I had to miss class on Monday, and I was lucky enough to have one of my wonderful colleagues covering the class. Because it is a teacher from my school, I’m tempted to use more than a typical sub plan. After 2 hours of planning, what I came up with was something that would probably not go well if anyone other than me was at the helm. After seeing the work in my mailbox the next day I was slightly disappointed. Not because of the kids acting really bad (although they might be), and not at all because of the teacher covering, but for me overshooting what is reasonable for a class.

Since last cycle I had the urge to craft subplans that are ask kids to do something more than my typical TPW (teacher-proof worksheet). In November the kids worked on a Desmos activity with a sub and it worked out pretty well. This time the kids were supposed to work through a google spreadsheet with directions embedded in little notes. Both of these seemed like they would work because most teachers can facilitate the computer cart, and kids take it serious because they know they’ll have to log back in and finish later. Desmos went pretty well, so building off of that I tried to have the kids learn spreadsheet functions on a google sheet.  Unfortunately the kids weren’t that familiar with using computers in my class, and we hadn’t touched  spreadsheets yet. If I had to do it again, I would probably roll out a TPW, or used some time to prepare the kids to do something less TPW-ish.

Understanding Standard Deviation

My class today went pretty well. We used an illustrative math task where the kids could deepen their understanding of standard deviation.

Download (PDF, 81KB)

As is the case when using any IM thing, the kids were quickly thinking and talking about the what they needed to understand, at a much deeper level than whatever else I was going to do.

Starting to think about the project

This will bring an end to this part of the single variable statistics part of the unit. Itfeel weird that we haven’t yet talked about quartiles and box plots, but I think I need to talk about the concepts of correlation and regression before the students start to work on the final project. Since I want to get the survey started next week I am going to talk about correlation before kids think about the final project on Monday.

On Monday students will be in groups crafting questions to ask the rest of the school about topics they have chosen. In the past students made guesses about survey responses to their question, but this year I want the students to inform their guesses with statistics from the real world. If they are doing “Teen Pregnancy” they shouldn’t say, “This study says this about teen pregnancy, so I think expect our school to survey to have the same result because…

Sad ending

Class ended by asking the kids to show me where they got on their spreadsheet from the other day. There was a sad moment where at the end where I asked a kid why he said my class was hard. He said it was confusing, which left me a little confused. He seemed to understand the work and was participating in the activity. I took it to mean the organization of the classroom and the activities, which is a pretty spot on assessment. Teaching only one class means that a lot of the management parts are not quite as smooth as they would be with a full time teacher. Friday will be a good time to add a lot of structure to the class, and I can also ask for some ideas with a feedback form.