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Sunday, June 5, 2016

30 Demo Lessons in 30 Days: Week 4... wrapping it all up!

Last week was my last major week of demo lessons in TK-2 grade classrooms in my district. And Friday I had the opportunity to share some of my learning with primary teachers in another district as part of a CUE Rockstar Black Label event. It was a whirlwind kind of week!

Day 1:

Kindergarteners & Explain Everything
For the first time this year, I had a chance to try out an Explain Everything lesson with a Kindergarten class. We had quite a bit of fun! As in similar lessons, students were prompted to show a number in as many different ways as they could-- each method on its own slide-- in an effort to model both a tech tool and the use of open-ended and low floor/high ceiling math tasks. Several students got pretty creative-- creating pictures out of their number models and using the ever fun light saber to demonstrate their thinking. Both teacher and students enjoyed the task thoroughly!

3-Act Math in Grade 1
This was one of the most nerve-wracking lessons I taught all month! While reading The Classroom Chef (by John Stevens and Matt Vaudrey) I was introduced to Graham Fletchy's 3-Act Lessons for the elementary math classroom. Already familiar with Dan Meyer's 3-Act lesson model, I hadn't seen Fletchy's elementary versions until reading the account of teacher, Jamie Duncan, using one of his lessons in her 1st grade classroom.

I immediately decided that I needed to try one of these inquiry-based math lessons in one of our 1st Cookie Monster task that Duncan had used with her students, choosing, however, to make my own version of the video intro, utilizing a Cookie Monster stuffed animal and some Stop Motion technology.
grade classes. Luckily, I already had two 1-hour blocks scheduled in a 1st grade room this week--serendipity! I decided to use the same

I was a little nervous going in, since I'd never taught a 3-Act before AND I was incorporating new tech along with a new way of doing math, but I have to say the lesson went pretty well overall. I've never seen 1st graders so engaged in math! The room was noisy and exciting and the majority of students were more than enthusiastic to help me solve the mystery of the missing cookies. Students used critical thinking skills to analyze the problem and determine next steps, used a variety of problem solving strategies instilled in them by their teacher to solve for a missing addend, and practiced writing and talking about math. And although there is certainly room for improvement the next time I deliver this lesson, I was thoroughly thrilled at the way this first attempt turned out.

Stop Motion & iMovie in 4th grade
I continued my support in 4th grade during this week by dropping in to work with students while they completed their Stop Motion videos. I also did a mini-lesson on how to drop a Stop Motion video into iMovie for further editing. The students were super creative, and had a blast... and I did, too!

Day 2:

A break from teaching kids to teach parents about supporting math at home over the summer
Early this year, the middle school math TOSA and I hosted several CCSS Math trainings for parents in our district. One site asked me to do monthly follow ups that turned into a cross between math classes and strategies for supporting students at home. During our final session of the year, we talked about ways to continue math growth over the summer using resources like Khan Academy,, and

3-Act Math, day 2
Looking back, I shouldn't have extended this lesson out over two class periods. It went too long. Part of it was trying to introduce students to both a new type of lesson and a tech tool at the same time. The other part was me not being confident in the lesson and how to wrap it up. In reflecting with the classroom teacher, there was more good than bad in this lesson. Students were able to demonstrate how many skills they really had, they were engaged, they were excited about a math task and solving a problem. In the end, we both noticed they had trouble with explaining their thinking and I realized that I needed to provide more support there... sentence stems for speaking, maybe a math frame and vocabulary supports... and the classroom teacher's suggestion of posting the images of the full cookie box and empty box on a poster for students to better access is definitely one that I'll use next time.

The teacher also suggested doing the inquiry lesson day 1 and teaching the tech tool on day 2 the next time that I'm trying to test two new things at once-- loved that idea and will stick with it!

Seesaw in Kindergarten
I jumped straight into a no tech classroom next to demo Seesaw and some of its features for demonstration of knowledge, creating opportunities for an authentic audience, and creating a portfolio of student work. Best part of this lesson-- when a Kindergartener with almost no English recorded himself speaking in English and the other students in the class running over to congratulate him-- "Axel, look, I can hear you!" Heart melted!

Day 3: 

Googly math in 2nd grade
This lesson was especially fun for me-- I'd been dying to do some more Google work in math. I asked the site tech coach to join us since we had a very small window of time in which to work. We helped the students log into their Chromebooks, then get logged in to a demo Google Classroom where they found two math assignments built in Google Drawings. The first task I built was an open-ended shapes sort-- students had to decide how to sort a set of shapes into a Venn Diagram. The second task was based on a Eureka Math lesson in which students use 2-dimensional shapes to compose other shapes. I put the shapes into the document and students had to drag and rotate shapes in order to compose new shapes that meet the characteristics noted. Students had a good time with the task and did really well with their first digital math task. I was fairly happy with the task as well and with just a few adjustments, I'll be ready to share out to our teachers!

Day 4:

Scratch Jr. in Kindergarten
This has, by far, been one of my favorite apps to play with this year! I did another Scratch Jr. demo in Kindergarten, asking students to create shapes stories. They picked up on the app quickly, and the teacher loved seeing what tech integration for creation looks like in Kindergarten. Having just finished her Leading Edge Certification, this teacher was feeling inspired, but still unsure what a 21st century Kindergarten task might look like. Now, she had a better idea and was excited to use Scratch Jr. again in the near future.

Googly math in 1st grade
Another Google task-- yes! First, I helped the students log in to their Chromebooks (over the course of this journey, I was surprised at how many teachers didn't realize that students could log in and save their accounts on their Chromebooks... so many were having students go in as guests and having students log in to Google through the web browser). Both teacher
and students were thrilled to discover that there was an easier way!

Then, I had students use a shortened URL code to open a force copy of a Shapes Book that I created in Google Slides, resizing the slides to look more like a book and using tasks from our Eureka Math 1st grade curriculum to have students practice their geometry skills. I wouldn't change anything about this lesson-- the students, having only basic tech skills, were able to manage the technical part just fine (and help each other) and everyone had a great time doing math in a different way.

My future goal-- to try a collaborative slides task again sooner than later! It may not have gone well week 2 in the other 1st grade class, but I know it's possible and I'm ready to try again after several successful independent Googly Math tasks this week!

Day 5: 

CUE Rockstar Black Label event 
(using what I learned in TK-2 to teach teachers!)
Friday was like my culminating task after 4 weeks of learning. I had the pleasure of taking part in a #CUERockstar Black Label event at Castro Valley Union School District. My session-- The Tech Integration Station (tech integration in TK-3 math classrooms). Participating in CUE Rockstar events, whether as faculty or attendee, is always life changing. No matter the level of participation, I always learn so much-- from faculty, from other attendees, from admin, from students, from myself. I love the culture of learning from each other (rather than the typical conference culture of learning from the sage on the stage)!

In my session, I shared some of my favorite apps, favorite learning resources, and favorite TK-3 experiences. We explored resources including Which One Doesn't Belong and 3-Act Math tasks, and we played with apps like Seesaw and Scratch, brainstorming ways in which these tools could change the way we teach math in our primary classrooms. The feedback was definitely positive and teachers said they were excited to see ways in which they could integrate more technology, inquiry and creativity into their classrooms.

And an extra perk-- I had a chance to learn more about Snapchat and how to integrate it into my role as a TOSA from the amazing Bill Selak!

Although there are some changes that I want to make to my TK-3 tech session (I'd like to include formative assessment tools in the next presentation like this, and more guided practice...), I'd say that overall, based on feedback, teachers left my session feeling more inspired to try some new things and use more technology with their elementary students. Success!

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