Now that the project is coming to a close I feel that it is necessary to summarize the experiences and highs and lows of the project. When I first started this project I had been trying to land air reverse for the past few years and this has been something that I have wanted to do since I first started surfing. The first week of the project the waves were too small to surf a shortboard, so I got some practice on a longboard. I didn’t get any opportunities to try the trick. The second week offered more swell and size to surf my shortboard and try this trick. I had some really close attempts but was struggling to ride out after I landed the trick. Unfortunately I ended up cutting up my feet pretty bad on my last wave of the session and had to stay out of the water for a while to let those cuts heal up. Week 3 had some waves but I was out of the water for a few days, so I missed the best part of the swell but got some waves later in the week. I got some of the best waves week three but the wind was blowing in the wrong direction to help me land this trick. The fourth week offered some quality waves and decent wind conditions to give me more opportunities to try this trick. I was landing hard on my left ankle (which is my injured one) and was starting to get a little worried that I might re-injure it. The final week of the project I landed really bad on my left ankle and actually re-injured it. I will be out of the water for a few weeks now and probably have to do some physical therapy to help strengthen it up so I can prevent re-injuring it. Unfortunately I didn’t reach my success criteria for this project, but I have learned a whole bunch along the way that has helped me get closer to landing it than ever before.
I used Diigo to collect my research for the inquiry questions, also I answered individual questions each week while I was working on the project.
The Diigo Link can be found here
20% project Inquiry Questions:
Quote: “Play provides the opportunity to leap, experiment, fail, and continue to play with different outcomes - in other words to riddle one’s way through a mystery.” pp. 98
Question: I’m teaching logarithms right now and am having trouble coming up with ideas on how to have students play and explore logarithms. The idea of a logarithm came about as being the inverse of an exponential function but how could I have students create that ideas themselves?
Connection: I play all the time when I am creating code or making things for my car. I love the idea of creating something unique and very personal. I also love the process of making, figuring out how to make it and create it, what did I do wrong and what did i do right. My last project was to design and then build a surfboard rack for my bicycle. I first started with some research (mostly through youtube, my favorite learning resource) and got some ideas that might work. I then went to home depot and bought a bunch of pvc pipe and some clamps to hold the pvc to the bicycle. The end product was awesome! I could ride my bike down to the beach with my surfboard, but the rack only lasted for two week. I was riding down to swamis and wasn’t paying attention and I accidentally ran into a street light and broke the rack. I plan on making it again and even better!
Epiphany: I need to fuel my students natural curiosities and let them play with the ideas that are presented in my class.
Quote: “these three practices could frame a progression of learning that is endemic to digital networks” pp. 100
Question: Seeing these three progressions, I was wondering where am I at on the scale when it comes to incorporating technology into my classroom and developing my personal learning network? I love the idea of mastery learning and assessment, but how can I convince other teachers (coworkers) that this system has value?
Connection: Its funny that the badges in our technology class are the same as the three levels of progression of learning that is suggested in the book. I was curious what level I would consider myself in some of the digital communities that I follow and participate in. Right now I’m obsessed with lifehacker and following their posts and their blog that they run. However I rarely contribute to the discussions that they have on their website. I mostly just take the information that they post to their blog. I would consider myself as just hanging out with that community. In most communities I think I fall in the haning out level, and I would like to keep advancing in my progression of the three levels of learning, especially in communities that I enjoy.
Quote: “while players defeat bosses, kill monsters, coordinate raids, find new armor and read blogs, wikis, and forums, learning happens, too.”
Question: So this quote talks about learning happening while players are playing games and advancing in the game, my question is what kind of learning is happening?
Connection: I have played world of warcraft (demo) and understand the idea of the game and the challenges that players face to advance in the game. I could see how the interactions in the game and also finding information to help players progress is beneficial to a child’s development, but my little brother spends way too much time playing this game and not working on more important things like homework and spending time outdoors. I can tell that this game has taken a toll on his social skills because he sometimes doesn’t know how to react appropriately when put in awkward situations.
Epiphany: The quote suggests learning happening, that learning can be how to find information to help you advance in the game (PLN) and interact in an online situations and planning events (raids).
Using the strategies described I was able to keep my students on task and more focused on the learning at hand. The students understood what they needed to be doing during the group work and were more productive during that time. By setting clear expectations, having better time management strategies, and being more assertive, I have been able to keep my students on task more during the class period. I still have not hit the 95% marker but there has been significant improvement from my students (especially the ones that have been struggling in my class). There are still things that distract my students and get them off task, but I'm doing a better job of keeping them on task. I'm going to keep working on strategies to help keep my students on task and work with my cooperating teacher to come up with ideas to help my students stay on task.
I have noticed that my students are off task when they are confused about what it is that they need to be doing or learning. This confusion usually causes the students to get off task and distract others around them. I want to work on keeping my students informed and making my expectations of them very clear. I wanted to do a few thing that would help clarify my expectations to my students. I decided to begin to write the learning goals of that day on the board for all of the students to see, that way they would know what it is that I expect them to learn that day.
Sharing the learning goals everyday didn't really have an impact on most students. When I would begin to talk about the learning goals for that day most of the students would lose interest while I talked about them. I was really hoping that most of the students would take an interest in what it was that they were learning that day and want to know whether they met the goals or not. There however was a few students, and one student in palatial that has been struggling in my class, that really benefit by having me go over what it is that they are going to learn that day and what I'm expecting from them. The student who has been struggling has started to ask more questions about the material. I was explaining that our goals for the day were to multiply rational expressions and simplify them, later that day he asked me about simplifying rational expressions and how far he needed to go to be able to multiply them. I was really happy that he knew that he needed to simplify and was curious how to simplify the rational expressions after multiplying them. I had the opportunity to explain that he could also simplify before multiplying them to make it easier to multiply. This understanding of what needed to be learned today helped him know when he needed help and I was able to help him. For that reason I'm going to keep spending a minute in class going over the learning goals.
Another thing that I have been trying in my class has been when I go over instructions I stand in one spot in the class, so students know that I am explaining what it is that they are doing. Also I have tried to be more loud and clear when I go over the instructions for the activities. I was watching a video that I recorded for the TPA and was going over some of my weaknesses and I found out that when I go over instructions I speed up and talk a little quieter. Being aware of that I have told myself to slow down and really speak clearly, that way I do not need to repeat myself multiple times for students to understand what it is that I'm expecting them to do.
The positioning in the class when I explain instructions has helped because when I go to the instructions spot and stand there quietly, students quiet down and pay attention to what I have to say. It has made behavior management easier and the lessons move a little quicker into the group work or activities that I have planned. Also explaining the instructions loud and clear takes a little longer the first time but I have found that I don't have to repeat myself multiple times. Mission success, I really like using these strategies and there has been less confusion about what students should be doing. The students are on task more and working toward the goals that I'm setting.
For my professional development I wanted to work on managing time in my classroom to help keep my students focused and on task. I talked with my master teacher and also did some research online to find some resources to help my manage time in my classroom. The first thing that I tried was to use a timer app on my smartphone.
In my class I have found that I sometimes remain passive while students start to get off task, I want to change that. I am trying to be more assertive within my classroom and help refocus students when they start to drift off.
I needed a way to approach the group of students and interject in their conversation. I wanted a way to get them re-engaged in the material that we were learning. I looked online for some ideas and I actually came across some really good information.
Quote: “In a collective, people belong in order to learn.” pp. 52
Question: I have started to create a learning community, how can I shift the mindset to make a collective within my classroom?
Connection: Our google communities that we have created are a good example of what a collective should look like. I have been sharing ideas with my other math teacher friends, and also asking them for advice on how to help my students understand things that I am teaching in my class. I have been using pinterest too. I love the way that pinterest uses pictures and links to archive material. I have been a part of the pinterest community to learn new ways to present material and get new ideas on activities for my students to learn the material. These communities help me learn and have me take an active role in helping eachother learn and grow in this profession.
Epiphany: Not everyone needs to contribute knowledge to this group, those who are taking knowledge can contribute by commenting on posts or +1 the post!
Quote: “give an individual the chance to interact with and become part of a collective that both shapes and is shaped by his or her thoughts.” pp. 64
Question: How can I improve the community of my blog? What sort of communities / collectives are my students involved in? Can I create a collective/community between my students to get them to collaborate and interact to help each other learn.
Connection: My personal blog is starting to create a little community where they comment and encourage my progress. I keep chatting with other students in the program who haven’t commented on the blog but like all of the pictures and videos that I have been posting. They have been keeping up with my progress and will talk with me about it. I really didn’t intend for this to happen but I really like talking with my friends about it. They will ask me questions about how close I got, and a lot of questions about how my ankle is doing after my injury, then I get to ask them about their projects and how their progress is going. I am especially interested in Jen Duvall’s 20% project. I love mendallas and wanted her to do one on my surfboard. I haven’t been doing too good of a job to reply to posts on my 20% blog. I need to keep on top of commenting and responding to comments that are posted to my blog to keep that discussion fueled and also to keep people interested in my persuit. I want to keep this collective going.
Epiphany: People who are following my blog are not only following my progress toward landing an air reverse but also learning with me too. They get access to all of the information that I am finding and also suggest new ideas and discuss with each other.
Quote: “the component of knowing that is assumed, unsaid, and understood as a product of experience and interactions” pp. 74
Question: The book suggests that students learn best when pursuing passions within a bounded environment. How can I create a bounded environment that promotes students to pursue their passions and meet the standards that as a teacher I am required to teach?
Connection: Inquiry based learning is something new to me and also something that I have not experienced personally in high school. When I was in high school it was drill and kill. I wish that some of my teachers offered me the opportunity to pursue my passions, especially in the classes that I got to take. I loved art and building things. My school didn’t offer any art classes beside drawing and painting, but I was interested in graphic design, screen printing, and street art.
Now thinking about my own classroom, how can I allow students to pursue passions in mathematics? My first methods teacher really pushed inquiry, and having students develop their own ideas and conjectures about the topics in my class. The questions that he would ask would have an easy way to approach the problem, then the question would have the students think deeper and try to reason through their ideas mathematically. I tried some of this with my students, but the questions I asked needed a easier way for students to develop ideas on the content and pursue those ideas. This could be a good way to develop my students passion in my subject.
Epiphany: I need to motivate my students to want to explore topics that we are covering in my class and let them be curious.