Saturday, April 23, 2011

Getting back to NCTM

I've avoided it long enough - I need to get back to summarizing my NCTM trip before I forget what all happened!

Session 2:  Trig Tricks You’ll Love (with Ann Coulson)

I got there late but was in time for sin/cos spaghetti, trig cut-ups, patty paper exponential folding, patty paper conic folding. The place was packed – I sat in the “gallery”.  People seemed to be enjoying the session, but I'd seen it all before.  I left early.

Session 3:   Supporting Productive Struggling in the Mathematics Classroom (with Susan May and Kathi Cook)

Problem:  Anxiety about Algebra 1  (Students have trouble transitioning to hs level, math)
Students don’t believe they can be successful
Must address student motivation in tandem with academic skills
Academic Youth Development – help students work on concept skills and identity at the same time
Mathematically proficient students… make sense of problems and persevere in solving them.
            How do you build students who persevere?
            Students who persevere… understand the role of challenging tasks in learning.                    
                        Understand that setbacks can be a natural part of learning
                        Engage in self-monitoring
                        Learn from setbacks and struggles

            Two views of intelligence:  fixed and malleable
                        Fixed:    (Their intelligence is their identity… whether good or bad)
                                    Avoid challenges and seek easy successes
                                    Desire to look smart at all costs
                                    Worry about failure and question their ability
                        Malleable:  (Have control and can change their intelligence)
                                    Pursue and enjoy challenges
                                    Careless about “looking smart” and self-instruction
                                    Engage in self-monitoring

            Need to break the cycle of kids thinking they’re stuck.    (Carol Dweck , 1999)

Metacognitive strategies – internal dialogue prompts… chart in packet
            Make a plan, Monitor work, Evaluate

Delicate balance between productive struggle and frustration… need to baby step kids into it.
The Bucket Problem  (How to split up 8 liters using only 3 liter and 5 liter containers) 
            (Use clip from Die Hard)
            Strategies:  clarify question, trial and error (brute force), discuss with others

Why do we need persistent learners?  Because the problems get bigger.
Problem solving tool is intended to be used side-by-side when they’re working on a challenging task.

And then you move on to problems that might take several days to solve….
            Miles of Tiles: The Value of Persistence
            5 levels of problems (A, B, C, D, E)
Your role as a teacher is to help them be a problem solver, not to tell them the answers to the questions.
NOYCE Foundation

These are my (somewhat disjoined) notes from the session... there's a better summary at Lisa Henry's blog.

Session 4:  Fortifying the First Five (with Robert Gerver and Richard Sgroi)

Need some help getting your class started?  Check this out.  This was the one session I attended where the documents were online.  Isn't it nice?  

Session 5:  Student Centered Projects to Enrich a Precalculus Class (with Masha Albrecht and Dan Plonsey)

These two had some great examples of student projects for precalc.  I need to get together a list of these and the ones from my last session to help me plan out my precalc course next year.  They gave a handout (but no link, darnit).

Session 6:  Conics with patty paper and the TI-Nspire  (don't know name of presenter)

Using the TI-Nspire to mimic the paper folding that is used to illustrate conics.  I was getting a little frustrated with it and left early.  I definitely need to see if I can borrow one from school for the summer (we have a new class set that no one knows how to use) and figure it out.

Session 7:  A Day in the Life of a Fractal (with Neil Cooperman)

zzzz.....  Oh, sorry about that.  I was expecting a lot more out of this session.  The speaker went through a lot of the upper-level math that creates fractals and examples of them.  What I was looking for was how I could use this in my classes (I'd just done something with the Koch Snowflake in class in regards to the geometric sequences formed) and he didn't hit that at all.  Fortunately, in the last 5 minutes his wife stood up and showed us a website she uses with her 6th grade classes to create fractals.  That saved the session from being a complete washout for me.  The website is Aros fractals.

Session 8:  The Unit Circle and Geogebra (with Zyad Bawatneh)

I'm wondering if this was the guy's first presentation... he seemed very unorganized, though he did have a flash drive to share his presentation/documents on (I'm glad that I'd taken my laptop and actually had a battery long enough to use it during the session!).  He went through the "making a sine graph out of the unit circle" process (that I do in class using string and spaghetti) using geogebra.  It was pretty cool and showed me that I need to spend some more time with geogebra this summer.

Session 9:  More Precalculus Projects (with Luajean Bryan)

GREAT ideas.  Need to summarize them for my own use.  We were given a book of her projects (including student work, rubrics, etc) and a disk with all of the files on it.  Very cool.

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