July 5, 2011

What follows is our day's Agenda with inserted notes.

1. Introductions (around the circle)
  • Share a success story. What was a really awesome lesson that you taught, how did you develop it, what made it so incredible, and how did you know it was a success?
We all shared great lessons we've taught and seem to have a great deal of resources within the group. Mary taught a discovery lesson with geometer's sketchpad in which students discovered and explained how it is that the quadrilateral formed by connecting the midpoints of any quadrilateral is a parallelogram. Bill had success with his class when he observed every student taking charge of their own learning and being fully engaged in group tasks. Tom taught two exciting lessons to 8th graders in which students engaged in good mathematical debates. One came about after the prompt, "Is .9999... a number?" and another came after investigating magic doubling pots. Bushra used leaping frogs to motivate her middle school students to set up and solve linear equations. Brynja was curious about connections between complex numbers and fractals so she lead her class to investigate the Mandelbrot set by taking its definition and decoding it. Vicki's great lesson led her calculus student come up with methods for finding the derivative of the logistic equation. Betul shared a lesson in which she used geometric connections (rotations, translations) to help her students make sense of the unit circle. Jocelyn's students had success using functions to make predictions in their analysis of data collected from a toboggan race in Massachusetts. Pedro taught a lesson in which students constructed models of cubes with different side lengths and then identified patterns in side lengths, areas, and volumes. Karen's students used twizzlers to make sense of the triangle inequality, and they ate their manipulatives too. Dave has had lots of success teaching using his whiteboards and providing students ample feedback on their work, but an engaging lesson for students allowed them to compare exponential and linear growth through a simulation of two hands-on models of virus spread.
  • Conduct a preliminary topic brainstorm for our research lesson. What courses do we each teach? Create a list of mathematical topics we find difficult to teach. What do students struggle with? Why? What do students fail to understand?

See attached figure:

[How do I attach a figure?]

  • Brief discussion of what to expect at our meetings, how we’ll make decisions, and how we’ll track our progress.
Decisions will be made through consensus through an informal check of head-nods. We will pass of meeting leadership from day to day so we all have a chance to create our agenda and lead the meeting. We will track our progress by keeping detailed notes on this wiki.

i. Overview of lesson study. (Handout: checklist from the book).
ii. Approximate timeline.
iii. Winter Sports School collaboration.
Tom will represent us and act as the chief communicator between the school and our group.
iv. Examine last year’s wiki. (http://lessonstudy2010.wikispaces.com)
v. Who will teach our lesson? (random draw)
vi. Choose a representative for the Thursday breakfasts with Carol.

2. Reflection on our teaching styles (Henri Picciotto)
  • Individually, we each fill in the Art of Teaching sheet for scoring/thinking about our own teaching style. (Handout: Art of Teaching)
  • Raise questions about the categories and share our responses. Teaching is so complex there are arguments to be made for many approaches. What is it we are working on to improve our teaching?
  • Discussion. Extract common themes and goals for our collective teaching improvement. What teaching goals do we have through this lesson study? Also consider… Blackboard use. (Handout article.)

One possible research question for our group emerged from today's meeting, and this question has two parts:
A. What kinds of tasks will be worthwhile for groups of students to work on productively? and
B. How can we ensure individual accountability and productive cooperation when groups are working?