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    August 2010
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Summer School

Session 1 of Summer School, DONE.   I have taught summer school for the last few summers at Cicero-North Syracuse High School.  They host summer school for their own students as well as Solvay (my home district), Westhill, Marcellus, and Baldwinsville.  This year, I am teaching summer school at Fayetteville-Manlius High School.  FM hosts summer school for their own students, Onondaga Central, and Jamesville-Dewitt.  Maybe Lafayette too, but I can’t remember!

First of all, I am LOVING it in FM.  Smoothest opening for summer school EVER.  Also, I like coming in and not having the kids have any preconceived notions about who I am, nor do I have any preconceived notions about who they are.  It’s refreshing.  Also, it gives me a chance to redefine myself. Pedagogically, I am trying out a lot of the things that I have stolen from all of my blog idols over the past 6-12 months.

So far, I have implemented Standards Based Grading from  Think Thank Thunk.  I have used Sam Shah’s Binder Check. I have used numerous activities from Kate Nowak, Dan Meyer, Dan Greene, and many, many others. I feel I am finally getting to teach how I want to teach, not how I am forced to teach by a curriculum that is overstuffed into a 180 day school year.  I am getting to try things out…to be a little adventurous.  This is why I get excited for summer school.  Mnay teachers need the summers to refresh and re-energize, and although I can definitely understand that, I use it to try out new ideas that I am either do not feel that I have time for or I am too scared to try out during the year.  For the most part, it has been rewarding!

First of all, SBG…love it, love it, LOVE IT!  I used an adapted version of this (very similar to Kate Nowak’s) during this past school year in my Fundamentals of Algebra course.  I really enjoyed using it during the year, but the results at the end of the year were no different from the results from previous years.  Yea, Yea…I know I can’t teach the same things the same ways and expect drastically different results, but it was nice to hope!  This summer, however, SBG has definitely helped. 

It has helped me identify where the students are lacking.  By looking over quiz results by individual content, I can easily see what I need to go back and reteach. Contrarily, I can also go back and take a look at what my kids rocked on as well!

Secondly, an unexpected result (at least to me!!) was that students are able to communicate mathematically what they do not understand.  Rather than coming to me saying, “I don’t understand ANYTHING!!”, I have had students come to me and say that they, “Don’t understand how to find the GCF of a polynomial.”  In my opinion, speaking mathematics leads to do doing mathematics.

I am actually looking forward to summer school to see how the rest of the summer unfolds!


One Response

  1. Awesome. I’m glad to see that the results of the SBG test are reproducible! Keep writing about your experiences with SBG!

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