Entry 10 – Puppy Bots & Student Led Conferences

Entry 10 – Puppy Bots & Student Led Conferences

It was a fairly short week in terms of actual class time.  First part of the week was spend finishing up our project in robotics and winding down in our integer unit in Pre-Algebra.  There were no classes on Thursday or Friday due to student-led conferences.


I wrote in-depth last year how we structure our student-led conferences.  Check it out HERE.  We didn’t do much different this year except provide teacher comments.  In the past, teachers would write comments for students at the end of the semester and the comments would be put on report cards.  This time, we wrote them before conferences and students included them as part of their conference.  Way better use of the comments as it takes a lot of time to write one for every students and now there’s action that can be taken as a result of those comments since we still have the rest of the semester.  I really enjoyed the conferences this year, especially with my 8th graders as I have had almost all of them in advisory since their first semester of 6th grade.


We finished up our current project in robotics.  A couple of students probably could’ve used a bit more time but I actually got positive feedback from them saying the time constraint made them focus a bit more.  One student got a bit ambitious and wasn’t able to finish in time, but did attend office hours to try and get it done.  I’ll assess more on the process, creativity, effort, and work done during the last couple weeks than just the final result.  I made a vlog of it.  Check it out 🙂  Here’s the rubric for the project.


I am getting ready to prepare my next unit for Pre-Algebra and I had a few notes written in my Evernote notes for that unit, but I also went back to last year’s entry on this unit and totally forgot about some of the stuff that went really well and stuff that went really terribly.  I’m really glad to have this running record of reflection and I’m finding more and more value in it as time goes on and as the amount of reflected content grows.

The unit is on working with rational numbers.  Students know (hopefully) how to work with positive rational numbers (fractions/decimals), they just finished learning how to work with whole integers (positive and negative), and now we’ll combine them.  I’m wondering if I want to use calculators for this unit.  For fraction problems, if I ask them to keep their answer in fraction form, they’ll have to come to grips with understanding fractions, even if they have a calculator.  I’ve never used a calculator on this unit.  Perhaps I’ll make it more problem-solving and include the calculators; assess if they know what to do, not their ability to do multiplication / long division.  Hm, I’ll ponder on it some more.


That’s all for this short week 🙂

By Thom H Gibson

I help middle school STEM teachers create meaningful & memorable experiences for their students. Teacher, podcaster, YouTuber. Two-time teacher of the year

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