### Middle School Robotics – Episode 9 & 10

In these past two episodes, I improvise build a robot for the first time, most students start finishing up their cargo rescue mission project, students start exploring what they want to do for their final projects (they can do anything) and we also fly a drone for the first time.  Enjoy :) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g3GwdvacAuc Music by Beck https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4Ngp1O8OLUc Music by Arp

### Week 31 – Testing & Field Trips

STANDARDIZED TESTING Last week we had standardized testing on Mon-Wed for middle schoolers.  Testing is a lot different in private schools being that we don't receive government funds and therefore are not required to take state tests.  Our school still has decided to take the IOWA (not named after the state) test as a way of helping us as educators see if there's any disconcerting trends (such as a large portion of the 7th graders doing poorly on math estimation or something) as well as a measure to show 'the outside world' that there indeed is learning going on here.…

### Middle School Robotics Episode 8: Rovers Inspired By ‘The Martian’

This is episode 8 of a short series entitled 'Middle School Robotics.' This week, students create robots that will go on a rescue mission for some cargo (mildly inspired by The Martian). Also, I share some good news for the robotics class!! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8ErF489RfhQ My guest blog post: 5 Innovative Ways To Create Positive Classroom Culture Most of my project resources were taken from HERE Here is the rubric for the newest project that we talk about: Filmed at The Khabele School in Austin, TX: Music by Podington Bear

### Week 18 – Fractions, Why Are You So Difficult!?

It's the end of the first week back.  I got my new group of Robotics students, we began with some divisibility and exponents in 6th Grade Math, and we're exploring multiplying rational numbers in Pre-Algebra. Robotics Robotics is just a semester course so I have a new group this semester.  Last semester was nine 7th-8th grade boys.  This semester is eleven 6th grade boys, a 7th grade girl, and and a 7th grade boy.  Really different dynamic, but almost all of them I've had in math class before.  The semester feels like it's running a bit on autopilot since not…

### Challenges Of An Inquiry-Based Math Classroom- PART 1

I'm about to finish my 4th year of teaching.  This was my first year as a middle school math teacher and my first year really trying to create an inquiry-based math classroom.  It's hard. What is an inquiry based math classroom? I generally see it as getting students curious about mathematics and driven to understand and explore and willing to fail. How do you generate curiosity and inquiry about mathematics? I did several things this year.  At the root of a lot of it, I made space for discussion and dialogue in small and large groups.  When presented with most problems in class,…

### Using Evernote To Help Students Study For Final Exams

To help my students review for their final exam, I gave them a copy of the mid-term that covered our first semester's concepts, as well as a review packet for concepts we discussed 2nd semester. Originally I was going to have the answer key in class available to any students who wanted to check their work.  The packets weren't for a grade, just a resource for them.  A couple students suggested I put the answer key online, which is something I've done in the past. I pulled up Evernote and I'd used the document camera before, but I'd usually have…

### “The Best Discussion I’ve Ever Had”

I just got out of my 6th grade Math Skills class. We finished up the Proportions project (something akin to THIS) and spent half the class getting their final papers printed and putting the project papers up in the hall. I thought it would be hard to really have an engaging lesson afterwards as they were a bit hyped up but we refocused and got started on our lesson on converting percents. Being that it was our first lesson on percents, I had a few opening questions just to get their minds geared into thinking about what percents actually were:…

### 5 Ways To See If Your Students Are Learning

I recently wrote a reflection on a prompt given by our middle school director on how I know students are learning.  He's followed up and given us a couple articles to read.  I reflected on what I felt I was already doing, what I've done before but stopped, and what I should start doing. The first article was an excerpt from Checking For Understanding by Fisher & Frey.  The second article was the New York Times article Why Flunking Exams Is Actually A Good Thing by Benedict Carey. This entry is on the first article. Checking For Understanding by Fisher…