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Make Math Moments Academy Forums Mini-Course Reflections Spiralling Math Class Michael Rubin – How I Spiraled For the First Time

  • Michael Rubin – How I Spiraled For the First Time

    Posted by Michael Rubin on July 3, 2019 at 9:31 pm

    Greetings fellow math educators (and prospective spiralers?),

    I’ve been working on spiraling over the last month and wanted to share my process with the Make Math Moments that Matter community members that are interested in spiraling, wondering how one might start, and how to deal with challenges I encountered. 

    Jon and Kyle’s Make Math Moments Grassroots Workshop (and the course here on the Academy) inspired me to spiral my High School Course 1 curriculum. One motivator for spiraling is that my classes are designated for our English Language Learners and my classes are projected to double in size as students enroll over the course of the year.

    Many thanks to @Jon and @Kyle for helping me navigate the rougher waters of my spiraling process during several math mentoring moments! If interested in hearing more details about my process, how it evolved, and some more challenges that popped up, look for those mentoring moments podcasts which should be coming out soon =).

    In order to include screen-shots in the body of the post, I’ve continued this forum post in a google doc. I’ve separated the document into 6 sections. I’ve provided links to them for quick access if you return to this post:

    1. Content Knowledge
    2. Task-Finding
    3. Progression Mapping
    4. Spiraling
    5. Day-to-Day Planning
    6. Continuing/Final Thoughts

    If you have any questions, comments, suggestions, or would like to share how you planned for and spiraled your class, please share!

    Thanks,

    Michael

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    Michael Rubin replied 3 years, 4 months ago 6 Members · 14 Replies
  • 14 Replies
  • Betina Gross

    Member
    July 4, 2019 at 11:37 am

    Thank you for sharing Michael. I am also in the midst of trying to spiral my grade 6 math course next year. I appreciate the way you set up your planning and shared your thoughts. I will definitely use it as a way to approach this overwhelming yet exciting endeavor. 

  • Michael Rubin

    Member
    July 5, 2019 at 1:37 pm

    “Overwhelming” and “Exciting,” great ways to put it! Let me know how it goes. I’d love to see what you come up with and how you organize your work. 

  • Katrien Vance

    Member
    July 5, 2019 at 3:55 pm

    Michael – Thank you!  If you check out comments to the podcast, you’ll see that I had an epiphany while listening to you 3 and realized I’m not really spiraling.  I’m grouping activities together under a theme and intending to hit a lot of kinds of thinking and learning (and NCTM content standards) under that theme.  That is, my hope is that if someone asked the kids what they were studying in math, they might say, “How to predict when zombies will take over the world” rather than “Exponential functions” or “Whether our trailer’s ramp is ADA-compliant” rather than “slope as a ratio, angle, and percentage.”  It’s similar to spiraling, though, in that I am now about to search tasks and put them into different categories of these themes/cycles I’ve developed.  I see that you said that this part of your process was really time-consuming.  I wonder if you have any tips or things not to do?  Congratulations to you and your students–I think you’re going to have a wonderful year! – Katrien

  • Michael Rubin

    Member
    July 5, 2019 at 5:02 pm

    Hi Katrien!

    I’m really curious to see what you create. During my mentoring moment, Kyle and Jon re-iterated how important it is for students to have explicit conceptual understanding of what they are doing. I think having an overarching context like “zombies taking over the world” and  “ADA requirements” could help students with that. 

    <span style=”font-family: inherit; font-size: inherit;”>I don’t think there is a right process, but if I had to start again, I’d give myself the following advice:</span>

    • After planning big ideas, plan progressions first. I had to spend a lot of time re-organizing because I went right to task finding.
    • Set a timer for reviewing tasks: I got side-tracked by doing some for 20-30 minutes.
    • Use task search engines to find tasks related to certain concepts instead of looking at all tasks in a database (which can be done later).
    • Look for structures that are flexible.

    I think it’s awesome that you are doing this with a colleague. I have a feeling it will make things much easier for you. I for one drove my (english teacher) wife bonkers as I tried to talk out math ideas and structures with her. Lol.

    Thanks,

    Mike

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  • Brian Arnot

    Member
    July 8, 2019 at 12:06 pm

    I was listening to this podcast last night and one key question that I am trying to sort out is how will you assess the students learning? 

    I have been using standards based grading with my 8th grade and algebra classes for about 9 years now. So students receive separate grades for each standard and each unit test has between 2 – 4 standards on it. Our assessment cycle is still similar to units so Summative assessments occur about every 3 – 5 weeks, with a Trimester Final covering all standards from that term every 12 weeks.

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    • Michael Rubin

      Member
      July 8, 2019 at 2:46 pm

      Hi Brian!

      In my district, we are on a semester system with three 6-week marking periods each. We have district-wide benchmark assessments at week 10 of each semester and the semester finals. Our contract changed for this school year so that we have to update grades every 3 weeks.

      My #1 goal is to send the message to students that I value growth and mathematical thinking. I plan to assign grades when required and never to individual assignments. I will also provide time for students to work on unmet assessment questions. Assessment questions will reflect the type of work we’re doing in class: require problem solving, provide context, be open-middled, and have space for reflection.

      I’m stealing Kyle’s <i>Show Me What You Know!</i> assessment idea. I will put 2-3 problems on them—each problem numbered with 1 of the 13 primary objectives. As students spiral deeper into content, these will naturally become more challenging (skill wise and concept-understanding wise). <font face=”inherit”>These SMWYK problems will be completed to my satisfaction or not. If not, students will have class time (or our school’s flex time) to revise their work and resubmit (or in some cases re-take another version of) assessments. When the questions have been completed, I will have them submit a photo of their work via google classroom and will give them credit for completing the question. This will create a sort of </font>digital<font face=”inherit”> record (portfolio?) that requires minimal upkeep.</font>

      I will grade students holistically based on their completion of the questions on the SMWYK assignments. If you’re interested, this is the grading policy I’ve been working on.

      I’m setting up a google sheet (since our online system won’t work for this), where student names are in the column on the left. I’ve reserved 4 (but I can insert more later) columns for each of the 13 objectives. As we go through the year, I will populate these with SMWYK questions. I’ll probably title them: SMWYK #7 Q.1. Under the description I’ll write the primary skill or understanding that questions assessed.

      For example: SMWYK # 7 Q. 1 Description: understand constant rate of change/write linear equation from two points to solve problem. 

      At least every 3 weeks I will assign students an overall grade, and update our online grade-book program to show students which SMWYK questions they’ve completed and which they still need to work on.

      To account for the benchmark assessments, I’m emphasizing certain topics at different times of the year (see the highlighted part of my spiraling spreadsheet). 

      Please let me know if you have any suggestions/warnings/comments or other questions (I’m not sure I was very clear in my explanation here). 

      Thanks, 

      Mike

      <br>

      <br>

  • Brian Arnot

    Member
    July 10, 2019 at 10:54 am

    Your grading policy is interesting and close to what I have been working on. Although for my class we talk about meeting standard or not and then grades are based on how many standards you met for the term. If you meet all standards or all standards but one then you get an A. For every standard you don’t meet after that it lowers your grade by a letter. I have between 5 – 7 standards each term.

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    My school unfortunately does not have built in intervention time to our school day. This is something that we are starting to bring up with administrators as my building continues to have grading conversations and concerns about student engagement.

    <br>

    Have you seen the Facebook group Teachers going gradeless or the twitter chat #tg2chat? They share many of the grading ideas that you are talking about.

    • Michael Rubin

      Member
      July 10, 2019 at 6:37 pm

      Your idea is an interesting one. It’s also a lot easier to communicate (as you were able to do so in 3 sentences and I took a page). I’ll have to consider those ideas more.

      This will be our first year with “flex time” and we’ll be going through a training on it the week before classes start. I’m really excited. But I’m also building in time during the week for intervention ala Mastery Days. My plan is to have extensions prepared for students who don’t need the extra help/work.

      I hadn’t heard of that group or the #. I have looked around #SBG though for some ideas. My main sources have been internet searches and the book Fair Isn’t Always Equal by Rick Wormeli (my Sup. did a book club on it last semester). Thanks for the recommendations, I’ll be sure to check those out!

  • Kate Nielsen

    Member
    July 10, 2019 at 1:40 pm

    Michael thank you for sharing.  There is a ton of work put into this.  I enjoyed the video podcast you have done with Kyle and Jon.  This is overwhelming.  I am going to need to take sometime to process all this and try to apply just a little to my classes this year.

    • Michael Rubin

      Member
      July 10, 2019 at 7:05 pm

      Thank you for watching, Kate! There was a lot to it, and I feel like now that I’ve got the outline the real work begins: figuring out the day to day. 

      <span style=”font-family: inherit; font-size: inherit;”>As you start incorporating ideas, please let me know what you’re doing and how it goes! </span>

  • Elisha Horbay

    Member
    July 21, 2019 at 10:13 pm

    I just wanted to say THANK YOU Michael for being the “guinea pig,” so to speak, and sharing all your learning. I’m in Ontario, so things are a little different but I’ve gained so much in terms of ideas and processes. 

    • Michael Rubin

      Member
      July 21, 2019 at 10:50 pm

      You’re welcome! I’m curious, what did you find to be most helpful? And more importantly, do you have any suggestions for me? I’ve got 3 weeks until I start trying this stuff out in real time Grinning.

      • Elisha Horbay

        Member
        July 22, 2019 at 5:08 pm

        You are incredibly reflective and thought out, so there isn’t much that I think you need to consider. I can’t remember if you said it or not, but the one thing that I am allowing myself this year – is it’s okay if every day isn’t the way I would like it to be! If I end up doing a worksheet, because I’m away or I just didn’t get my act in gear for that day – it’s okay! 

        I wrote a down a bunch of little “take away’s”  – reminded me to write student reflections in an ‘I can’ format, making reflection of collaboration a part of the math reflection, I need to consider how I’ll mark and starting a google sheet with task and activity ideas to go with my expectations (standards). 

        We don’t go back until September 3rd, so I have some time, plus summer brain has totally set in so I’m not getting much done some days. 

        Looking forward to hearing more as your year begins. 

  • Michael Rubin

    Member
    July 25, 2019 at 1:17 am

    I’ve had some requests for the reflection documents I am using and thought I’d link them here as well. I modified some of E.L. Achieve’s Constructing Meaning templates (paid only) to create these.<br>

    <span style=”font-family: inherit; font-size: inherit;”>Here is a link to the student recording sheet and</span><span style=”font-family: inherit; font-size: inherit;”> the </span>language support/reflection template displayed in the webinar.

    <span style=”font-family: inherit; font-size: inherit;”>Also, if interested, I’ve been working on these 3’x2′ posters for language support during collaboration and routines for reasoning.</span>

    Please let me know if you find them helpful or if you have any ideas for improvements =).