Sunday, March 2, 2014

How I Taught my Middle School Math Students to Blog

I posted this information last summer, however, it was embedded into a post that had other parts and pieces.  I am thinking it would be a good idea to post it individually so here it is.  This is not only how I start student blogging but also how I begin the exploration of student passions that will transfer to connecting their lives to mathematics and the start of #geniushour

Unit Overview:
It is my goal in the 2013-2014 school year to have monthly writing assignments that will become blog posts for each student in my math classes.  Each writing assignment will be tied to the 7th grade Common Core writing standards and the 7th grade Common Core math standards.  Since we start school August 20, our first assignment will need to be completed by the end of September.  


At the beginning of the year I like to build a classroom community of learners.  To do this successfully, we need to learn about each other and build a supportive environment filled with passion, empathy, and understanding.  This will enable us to create a collaborative classroom environment (either online or face to face).  The students will work together in a variety of ways, with a variety of people, and will look for commonalities rather than differences.  With this in mind our first writing assignment will be a “Passion Paper” which will address the Narrative Essay Standards:


Writing Standard 7.0:
The student will write grade-appropriate narratives to develop real or imagined experiences or events using effective technique, relevant descriptive details, and well-structured event sequences (W.7.3):
• Engage and orient the reader by establishing a context and point of view and introducing a narrator and/or characters; organize an event sequence that unfolds naturally
and logically (W.7.3a)
• Use narrative techniques, such as dialogue, pacing, and description, to develop experiences, events, and/or characters (W.7.3b)
• Use a variety of transition words, phrases, and clauses to convey sequence and signal shifts from one time frame or setting to another (W.7.3c)
• Use precise words and phrases, relevant descriptive details, and sensory language to capture the action and convey experiences and events (W.7.3d)
• Provide a conclusion that follows from and reflects on the narrated experiences or events (W.7.3e)


Activities:
  • The students will create a heart map that will require thoughtful reflection on the things and people that are important to their lives.  They can create digital or hand made heart maps and we will post them around the room for inspiration and so that the students do not forget their hearts.  Heart Mapping and Inspiration Station Questions/Ponderings
  • I will introduce online discussions through Schoology by having students share what is important to their hearts and practice commenting (to at least 3 others) appropriately to each other by 1. writing a relation 2. asking a question 3. making a prediction 4. commenting appropriately
  • The students will create a “dot” that represents their mark on this world.  This activity is based on the book “The Dot” by Peter Reynolds.  Link to International Dot Day Again those can be digital creations or hand made
  • The students will use Schoology to explain their inspiration for their dots and comment on at least 3 other’s explanations.
  • All of these activities will lead to the writing of their 3 paragraph passion paper.


Passion Paper:
Based on the Common Core Standards for writing a Narrative, I will provide instruction and practice in all of the areas:
  • Interesting lead or begin by grabbing the reader
  • organization of events/paper
  • varied techniques: dialogue, pacing, description (showing not telling), development of characters, experiences, events
  • use of transitions and varied language to make writing interesting and varied
  • how to write a conclusion


Formative Assessments:
I have found that the best way for students to consider and revise their writing is to provide opportunities for them to “revise” someone else’s writing.  So my formative assessments will be on Schoology.  I will post a paragraph and ask the students to “revise” the writing keeping in mind the standards we are working towards.


Formative Assessment #1: Writing an Interesting Lead
  • I will provide three different leads and ask the students to “vote” on Socratic for the one they like the most.  I will evaluate their votes and note which students are struggling and need more instruction and/or support.
  • Then I will have the the three leads posted on Schoology and have the students critique and then revise using the standard rubric as a guide.  The students will see what others have posted and then discuss with each other.  I will provide guidance and questions.  I will evaluate the revisions and base my instruction on their understanding of what makes a strong lead (introduction) to their writing.


Formative Assessment #2: Using transitions effectively:
  • I will provide three different writing samples with transitions and ask the students to “vote” on Socratic for the one they like the most.  I will evaluate their votes and note which students are struggling and need more instruction and/or support.
  • Then I will have the transition examples posted on Schoology and have students critique and then revise using the standard rubric as a guide.  The students will see what others have posted and then discuss with each other.  I will provide guidance and questions.  I will evaluate the revisions and base my instruction on their understanding of what makes a strong lead (introduction) to their writing.


Formative Assessment #3: Showing vs. Telling
  • I will provide three different writing samples with showing and/or telling and ask the students to “vote” on Socratic for the one they like the most.  I will evaluate their votes and note which students are struggling and need more instruction and/or support.
  • Then I will have three samples of showing and/or telling posted on Schoology and have the students critique and then revise using the standard rubric as a guide.  The students will see what others have posted and then discuss with each other.  I will provide guidance and questions.  I will evaluate the revisions and base my instruction on their understanding of what makes a strong lead (introduction) to their writing.


Formative Assessment #4: Putting It All Together:
  • Using a Google Form I will have students write examples of an effective lead, varying transitions, and showing instead of telling.
  • This will enable me to evaluate each individual student and know where he/she is in his/her understanding of the important components of a narrative essay.
  • I will use the results of this formative assessment to group students and provide instruction as needed.


Summative Assessment:


After their Passion Papers are in final draft form with all revisions and editing done, the students will turn them into a word cloud and then into a paper blog (see example below) and then they will become the first blog post of the school year for each student using either Blogger or Kidblogs.

4 comments:

  1. This is a brilliant post! I agree. Since math is a very abstract subject, one of the best ways to get students to understand it is to connect it to something that they understand in real life. I also think that getting them to blog is a brilliant idea. That way, they affirm what they know by having them write them down. It helps sharpen the mind.

    Sarah Haskins

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Sarah for the encouraging comment!

      Delete
  2. We Hold our Tutors to a Higher Standard, and Pay our Tutors More Fairly, than nearly any other Tutoring Company.Thus, we have Better (and more Experienced) Tutors.We accept only the top tutor applicants, and will never compromise our selectivity in order to artificially inflate our ranks. In addition, every member of the Team is required to have recently scored in the 95th percentile or above on any standardized test that he/she teaches.Math Tutor Austin, Math Tutor Atlanta, Math Tutor Houston, Math Tutor Seattle.
    Math Tutor Las Vegas | Tutor for kids Las Vegas | Math Tutor Charlotte | Math Tutor Phoenix | Math Tutor Hawaii | Math Tutor Los Angeles | Math Tutor Boston | Math Tutor New York | Math Tutor Denver | Math Tutor Chicago | Math Tutor | Science Tutor Las Vegas |

    ReplyDelete
  3. Instructing provocativeness to everybody is imperatively paramount in the event that we crave a decent life for all. Imagination is ordinarily seen as an inherited demeanor. Help for Assignment Numerous instructors and folks are not persuaded that inattentiveness could be taught. They let me know that children either have it or they don't. I oppose this idea. I see inventiveness in all children with solid brains.

    ReplyDelete