Week 1 Day 2 – Top 10 things not to ask me about your calculator.
- Our learning target on day 2 & 3 will be: I can advocate for myself when I am struggling in math. We will define the word ‘advocate’ and ‘self-advocacy’. We will watch the ‘stuck on an escalator‘ video on day 2 and ‘Beagle Chicken McNugget‘ video on day 3 of school. (both are mentioned in this previous post about persistence and mindsets). We will talk about what it looks/sounds/feels like to advocate for oneself in a math class and we will practice self-advocacy as we relearn how to use graphing calculators.
- We will start our class with a chance for partners to explore the TI-84 and Desmos to see what they already know using this document. Calculator readiness problems for Advanced Algebra During this time I will not help students. I will ask them to rely on helping each other for 15-20 minutes. (the goal is not to finish, just explore the calculator). I want to model right away that I am not the keeper of all knowledge – everyone in the class is someone students can go to for help. During this time I will walk around and listen in and notice what students know and don’t know what to do with the calculator. Most of my students have used a TI-84 before and Desmos is so intuitive making it so easy for students to use. I will pay attention to what students know already (or figure out) so I can speed through the next part of my lesson (below). I know some of you will look at what I am asking my students to do and say ‘Oh, my students know all of this.’. My question back to you is “Really? do they ALL know how to do all these things?” I selected these problems because they represent things many students forget or may do wrong on a calculator. Each problem has a mini message I will give if students struggle. For example in #4 a lot of students struggle with the difference between a negative sign and a subtraction sign on a calculator. In #5 a ton of students don’t know how to make fractions on a calculator and if they do they get a solution of 55 for #5 forgetting about the implied parentheses in the numerator and the fact the calculator knows the order of operations. I will not give these messages – yet – after students have 15-20 minutes to explore with a partner – instead I will….
- As a class we will take notes on my top 10 things for the TI-84 and my top 10 things for Desmos that they MUST know this school year in Advanced Algebra (many know most of these, but I am always surprised how many forget so many of these things each year). I will make a big deal out of them pushing buttons or typing into Desmos as we go through each top 10 list. I will make a big deal out of taking great notes so my students have something to reference back to if they forget what we cover today. (Note: We will staple or glue these lists into our notebooks front cover). I will make a big deal out of (and model) how I want students to ask questions during this time if something does not make sense. I will work to make students feel confident. I will celebrate mistakes and questions as a valued part of our classroom. Here is the students copy of the document:Top Ten Calculator Know_hows (Note: Our TI-84 top 10 is tried and tested, but our Desmos list is new. We would love your feedback if you have ideas)
- After going through each top 10 list we will go back to the problems students did during the explore time. I will give solutions to each problem and have them go back and look at any they were unsure of. We will practice self advocacy.
- Our homework during these days is going to be the first of 9 parts of a year long social justice project we will do one part of in each unit. The project is titled “How I see myself. How the world sees me.” In part one of the project students will create their first name in Desmos using only horizontal and vertical lines. This will review equations of lines with students as well as Domain and Range. We will be asking students to create the name they prefer most. This HW is still a work in progress. I will try and post it when it is complete.
The goals of using these top 10 lists is to do something mathy week 1 that is still ‘safe’ for students. ‘Safe’ meaning they can talk out loud about math about something they do bring some skills to. ‘Safe’ meaning it is something our student will feel OK asking for help in. For some reason students feel safer asking about technology and not yet safe asking for help when they struggle solving a system of equation or some other skill they feel they should already have. Week 1 is about practicing skills that will help us all during the rest of the school year.