Tuesday, September 30, 2014

BMS Career Day 2014

Careers come alive at BMS Career Day 2014

     This year's edition of Career Day did not disappoint as Ms. Schmitz, CDF, did an excellent job of coordinating this experience for teachers and students.  All across our campus students were able to meet men and women shared their experience and lessons learned in a variety of careers.  We are so grateful to have this type of day for students as this may be the spark that inspires them to go towards a certain career path.  I hope you enjoy checking out our Tweetbeam from the day.  

Career Day   - Tweetbeam Pics

If you're not already be sure to follow us on Twitter: @BMSatRSD2   

Have a great day!

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Teacher Spotlight: Mrs. Brown 8th Grade ELA

Teacher Spotlight: Mrs. Christy Brown 8th Grade ELA



What are the students doing?

The students worked with a partner or small group to research topics that will be covered in our upcoming novel study, Max the Mighty by Rodman Philbrick.  The students researched one of the following topics:  child abuse, Timbuktu, mining, Yellowstone National Park, the Mississippi River, Tai Chi, dyslexia, and owls.   After the students completed their research they created a short video clip detailing what they learned.  

  

What do you hope to accomplish by completing this activity?

My goal behind this activity was two-fold.  First, I wanted my students to complete a short research project.  Second, I wanted to increase my student's background knowledge prior to reading the novel.  I plan to show the video clips to the class when we get to the appropriate section in the novel and allow them to be the experts on their topic.  

How did this activity tie to your standards?  

1.  Conduct short research projects to answer a question.  2.  Gather relevant information from multiple print and digital sources.  3.  Engage effectively in a range of collaborative discussions.  

How did this activity promote student learning?

Students not only learned to work with their peer(s) they also gained prior knowledge before reading a novel.  This activity taught the students to generate questions about a topic and to gather relevant information about the topic.  In addition to this, the students had to summarize their research in to a short video clip.  

video

Friday, September 19, 2014

Teacher Spotlight: Mrs. Dissinger 8th Grd. Science

Teacher Spotlight #3: Mrs. Dissinger

What are the students doing?

Students designed and conducted an experiment to investigate the effects of friction on objects.

What do you hope students accomplish by completing this activity?

By doing this lab, students will learn how to use the scientific method to answer a question that they posed. After sharing their data with the class, students have the opportunity to learn from their peers, ask questions of each other, and evaluate the validity of data collected.

How did this activity tie to your standards?

Standards this lesson covers include: 

Math Practice Standards of 1. Model with mathematics, 2. Construct viable arguments and critique the reasoning of others, 3. Reason abstractly and quantitatively, 4. Use appropriate tools strategically.  

ELA standards include: Research, High level questioning, and supporting claims with evidence.  

Science Standards include: 1. Ask questions and define problems, 2. Plan and conduct investigations, 3. Use mathematical and computational thinking, 4. Construct explanations and design solutions, 5. Engage in scientific argument from evidence, 6. Obtain, evaluate, and communicate information, 6. Analyze and interpret data to describe and predict the effects of forces on the speed and direction of an object.

How did this activity promote student learning?

Student learning was promoted as students were engaged in asking testable questions, generating hypotheses, and testing their hypotheses. Because students designed their own experiments, they took ownership of the lesson and came up with original designs. The most important part of doing an experiment is to share the results. Students had the opportunity to do this in class as they explained their data with graphs they created. This allows students to peer critique each other and learn hwo to modify experiments in order to get better results.

         


Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Teacher Spotlight: More Great Math Practices

Teacher Spotlight: Ms. Susan Parker 6th/7th Grade Math

In our next addition of Teacher Spotlight we have Ms. Parker who is a part of Team Storm.  They are a split 6th/7th grade team.  In this addition we see how she uses Interactive Notebooks to enhance student learning.

 

The Questions asked:
What the students are doing? 

     An Interactive Notebook is a method to assist students with organization and to develop ownership of their learning. Students take teacher guided notes and conduct their own independent learning in a very methodical manner that incorporates their own creativity.  Students are highlighting key components to successfully completing the Order of Operations. Another students is adding his own personal touches to remembering the correct order to solving an equation.

What you hope they accomplish by this activity?
    My hope is that students will develop an appreciation and have pride in their learning all while unbeknownst to them, they are solidifying the process of solving a problem correctly.

How did this tie to your standards?
     This activity ties to 6th grade math standards in which students are communicating an understanding of math concepts and in this particular case, an understanding and the relationship between integers.
Standard 6-1: Students will demonstrate an understanding of the 
academic standards and accompanying indicators 
through problem solving, reasoning and proof, 
communication, connections and representations. 

Standard 6-2: Through the process standards students will 
demonstrate an understanding of operations on fractions 
and decimals, a beginning understanding of ratio and 
rate, integers, and the use of exponential notation to 
represent whole numbers. 

How did this promote student learning?

     Interactive notebooks promote student learning in such a way where students take pride in what they have learned and their notebook becomes a resource for students to reflect back and review key concepts that have been taught.


Lesson Two

What the students are doing? 
     Students have been learning about different types of numbers and we have spent a lot of time learning about integers (positive and negative numbers), and in particular learning about adding and subtracting integers.  This is a difficult concept for students to learn.  Through the process we have taken notes, learned a rap (some danced), created stories, and real-life ways to remember the "rules" for adding and subtracting integers.  A more creative method is illustrated in the pictures where some students worked in cooperative groups and developed their own visual for remembering the rules for adding and subtracting integers.  A different class worked independently to develop their method of remembering.

What you hope they accomplish by this activity?

    My hope is that by creating their own twist on the various avenues we have practiced, the students will be able to recall their project when dealing with integers.

How did this tie to your standards?

     The sixth grade math standard for understanding integers is covered in this activity.
Standard 6-1: Students will demonstrate an understanding of the 
academic standards and accompanying indicators 
through problem solving, reasoning and proof, 
communication, connections and representations. 

Standard 6-2: Through the process standards students will 
demonstrate an understanding of operations on fractions 
and decimals, a beginning understanding of ratio and 
rate, integers, and the use of exponential notation to 
represent whole numbers. 

How did this promote student learning?
     Students are able to apply their own spin for adding and subtracting integers.  Different learning styles are exhibited in the final products.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Teacher Spotlight: Sherri Whitlock 7th Grade Math

Teacher Spotlight:
    The following is the first of many posts where we highlight work going on in teacher's classroom at our school.  Our first teacher is Sherri Whitlock.  She teaches 7th Grade Algebra and in this spotlight we'll see how she used a gallery walk to introduce students to the new chapter.  As you see the pictures I had Mrs. Whitlock respond to a few questions that will be our format for all these types of posts.  

The Questions asked:
What are the students doing? 
What do you hope the students accomplish by completing this activity?  
How did this activity tie to your standards?  
How did this activity promote student learning?


  

Mrs. Whitlock's Reflection:

"This "Gallery Walk" activity included a variety of problems related to our new unit of study on Linear Equations.  As students collaborated in pairs to solve problems tied to this domain, they reflected on what they already know as well as what they still need to learn.  Now, I can design the learning experiences to better meet my students' needs instead of spending  excessive time on concepts they already understand.  It was fun to hear their conversations as they worked through each problem on the "Gallery Walk"  ("Oh, this problem isn't that hard."  "Now, I see how to do this."  or "I have no idea about that one.")  This activity also gave the students a sneak peak of what they will be expected to know and do by the end of this unit."


Questions for you to respond to?
How have you used gallery walks to introduce or work with content?
What takeaways do you have from reading about her approach?  

Please respond to the blog and as well post to mine, @TylerAbernathy1 or Mrs. Whitlock's @sherriwhitlock any insights you have.  

Who will our next Teacher Spotlight be?  Come back soon to see!





Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Beware of the Whirlwind!

Identify the Problem
   
        So I sit here 2 1/2 weeks removed and what's happened?  Have I faded?  Am I too lazy to type?  Have I got too many ideas and can't figure out which one to write about?  A lot of these answers may be yes but the best answer to describe what's been going on is what the book 4 Disciplines of Execution calls "The Whirlwind."  This book is definitely on my to-do list but I've read a ten page summary and wow was I blown away.  The "whirlwind" the book speaks of is the day-to-day work you and I do to survive.  In of itself this doesn't sound all bad.  You have to do certain actions each day in your job or else things can go all out of wack.  Where the "whirlwind" becomes a problem for us is when these day-to-day issues squeeze out the big ideas and great innovation we want to implement.  This is the constant fight for individuals who are trying to push themselves to get better and learn more.  This is also the case for great companies, schools, etc. that are doing things well but want to avoid eventually becoming stagnant.  Avoiding stagnation is one of the biggest challenges any company or individual faces.

Possible Solution - Mission Possible!

         How do you combat this daily bombardment of the good things to achieve the great?  What I am trying to do is identify what 4DX calls the Wildly Important Goal (WIG).  This essentially is what other books or speakers have discussed in avoiding the good to get to the great.  Where 4DX goes further is the ways to execute this wildly important goal.  Why is wildly?  I would say it's because this goal is what you believe will take you and those you work with to a level that's never been seen before.  That's what I'm attempting to do for myself right now.  I've gotten through most of the initial growing pains of my new position and we're all getting more settled into the school year.  I want to make my big ideas happen for betterment of those I work with.  I have to find a way to narrow my goals so that I can achieve more.  With that said, here's my WIG for the upcoming year.

       "To create an environment in my school that is collaborative among teachers of all grade levels and subjects to discuss, analyze, and reflect academic practices, projects, and ideas that will create authentic teaching and student learning."  

Now that I have it identified.  The next step is to create the Lead and Lag measures that will show me the progress I'm making towards the WIG.

Reflection
What's your WIG?  I'd love to hear about it.  Share what your big, outside the box idea is for taking your teaching to the next level.
Creative Commons License
Make Common Sense Common (MCSC) by Tyler Abernathy is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.