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  • Mary's Progress Log

    Posted by Mary Manske on November 25, 2019 at 10:46 pm

    My goal is to have fewer goals and better articulate what I want to focus on. 

    1. I want to improve my implementation of tasks, both in terms of the five practices and in terms of using tasks intentionally to introduce concepts. (I vaguely do both of those things, I am good at neither).

    2. I want my students to both talk more about math and improve their number sense. So I want to have routines to help encourage that. I’ve had a good routine around Estimation 180 for years, but I switched up the way I do Mental Math. I like it a lot so far but I’m not super intentional about where I place each series (the series themselves are good but I think I could use them to support instruction a little more). I have a lot of other routines I would like to incorporate, but thats no longer a routine its just a mess. So I need to focus on what kinds of routines to do. To that end, I’m trying to organize the ideas I have around these things, like problem strings, stand and talks, number talks (and dot and pattern and whatever), VNPS, other things where I make them talk to each other. 

    3. Mix up units more. A longer term goal would be mixing the units together, but in the interim, instead of doing one day on solving two step equations followed by one day on solving equations with like terms followed by the distributive property–mix up the days and what we’re doing and switch back and forth more. This has been going well so far. 

    4. Provide fluency practice that doesn’t suck. And actually helps. (related to the routines but a lot of my students really need this)

    5. Work with my planning team to implement the 5 practices (this is our team focus for the year).

    6. Nail Conor down. We teach a summer math intensive (that is awesome) together and he’s on my planning team. We always have great discussions and he has a lot of good ideas but sometimes he is impossible and drives me crazy. He’s a close friend and ridiculously over committed (he’s doing National Board this year and last year won Debate Coach of the Year) and I want him to focus more (that sounds bratty, but I know its something he wants too). 

    7. Decide what role I want learning goals to play in my instruction (I am not even trying to define this right now). 

    8. Figure out how to move towards a more standards based grading system (within the confines of our system)

    9. Do much of the above while being a team player–I really love my team and I want to be respectful and also work on more lasting change. 

    Really specifically:

    -Do a Stand & Talk once a week

    -Give students an opportunity to talk to each other at least 3 days a week (really 5 but I HAVE to do 3)

    -Mix content within each unit

    -Do more tasks (ok, not that specific)

    Clearly, the less goals thing is going well…

    Mary Manske replied 2 years, 10 months ago 2 Members · 32 Replies
  • 32 Replies
  • Mary Manske

    December 2, 2019 at 6:58 pm

    New Goals 

    A. Student Discussion and Stand and Talks. This is working but I need to be more intentional. I will carve out some time these week and make a bank of problems that I can pull into easily. 

    B. I will revise the rate units that comes next. 

    C. I will work with my team on choosing & using tasks, focusing especially on Anticipatory work. CC and I will try to get together to do some more focused work on this. 

    D. Make a more final decision around where I want to start in terms of: spiraling (within units for now), learning goals (with multiple levels) or grading differently.

    Responses to the goal list above:

    1. My team is currently focusing on Anticipatory work. I’m going to let that do it for this one for now.

    2. I need to make notecards or something. I think if I had banks of both number talks and stand & talks to draw from, I would do a little better at making them regular practice. My goal is to do a stand & talk at least once a week.

    3. Work on our rates unit which starts Friday. Had a great meeting with my coteacher last Wednesday and met with my team today. Time to start pulling out pieces and figuring out where they go. I think we did a pretty good job of this with equations–and we gave a quiz last Wednesday that had great scores, especially in the morning class. My best friend, who teaches linearly, did not have nearly as good of results, so hopefully those are connected.

    4. This is basically 2.

    5. This is 1

    6. Trying to schedule something for winter break for us to just have some time to discuss and plan.

    7 & 8. Learning Goals and SBG–I think these fall in somewhat with mixing everything together more. I’m focusing on mixing & spiraling more first, but I’m not sure if that’s the right choice.

    9. I think I’ve got this one for now at least.

  • Mary Manske

    December 17, 2019 at 9:33 pm


    A. Student Discussion and Stand and Talks. This is working but I need to be more intentional. I will carve out some time these week and make a bank of problems that I can pull into easily. FAIL. Still need to do this (we did one stand & talk but I can’t quite figure out what to do for the next one and want one this week…)

    B. I will revise the rate units that comes next. MOSTLY DONE. Still in this unit, and still needs tweaking for next year, but improvement.

    C. I will work with my team on choosing & using tasks, focusing especially on Anticipatory work. CC and I will try to get together to do some more focused work on this. ONGOING, but we haven’t accomplished much. CC and I are going to try to get together over break. 

    D. Make a more final decision around where I want to start in terms of: spiraling (within units for now), learning goals (with multiple levels) or grading differently. DECISION: Spiral within units. I think that I would rather get it to look closer to how I want and then figure out how to assess that than decide how to change things up before reorganizing. 

    • Kyle Pearce

      January 7, 2020 at 8:25 pm

      Hi @Mary-Manske!

      I’ve really enjoyed watching your progress log to date. Bravo on being so committed to starting, consistently reflecting, and revising it!
      In regards to this particular update, I’m curious about your rates unit. Is that the unit you are working on now? How is that going?
      Have you checked out The Concept Holding Your Students Back course? It is all about the roadmap to proportional relationships including ratio and rate!

  • Mary Manske

    January 6, 2020 at 10:03 pm

    *I’m really struggling to organize my routines. The Stand & Talks are going decently, and we’ve been doing a good job of coming up with places to incorporate these–did one today, another last week, and have a list of a few for next unit. The rest is…not good. 

    I’m particularly frustrated and disappointed about Mental Math. I still need to figure out how to set up a bank of stuff and then use it. I have so many options for Estimation/Number Talks/Mental Math that I get overwhelmed by the options and do…nothing. I can’t seem to figure out how to be more intentional and organized so I can implement. 

    *Revise and spiraling is going pretty well. Another teacher + my coteacher and I had good discussions about how to mix the next two units together…and then our course lead shot me down (a little) because the two units break across semesters. I think we can still do it but will need to be careful. It was great to have all three of us discussing it. 

    *Choosing a task is going…poorly. We’re struggling to articulate clearly enough both what we want to do and how we want to go about it. We also can’t seem to decide what should come first–do we pick something and work on anticipating, building that skill so that we can add others later? Start on something else? Choose a task that we can work on everything all at once? To add to that, some of the team intially felt like anything we do has to be BIG–take at least a period, be complicated and long, have a lot of parts. 3/4 of us have read the 5 practices, 2 of us read/reread recently. I can’t figure out where we’re stuck and can’t seem to help getting unstuck :/

    I have my evaluation sometime next week so I will be interested to talk with my boss about her thoughts around some of these. I would really like to improve with the routines and feel especially guilty about the Mental Math. 

    • Kyle Pearce

      January 7, 2020 at 8:26 pm

      Love to hear that you’re implementing Stand and Talks!
      ​Can you describe the other routines you’re hoping to get in place, but are struggling with?

  • Mary Manske

    January 7, 2020 at 9:23 pm

    Rates wraps up tomorrow. We did a midstream switch three years ago and have been refining since–we taught it as: this is a ratio (practice), this is a proportion, now lets write a proportion from a word problem, these are percents, here is unit conversions, the end. We now teach it much more as how rates work in context, how it ties into slope (which they’ve maybe previously learned-ish). One of the major focuses is to be able to represent a proportional situation using a table, a graph, a list of ordered pairs, a rate, a unit rate and a direct variation equations (or any combo thereof). As written the unit is that, then a week of proportions (but focusing on them more as rates instead of lets cross multiply), then percents & unit conversions. We just moved stuff forward and back, so we started previewing some percents on day 3, did proportions on day 4, did more rates, etc. An ultimate goal is to do better at spiraling overall* but I don’t think thats the right priority right now for a variety of reasons (not including more minor things like Do Nows and tying content together).

    I have checked out the course, but thats it (haven’t completed). The unit started beginning of December, but I look forward to finishing the course and making some suggestions for next year. I really enjoyed it so far and am learning so much about proportional reasoning here and through Pam Harris’ resources as well. 

    *Ignoring the part where I’m trying to mix the next two units together….

    • Kyle Pearce

      January 14, 2020 at 7:29 pm

      Hey @mary-manske!
      Rock and roll! Love to hear that you’re learning a ton about proportional relationships via the Academy and through Pam Harris’ work.

      Have you checked out the Hot Chocolate task? We are building it out to be a 6 day experience as I type this… Day 1 and 2 are up… with the others ready to go, just needing to be added to the web.

      Check it out here:

      If you use it, let me know how it goes!

      Hot Chocolate

  • Mary Manske

    January 7, 2020 at 9:44 pm

    FYI, I teach a daily double period, so I’m working with almost two hours. Hence the large quantity of routines/resources I want to incorporate–my class is always packed and I run out of time but I think I can/should prioritize differently. 

    Last year I started every period with a Do Now (usually relating to that day’s topic), Mental Math (a worksheet based version I am no longer doing) and then Estimation 180(whole protocol involving recording, graphs and summarizing data). 

    The Mental Math I have a good bank of *actual* things for–largely whole group focusing on a strategy like doubling or add ten or something–but I am probably trying to make it match too closely, can’t organize it, and then end up skipping it. Mental Math I think should be done every day. 

    The Do Now I think I could do other things with, so maybe other routines could come in there?

    I’ve been doing Estimation 180 for…eight years? and I think its really good. I really like Esti-Mysteries too though. Is it bad to switch it up? What about Estimation Clipboards? Do I need to estimate every day?

    Stand & Talks I don’t think need to happen every day but my goal is about 2/week. These were reasonably good at thinking of to tie in with content but I would like to have some others available to throw in wherever–I used the number grid from one of the Summit Presentations (Sunil Singh?) one day but I would like to have others so that if I can’t think of a good one that ties into content I’m still able to do 2/week. 

    Mental Math is tied into fluency but I’ve read about other things that I think could do more and are equally important–I think Number Talks would be great here. I really like the idea of students explaining strategies. I also like doing dot talks–it is amazing to get almost everyone to volunteer at some point because they feel safe (and that they must not the rest of the time). I’ve done both of those but very poorly & sporadically. This is probably the biggest area of improvement but I have no organization whatsoever here. If I had a list I could probably do a lot better at this. (Also I know I should prepare for them more than a list but I think I need to get the ball rolling by actually *doing* them and then I can work on doing them well.)

    And here’s where we start to go off a cliff…

    WODB is fun (could do as a Do Now sometimes?)

    I’ve seen Pam Harris present on Number Strings (trying to get my hands on her book but they couldn’t find it for me) and I think I’d like to try those–does that substitute for a Number Talk? Only sometimes? Never?

    I’d like to do more with 2 Truths and a Lie somewhere. 

    Some of these are more instructional strategies but some are definitely routines (and I think I need to make them routine to be able to do them in a way that doesn’t turn into a resource-bonanza-mess). 

    I tried making a spreadsheet, I tried making a list and I tried vaguely setting some goals. But none of those are really working. My implementation is really spotty and I’m not doing the things I wanted too. 

  • Mary Manske

    January 15, 2020 at 12:58 pm

    I just checked it out, looks like the first three days are up. Can you tell me a little about what you mean by a 6 day experience? It looks like some days are a math talk or similar, so I’m wondering if it can be used while doing other things as a supplement (like 15 minutes a day) or if the idea is for it to take the bulk of instructional time. I really liked it though–I was confused for a second when day 2 was only quadrilaterals but now I both get it and think its brilliant 🙂

    (Also I don’t know to tag you in a reply.)

    • Kyle Pearce

      January 15, 2020 at 7:28 pm

      Hi @Mary-Manske!

      So glad you checked it out. I’m happy to say that I literally just finished posting the remainder of the unit.

      With each task, you’ll notice a “GUIDE” tab. That’s where you want to start BEFORE the lesson as it is your teacher guide to explain the intentionality and how you want to prepare for the lesson. 
      The other tabs are typically:

      • “SPARK” (for sparking curiosity)
      • “SENSE MAKING” (for diving into the problem solving process)
      • “REVEAL” (to share the final “answer” or what really happened)

      Some of the tasks that are multi-day like the Hot Chocolate Task have other tabs on some days like:

      • Math Talk (a number talk that builds on the previous day’s learning)
      • Purposeful Practice (a way to dive deeper into the concept)
      • Consolidate (prompts for a student consolidation journal and/or reflection)
      • Check In (a formative assessment opportunity)

      Go have a look now that it’s FULLY UP and let me know your thoughts! Be sure to start with the GUIDE tab though… the other tabs are the content that you’d consider using DURING the lesson with kids. 

      Also, you COULD chunk it up into pieces of a lesson, but I’d recommend trying it as a unit of study (or mini-unit, if that seems more reasonable?).

      Oh and PS: to tag someone, it is usually @firstname-lastname OR @firstnamelastname OR they may have changed their username in their profile. For Jon, it’s @jon and for me, it’s @kyle 🙂
      You can cheat and see how to tag people by “hovering” your mouse over their name and looking down in the bottom left of your browser. You should see their username in the URL! 🙂

  • Mary Manske

    January 16, 2020 at 9:23 pm

    @kyle It looks great–it would have been awesome during our rates unit (we do some similar things, especially with the rate tables–its what we’ve been building out for the last two years) but I like how this cycles back and forth between different ratios and representations. I’m trying to determine how much time each day will take so I can determine where I can fit it in. I definitely want to do all 6 days in order. 

    I’m typing out my thoughts here–feel free to give me feedback but you don’t have to analyze my rambling. Several of the things are 0 time, because its how I would do a thing I do anyhow (like do that notice and wonder, which I would do anyhow, or a math talk, which I *mean* to do anyhow).

    Day 1 would just be the how many scoops, plus sharing out, plus I’m not that good at it, so hopefully 20 minutes (notice & wonder doesn’t count to me time wise, that happens almost every day somehow).

    Day 2 the math talk is also 0–would it be a bad idea to include the ratio tables as homework? Should it be done immediately after the math talk? 

    Day 3 N/W 0, table completion…maybe have them start independently and then share with a partner? in a group? go to boards? Can I project their work and have them explain to share out? I really like how the strategies are outlined too–thats the part I’m most afraid of. I’m good at monitoring, but I feel like I never think of half the solution methods. This should maybe take 20  minutes but will take me 30.

    Day 4 Count by 9s 0, Same set up as yesterday, theoretically more efficient, probably not, 30

    Day 5 Math talk 0, ratio table definitely in class here, probably 20-30 minutes, while I have a coteacher so we can pull an intervention group.

    Day 6 Math talk (I commented, I’m confused, regardless probably 0). Wondering when to do the check in. Also wondering if I can extend some of these–part of  me wants to (they’re linear! We can write equations!) and part of me worries about things getting lost if I do that. 

    I can probably figure out how to swing around 30 minutes a day pretty soon and will share this all with my coteacher during finals in two weeks–thanks for putting together a great task!

  • Mary Manske

    January 16, 2020 at 9:42 pm

    Progess log (as opposed to replies/thinking in type)

    -Routines: I made a spreadsheet with some mental math. I’ve done it every day but Wednesday. It’s a start, but I still don’t trust myself here. My last stand & talk went really well but now I wonder if I used the right things/should have done it earlier/etc. (It was on compound inequalities, but I think I could have done interval notation earlier? I used the same line with 4 representations of the same “and” inequality, but now I’m wondering if having maybe 4-6 problems (all “and” instead of _<x<_?) would be better so they would notice and wonder and v or? Estimation I’ve done several times but I have too many things to doooo and I don’t prioritize. Or can’t figure out what to prioritize. Or something. This is driving me nuts. Don’t get me started on math talks…

    -Adding in improving Do Nows–I want to get away from doing them related to current content unless we feel like we need that info to group students that day. A mix of WODB, notice & wonder and spiral review topics. I do really the tone the first two set though, because they are acessible and start class off where everyone can/is participate. 

    -We’re heading into finals, so I need to look at the next few units and start mapping things out–I should have time to do that once I write an AP final and figure out their review. (Assuming I can grade that many free responses reasonably efficiently). There is no assessment for our next unit (functions), which on the one hand there should be but if there isn’t I can more easily mix it with linear equaitons so I have to decide which matters. I wrote in another post here about thoughts on the Hot Chocolate task and do want to figure out somewhere to do this. 

    -WHY IS IT IMPOSSIBLE TO CHOOSE SOMETHING AND DO IT?? We had an hour to work on this during PD Wednesday and I *think* we’re going to focus on Anticipatory work and not worry about the discussion. It should go as part of linear equations, I pushed for at the beginning, possibly a growing pattern a la YouCubed. Progress is maddeningly slow here.

    [We’re also hampered by the disaster that is our Algebra 2 team. In the middle of trying to pick a task they sent the course lead an email asking for the rubric to our stats project. Because they want to do it–but  not as hard. With the juniors. Who all did a…harder version??…as freshmen. It took us awhile to reply “here, they’ve already done it, maybe you can work with Mary to up the rigor”–and then a reply of “we’ll probably include more distributions and let us know if you have other ideas of how to up the rigor”. I’m the only Stats teacher, they have no idea what they are doing, don’t seem super interested in actually getting help (yes, I’ve offered, a lot of times) and are lying about at least part of what they are doing. And I can’t escape the train wreck because Stats. And we’re supposed to write departmental common assessments. (So I guess this one is at least only partially my fault.)]*

    *This has gotten CC talking again about breaking our team next year to go fix Algebra 2. Algebra 1 is in a good place. Exponentially better than Algebra 2. But it could be better. Which is the better choice? Really kill it at A1 and set an example? Go get A2 to at least be passable? I can take three preps, but I can’t do a good job at both of the things above at once–I’d have to do Algebra 1 as written.

  • Mary Manske

    January 25, 2020 at 2:08 pm

    Next week is finals, and I have lots of time* so I want to get the groundwork for second semester laid. 

    -Finish Building Powerful Numeracy

    -Decide what Mental Math I am doing each day for the following two weeks (I’ve been good on Estimation lately so I don’t think I need to prep it.)

    -Write at least five stand & talks (can be for whenever as long as the first two hit the first week of the semester). Include at least one random one that I can do when I can’t come up with anything relevant. Force my evaluating administrator to come see it. 

    -Do Nows for the next two weeks: try to include some notice & wonder on patterns, particularly if they can then be used later in the day for the lesson. WODB is fun too. 

    -See where I think the hot chocolate task could fit (with functions? not sure…)

    -Long term: think about my goals for instruction & what I want my class to look like–is it totally spiralled? How do I do that with a team? Do I care more about getting more conceptual understanding in there?

    -Choose a youCubed pattern task for us to practice anticipating with. Ideally one with thorough notes for teachers. We need to get through one to get unstuck. I’m open to suggestions here as well–functions and then linear equations are next. My goal is something where students can solve it different ways and then we can sequence them. I’ve done the above many times, so I’m comfortable with it, but don’t think half the team would be. I’m open to suggestions, but it does need to be a single straightforward task. This is not about challenging me, it is about getting my team moving forward. 

    *procrastination from the 28 sets of free responses I’ll have from my AP class. 

    • Kyle Pearce

      January 26, 2020 at 8:13 am

      I love how you are building reflection and updating your progress log into your routine. This is fantastic!

      I’m wondering if for the next week you were to select 1 thing that you want to focus on. This doesn’t mean that you can’t also “think” and reflect on other things, but to really have a “top priority” that we can aim to knock it off the list.
      It could be a low hanging fruit (i.e.: something that seems closest to achieving) or it could be something that you think is most meaningful.

      If you had to pick one, which would it be? 

  • Mary Manske

    January 26, 2020 at 4:45 pm

    Thanks for the push Kyle. 

    Mental Math is probably the easiest win; I just need to organize it. Its also not very interesting so maybe most likely to not happen. <–THIS ONE. Because I haven’t proven to be very reliable at it so far. 

    Do Nows are reasonably interesting, again mostly involving getting organized. But TBH, I can google wodb and pick something to project really quickly, so if this one doesn’t happen I can fake it. 

    Stand & Talks are harder but way more interesting and fun to write. 

    • Kyle Pearce

      February 11, 2020 at 10:03 am


      On the surface, mental math isn’t a very exciting thing, however I’ve been super excited since I started using minilessons by Cathy Fosnot. They are really intentional and the things they help kids build up towards is fantastic. You’ll notice that all of our “units” we are building out in the curiosity task tool like Hot Chocolate have that “style” of minilesson built in.
      Maybe worth a try?

  • Mary Manske

    January 27, 2020 at 10:27 pm

    Planned out the next three weeks of Mental Math! Taking on Stand & Talks next–I’m hoping to outline the next unit when I get sick of grading tomorrow so that I’m ready to meet with my coteacher on Wednesday. 

  • Mary Manske

    February 3, 2020 at 8:08 pm

    -Still need to finish Building Powerful Numeracy

    -Write two more stand & talks,  and include at least one random one that I can do when I can’t come up with anything relevant. 

    -Start outlining next unit on linear equations–there is a lot I can remix in there so this is probably going to take some time. 

    -College Board updated the CED and I need to rewrite the majority of the next 3 units, so I need to work on those schedules and assessments especially. I’d like to think of how I can spiral this but I think it is by nature already pretty spiraled (that’s what inference is) so I probably should just get my assessments written. 

    -Long term: think about my goals for instruction & what I want my class to look like–is it totally spiralled? How do I do that with a team? Do I care more about getting more conceptual understanding in there?

    Wins: planned out mental math, have Do Nows mostly ready to go, wrote several stand & talks and we *should* all be doing a task on Thursday (I’m actually doing it tomorrow). 

    I’ll focus on the assessments and linear equations unit (that should also give me opportunity for stand & talks).

  • Mary Manske

    February 13, 2020 at 10:09 pm

    @kyle I did notice that in the hot chocolate task–I don’t think we can fit that one in this year, but its definitely on my radar for next year. I like that its in there in a few places. I would eventually like to be able to be that intentional with it but I am not there yet.

    Where can I get more info on the mini lessons? Are there some that are applicable to high school? I googled but was only finding elementary and was looking for something to work with my Algebra kids.

  • Mary Manske

    February 13, 2020 at 10:19 pm

    -Write stand & talks (did it the first time but now I need more). I made a list of six ideas and we’ll brainstorm a few more tomorrow. Do 2 S/Ts next week.

    -Detail my plan for standard form of linear equations. I think my concept is solid but execution is not always my strong suit. I want to explore combinations first (in context) and use that to motivate equations to model a situation (first to check given combinations and then later to graph and see all solutions. This also gives context to x & y intercepts.

    -Point Slope before Slope Intercept. I have no idea how to introduce this in a way that isn’t lame though. I have til mid next week to figure that out, or its a worksheet :/

    -I’M GETTING NEW BOOKS. So I don’t have to rewrite the whole rest of the year in my Stats class because the new books go in order and match the CED. They should be here within two weeks and I can’t wait.

    Focus: Linear Equations–how can I rearrange, how can we start with context, where are the Stand & Talks. I’m not a lot of days ahead here, in terms of even a general idea of what’s happening. This week blew up but that is almost all I’m going to do tomorrow.

  • Mary Manske

    February 24, 2020 at 9:55 pm

    I had some good first try lessons on the way I implemented Standard form and point slope form–room for improvement, but I liked the base. And my books came today!

    I need a stand and talk for inequalities and another for parallel (I think–need to review notes) but I feel pretty prepared for the rest of this unit. I saw the new Shot Put task that seems like it will be a good fit towards the end of this unit or right after (not sure if it would make more sense to wait til after linear equations and use to intro systems or what). Systems will be the rest of this quarter after linear equations so I’ll turn my attention there soon.

    I need to redo all of my schedules for AP to match the new CED order, but that will ultimately be a lot less confusing and jumpy.

    I’ve been good with Mental Math lately, less so with Estimation. I think I need to decide what are the must-dos every day, and probably some of those are off of a menu (so estimation, mental math, stand & talk, WODB, notice & wonder, would you rather obviously all don’t need to happen in a day but which ones can sub for each other?)

    And decide if I want to apply for Desmos Fellowship–I use Desmos a lot but I don’t know how to make activities so I’m not sure I should.

  • Mary Manske

    March 10, 2020 at 10:03 pm

    My students really, really, really want me to tell them what to do. We had a super frustrating day on graphing inequalities (from an equation, we already did it in context) and the first one was in standard form. Almost everyone went to the next one, which is in slope intercept form and started blindly shoving zeros in it, staring at the results and generally puzzling over it. They want someone to say “This is ____, so do ___” We need to do more to work against that kind of attitude.

    Systems starts next week and I am excited for that–I made big edits starting a few years ago but I know there are places here where I can incorporate more tasks. I also need to find some stand & talk ideas, because I think there are great possibilities there. I do a lot at the start with informal/intuitive ideas of systems and the idea of a solution and what it means. I’ve done a lot more to prepare for that idea this year and we will see if it has paid off at all…

    Stats is taking boring time to rewrite problem sets (to match new book) but overall its better that it matches the CED so I’ll get over it.

    I want to focus on student discourse and explanation even more in the systems unit. This weekend, I need to select one or more tasks to do and then decide where they fit.

    I need to make sure that I do at least Mental Math, Estimation 180 or some similar thing every day (we have a test tomorrow and I skip when I start to feel time pressured, which I think does more harm than good).

  • Mary Manske

    March 25, 2020 at 4:58 pm

    Well here we are. The world blew up and I need to decide what my focus is.

    Stats is not too hard. I’ve been doing Zoom classes, putting together the last couple lessons in the course and am making a schedule for review. My biggest goal is to schedule a review problem every single day (I can do all those in advance). I’ll also need to decide when else to do live classes and what about, as well as set out deadlines. I gave them almost everything before we went out though, so they are in decent shape.

    Algebra. These days right now are still “enrichment” and I’m getting maaaaaybe 1/3 engagement. I’m not sure which way to go from here. I feel like options are:

    1. Continue with pretty minimal stuff: we post something every day, usually small, and some kids do it. We offer feedback (most things are posted through Google Classroom) but we’re not really accomplishing much. I’ve put a few Desmos in there too.

    2. Step it up a little with some more Desmos

    Pro: It would be more engaging/they’d be more likely to learn

    Pro: At least I can offer feedback now

    Con: I don’t think I can get them all on at the same time, so they’d basically be doing them solo. Not as much benefit–is it worth it for six kids to do a Desmos solo.

    3. Work to get a lot more engagement (probably social stuff) so that they check back in. Try more task based stuff (same con with the low engagement).

    I’m leaning more towards 1, because I think it might be a better use of time/effort to put my effort into what I want to do next year. But I feel conflicted and hate not deciding.

  • Mary Manske

    May 18, 2020 at 3:54 pm

    Well, I hate online learning :/

    The community my school is located in has one of the highest Covid rates in the state, many people are working–its not a good combination.

    I think my ideas are fine I might just be up against too much and I don’t know what else to do about that. I feel like I’m stuck between spending time on quality instruction or following up with the 75% of my students who are under/not engaged.

    My goals are the make it through the rest of this and figure out what to do for next year in the event that we don’t start school in the building.

    • Kyle Pearce

      May 18, 2020 at 4:24 pm

      Hi @Mary-Manske
      I’m so happy that you’re being transparent with the challenges we’re all facing during this difficult time. You are right about the bad combination of high COVID-19 rates + folks in your community sort of “carrying on”. This could possibly force your situation to stay this way longer than it could have gone had more measures been taken :(.

      Out of curiosity – how much time left before this school year is officially over?

      I think one of the biggest challenges we’re all facing is engagement. One thing that we have to constantly remind ourselves is that you’re doing it for those who ARE engaged as it is very unlikely to get students ‘re-engaged’ if they never started remote learning or fell off the wagon early on… don’t let that part get you down (easier said than done).

      Stick in there. You’ve got this!

  • Mary Manske

    May 18, 2020 at 9:20 pm

    Thanks Kyle–its not a great combo, although one of my key frustrations is that I think we’re so focused on the kids who have sick family members/extra responsibilities that we’re letting the bigger group of kids slide. The majority of my students are fine–bored even–but they can’t figure out how to manage an open day and 20+ emails with various forms of directions.

    Your comment about focusing on the kids who ARE engaged makes me feel a lot better–thanks for the help reframing.

    Retroactively, my biggest goal during this time was to figure out how to make it approachable and safe to join our class any time without too much confusion or guilt. I think students need a much clearer learning plan to manage all that info (heck, I can barely manage the flood of classroom emails, and half of them are just telling me things I wrote myself posted). I asked admin but their solution involved a form kids could fill out with over 100 fields (seriously)–not really going to be a first step back on the learning train. So we put together a weekly calendar, made it as clear as we could, linked everything and linked previous calendars at the bottom. I even added it to my email signature.

    We also kept up with estimation & WODB (regular schedule) and Notice & wonder (content based or when I find a particularly good graph), along with other community building stuff (hazy–coteacher does those–its like foto Friday and such).

    I’m going to focus on what I can do to up my asynchronous game for Algebra and see where we go.

    My AP Stats class is under enrolled, which happens often and sucks and I’m over it and I have no idea how I’m supposed to get anyone else to take it if we aren’t even at school.

    Anyhow, I’m supposed to have goals right?

    -Learn how to create Desmos (make my own simple activities, then CL)

    -Up my game on creating content from home. I think it helps to see *your* teacher do/explain something, not just *a* teacher. (see my other post–what exactly do I need to do that??)

    • Kyle Pearce

      May 19, 2020 at 4:01 pm

      It is great to see you continuously reflecting and planning forward.

      With the recent webinar, we shared the Shot Put task which is really helpful for building from simple substitution to solving systems of linear equations with substitution and elimination. Have a looksie if you haven’t already: Shot Put
      Also, there is a Desmos Activity Builder version here you might want to check out since Desmos Activity Builder is on your list…

  • Mary Manske

    May 19, 2020 at 5:01 pm

    Thanks Kyle. We introduced the unit with some of the weighing pictures.

    I’m struggling with how to use tasks like shot put asynchronously partially because its so slow. We’re only supposed to post once per day, so I struggle to wrap my head around how I would use each day. I feel like it might take multiple days to do each day.

    • Kyle Pearce

      May 19, 2020 at 8:45 pm

      If you’re posting only once a day, then I’d suggest posting that Desmos Activity Builder activity as students can do the whole task right from that one post…

      Might be worth a shot?

  • Mary Manske

    May 20, 2020 at 11:44 am

    We’re actually going to switch out tomorrow. I was thinking of doing Racing Cars tomorrow but I’ll check it out Shot Put too.