Approaching the end of the first unit, there is still lots of craziness in this class.
I am still feeling run off my feet during the class itself (but WOW does it ever make the time fly!!), still chasing students to get work handed in, still catching students on the occasional online game (but really, it's quite rare), and still trying to convince them that they don't have to wait for me if they don't understand something... with all sorts of resources at their disposal, and a growing number of experts in the class as we move through the material, they really can master these tasks themselves.
The trick is trying to convince them of this before their frustration turns into random conversations about the weekend and, well, anything other than math.
But we are starting to see small successes. Over the past few days, I've heard students say:
"I didn't get time to review this in class, but I'll take a look at the videos tonight at home." (yay!)
"I'm going to work at the back of the class where it's quiet so I can get caught up." (hoorah!)
"I worked ahead last night - can I get exit slips 2, 3, and 4?" (awesome!)
(During a mini-lecture:) "Is it true that you change the sign on the x-coordinate? I read that while I was waiting for the lesson." (you read ahead?? fantastic!!)
I see students teaching other students how to get Google Docs started. I see students working together in Geometer's Sketchpad to figure out how to limit the domain of their functions. I see students light up when they believe an exit slip - on material that was self-taught - is completely wrong when instead it is perfect.
We're still far from the ideal classes they always show in those PD videos, but we're getting there.
Here's our progress chart (which the students LOVE, by the way... they refer to it constantly during class), two school days after the last time I posted it, as we approach the test on Friday (marked in yellow). How will my students do on the unit test? How well have they really been learning the material? How confident will they feel, having learned the material on their own terms? I have to admit I'm nervous to find out...