with each class. Do you have an interactive whiteboard? You could use Internet resources and project them onto the board and even have students come up. I know our math teachers use document cameras all the time to show student work to the class and go through problems together. I have the same struggles with trying to implement projects in my classroom. Time is our biggest issue. I also like how you point out what Dr.Ertmer says about teachers needing to be confident with technology. Like anything, it is difficult to teach if you don't know it really well yourself. Thank you for your post, good luck!

  5. Math seems like it would be one of the more challenging subjects to integrate technology and the complications you ran into only support this claim. I feel like a program such as Excel should be taught in math. Many types of math operations can be applied in Excel and it is an extremely functional, practical tool. Maybe there is an Excel project that can be assigned.

    -Alexander D. Veltz