Friday, July 11, 2014

Makers, hmmm

Part 2 of our Summer Learning Series is to be a maker.  It's a mindset as well as a challenge.  Jessica Allen explains it here.  Our challenge is to make something that we need.  It is really challenging to my brain.  I feel like a kid in my class with that blank look stare.  I'm going to spend tomorrow thinking about that.  I almost cheated and made that paddle thing with the airsoft pellets that is used to demonstrate sampling design because I want one for my classroom but that's not the point.  I'm going to rack my brains instead and try to come up with something else that I can use to demonstrate an important concept in my classroom and make that instead.  Stay tuned....this will probably take a while!

Short post today but keeping up with the July Challenge except for when I was on vacation.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Back on the Wagon

After a refreshing time in Frisco and at the Texas Spa Castle with my cute husband, I am relaxed and ready to dive into lesson planning with a whole new perspective.  This summer has changed how I will teach.  I'm so excited to have met some tweeps and to share in the growth mindset both for myself and for my students.  I have 2 weeks starting Monday with some geometry students who didn't get it the first time (or at least enough of it) and I'm going to start class with that mindset discussion.  I'm interested to see how it goes.

I also got 3 quick reads that I'm going to explore before I put my lessons together.  Our summer learning series challenge this past week was to listen to 3 podcasts.  I chose ECM #20 for my first one and was reminded about Dave Burgess' challenge to focus on the presentation of our content as much as on the content and teaching strategies.  If you haven't read his book, I'd highly recommend it.  It is a quick read and has some great questions to ask yourself that will help you unlock your lesson planning genius.

Thanks to @kklaster and @mathequalslove for the links to the growth mindset quiz and presentations.  That will make my first lesson quick to put on a blog for my students.  I am working through a Beth Moore bible study on 1 and 2nd Thessalonians this summer as well.  Today's lesson included an examination of how things can grow - love, hate, sin, righteousness - and how we get to choose what grows in our lives.  I thought immediately about how that tied in to the growth mindset in education and how we have to choose to grow our mind because not choosing is actually choosing the opposite of growth. I'm sure I got that message in something I've read this summer but I've read so much I can't even point to the source.  What a great problem to have - It's been a while since I've been so inspired!

Friday, July 4, 2014

The Day After

Wondering if I would make the July challenge today!  I've been cooking like a mad woman.  I have 3 almost grown boys and a hungry husband that I love to feed.  I stopped finally long enough to put my scope and sequence down for the first two chapters.  I'm dying to dig in and develop better lessons and loving the ideas on twitter.  Also, the anotated TE for TPS 5 is great!  I'll rely on that alot this year I think.

I read the long conversation between @druinok and @gwaddellnvhs and it's made me think about those long nights grading free response questions.  I've heard lots of solutions to the problem - students obviously need more practice than we are capable of giving feed back to.  One of the suggestions that Michael Legacy had this week was to give half of the assignment partial credit for completing the problem set with reasonable answers that you can skim and randomly pick a problem (different for each student) to grade for the other half of the grade.  They would have to do it outside of class so I'm not sure how to address whether or not they do it on their own.  Part of me is okay with them working together but not copying for the sake of completion.  Our district sets our grading scale at 15% homework, 25% daily/quizzes, and 60% major.  With the difficulty level of AP questions, I'd like to make them daily/quiz grades but I don't want them just copying to complete the assignment.  Lots to think about this weekend!

Thursday, July 3, 2014

APSI Day 4 The final day!

My brain is mush.  I have learned so much this week.  I only hope I can retain it all to help my students pass the AP tests.  This morning we started exploring AP Central and the Professional Stats community.  I scored a Block Pacing chart from D Starnes for TPS 5th ed.  Since my classroom book is TPS 2nd edition, I'm going to work with the annotated teachers edition that I got this week and supplement with notes and activities from this year and last year's APSI.  I'm going to start tomorrow after a glass of wine and a good night's sleep!

Today's take aways:

1)  I used 4 different colors to take notes this week - my kids need them too.

2)  The  2008 AP test had great multiple choice questions but not great free response

3)  ML has a fantastic globe activity to introduce tests of significance for porportions.  Debbie Reimer from Paschal HS in Ft. Worth told me how she expanded the activity to review confidence intervals before she uses it to introduce a 1 proportion z test.  I wonder if she has a twitter?  She's taught AP Stats for 9 years. I have her email.  I'm gonna ask.  I bet she'd love to blog with us!

4)  Floyd Bullard is fantastic at explaining things.  ML has a special folder for his comments on the AP Teachers Community because they are so awesome.

and finally,

5) sorry 2013 - 2014, you really don't have to write your hypotheses in BOTH symbols and words.

On my way home I stopped at HPB.  I was very disappointed in the one in Mansfield.  Am I looking in the wrong place?  Only 1 shelf 2 feet long was allocated for Stats.  Hmph.  They obviously don't know how important it is!  What will I blog about tomorrow?  #julychallenge accepted!

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

APSI Day 3

Have you ever seen a movie for the 2nd time and wondered how in the world you missed all of "those things" the first time?  That's kind of what I feel like today.  My poor students!  If any of them get a 3 it will only be by the grace of God.  Before this week I was thinking that it was possible for a few of them to do well.  Now, I only hope for 1 because she scoured 5 steps to a 5 and really worked.  She may be one of those that could get credit by just studying on her own.  Anyway, I digress.  I'm dreading Sunday but looking forward to the improvement that my students next year are SURE to make!

Today's take-aways are:

1)  "The lottery is a tax on people who can't do math"  Michael Legacy.  I LOVE this quote!  I was so entertained by it.

2)  Begin to lay the ground work for hypothesis testing all year long with vocabulary but especially in probability.  Ask, "How likely is it, given _______, that we will see _______________".

3)  Use different ways to randomize, the hat method, a random number generator, a random number table, so that the students are familiar with them all.

4)  Use this applet from Rice University to demonstrate the Central Limit Theorem.  The population is in black and the sampling distribution is in blue.  You can refer back to the "black" and "blue" distributions when teaching Inferencing and the students will know what you are talking about.

5)  ML did a great job of explaining degrees of freedom, which I have personally struggled with learning - much less teaching.  I have basically just said, do it because it's a rule.  He explained that if you use a grade analogy you can build understanding.  It's not the statistical definition of degrees of freedom but it does make me say, Oh!  He started by listing 6 week grades on a report card.  Suppose the first 6 weeks a student makes an 80 in the course and the next 6 weeks he tanks thinking that he doesn't have to study because he did so well during the 1st 6 weeks and makes a 60.  The third 6 weeks rolls around and he rebounds to a 65.  If he wants to keep his parents off his back, the question he wants to know is, what does he need to make on the semester exam to pass?  ML assumed that all 4 grades are equally weighted for simplicity.  He said that once the mean is set, the exam grade is not free to be anything except the number that would average with the others to yield a 70.  I thought it was a great explanation of why degrees of freedom is always n-1 for 1 variable.  Of course when you start inferencing for regressions you have to account for 2 variables so the degrees of freedom is n-2.

6)  After that ah-ha moment, we spent the rest of the day covering details that I didn't know to tell my students to avoid.  For example, students must be sure to use the future tense when referring to a population because using past tense refers to the sample.  I also didn't know that a graph was necessary when checking for normality on a small sample means problem.

At any rate, I'm hoping for more 2's than 1's this year and for someone to pass next.  Baby steps!  I really love teaching this class and I know I've said it before but I'm REALLY thankful that I found more Stats teachers to ask questions!  One more day to go...

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

APSI Day 2

Today was packed full of information yet again.  I overheard ML saying that he thought that the 4th edition of BVD had been corrected.  I'm really hoping to get a hard copy of that book to review for adoption.  One thing is for sure, I have alot to do.

My hour drive in and out is proving to be productive.  This morning I kept thinking about how much I like blogging about what I've learned.  I think it helps me revisit the information and make it my own.  I'm going to try to incorporate that into all of my classes this year and see how it works.  With tweetdeck I could just assign a class or a subject a hash tag and have students blog then post to twitter using that hash tag.  I thought I'd give them 5 minutes at the end of class where they at the very least say what they learned in class and what they still have questions about.  I also started blogs of mine for each subject where I can give them information and instructions.  I've used schoology in the past but I think I like twitter better.

Today's take-aways are:

1) ML gave us his infamous APSI files with all of his lessons, notes, problems, tests on it.  So excited to explore that.  I've been thinking about what I will use to cut and past into my ISNs.  I've been using those for about 5 years now and love how they keep me organized.  I never have to guess where I left off in a class because I make one for each class with the students.

2)  The flash drive has voice waves from NPR that will be an interesting diversion from the ordinary.  Those combined with TED talks will be a great way for me to start flipping my class.

3)  The annotated teachers edition of TPS has the AP released problems that test each chapter in the chapter noted - serious bonus for me!

4)  "lurking" variables are now referred to as extraneous variables because lurking implies that they are waiting in a dark alley ready to pounce on the experiment and ruin it.

We covered sampling and experimental design today.  I'm feeling pretty familiar with those this year so I'm hoping that I can have some fun with these units.  Tomorrow we start inference.  That is a pretty wide topic that I'm not nearly as comfortable with.

Thinking ahead to next year I think the biggest hurdle I'm going to face is how to wade through the pluthera of problems and decide which ones are most valuable for the students.  I'm planning to apply to read at the end of the year since it will be my 3rd and hoping that if I'm selected it will help me to understand the test more.  So thankful that I'm plugged into a community of AP Stats teachers on twitter!

Monday, June 30, 2014

APSI Day 1

Michael Legacy started the morning today with a stack of goodies.  We were gifted with 2 hard copy textbooks for review and 3 online, Barrons AP Review book and flash cards, another review book that accompanies TPS 5th Ed and the usual APSI coursebook.  A side note - I'm really dissappointed in the cup that TCU gave us this year when compared to last year's cup.  It has been my side-kick this entire school year and I was so looking forward to another.  

I'm excited to have the 5th edition of TPS to review and consult this school year.  There is not an annotated teacher edition of TPS edition 2 that we are using in our classroom and it has been a challenge to pull information from other sources and the golden binder.  I was ready to jump ship from TPS to BVD until I heard Michael discuss it this morning.  He cautioned that the casual language in BVD (precisely what I love about it) gives students permission to be casual with their responses on the AP exam and they lose points for it.  Hmm, food for thought.  I will at least seriously and thoughtfully review the TPS 5th edition.  I know that it is as much as my students can handle in terms of reading level so the Peck Olsen book is out except for a problem resource for me.  

I have to say, I'm feeling a little more confident with the material this year than I did last year.  Michael gives great insight into the problems (since he has written many of them).  Today's take-aways for next school year are:

1)  Give students the flavor for what we are doing early on with a simulation using cards - avoid the statistical language for the exercise and just have them develop a simulation as you guide them.  I'll get the instructions on my flash drive tomorrow and send them to anyone who wants them.  The idea is to take the students through an activity that you can reference later and they will have an immediate connection with because of the memory of it.  

2)  Michael had a great explanation of how to teach r-squared and what it means.  I have it in my own ITN and will try to get it transfered to a word doc with step by step instructions if anyone is interested.  
3)  I spent WAY too much time straightening data and teaching formulas that they calculator does and not enough time interpreting what the numbers mean.  ML spends 1 day on straightening data during inferencing for regressions and doesn't teach the formula for r at all.  Live and learn...

4) is a great website for demonstrations

It is really challenging to synthesize the article that we read for #eduread last week,  "Creating a Differentiated Mathematics Classroom", Teach Like a Pirate by Dave Burgess, and the APSI information.  The hardest thing for me as a math teacher is to figure out the proportions of my lessons that should be designed for each of the four styles:  Mastery, Understanding, Interpersonal, and Self-Expressive to ensure that they can be successful on the AP test.  I do believe that I can create a combination of assessments that are not all AP Test questions but give students the opportunity to demonstrate and understanding of the type of statistical thinking that we are looking for to be successful on the test.  Here's to collaboration, PLNs on Twitter, and lots of creative questions!