Journal-writing time for my class, and by that I mean, “hmm I’m three weeks behind now … wait, 1, 1, 2, 3 … dang it I’m turning into a Fibonacci sequence, this is bad!”

First, an update on how my math classes are going.

I’ve been sticking with (what I know of) Thinking Classroom strategies pretty consistently since the last update. I’m less overwhelmed than 1st semester, but still a lot of last-minute decision making as class is about to start. (I keep reminding myself that someday my kids will be old enough to, you know, just go to bed without requiring two hours of policing in the evenings and maybe I’ll be able to actually prep everything in advance …)

Students are functioning pretty well with group work at the whiteboards & windows, and I’m doing an okay job adapting the textbook concepts into Decent Problems. (Not “Good Problems”, but they’re getting there.) I’m still wrapping my mind around how to identify a good *extensible* problem – something that you can add more interest to for groups who get to the goalpost sooner. Right now this feels like A Problem To Work On: what are the strategies we can use to extend a mediocre problem into something with more to think about? What are the requirements? Which starting points should we just throw out immediately (if any)?

However, since this is going sort-of-okay, I’m not putting my full attention on that this week. On Thursday I wrote down a four-day plan for myself that would give me some structure for getting course assessments in gear. It went something like this:

Day 1: Work on a Good Problem, talk about <mathematical competency>, get students to share good vs bad examples.

Day 2: Work on a Good Problem, then have groups self-assess with rubric made from their examples.

Day 3: (because I need to get content assessment going as well) Group quiz on <content assessment topic>.

Day 4: Individual quiz on <content assessment topic>, then work on something else (either intro to next unit, or just something for fun).

I’m currently just done Day 2 of said plan. I forgot to do the “walk around with a clipboard and assess three groups myself” step, so they didn’t drastically improve, but I decided to assess on Reasoning & Analyzing (a heading in our “competencies” doc which amounts to stuff you to do start working on a new problem) and that wasn’t something I needed to see drastic improvement on anyway.